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Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 19,163 users  
Reviews: 199 user | 119 critic

Based on the true life serial killer, Henry Lee Lucas.

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Title: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Demas ...
Dead Woman / Dead Prostitute / Hooker #1
...
Anne Bartoletti ...
Waitress
Elizabeth Kaden ...
Dead Couple - Wife
Ted Kaden ...
Dead Couple - Husband
Denise Sullivan ...
Floating Woman
Anita Ores ...
Mall Shopper #1
Megan Ores ...
Mall Shopper #2
Cheri Jones ...
Mall Shopper #3
Monica Anne O'Malley ...
Mall Victim
Bruce Quist ...
Husband
Erzsebet Sziky ...
Hitchiker
Tracy Arnold ...
Tom Towles ...
David Katz ...
Henry's Boss
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Storyline

Henry likes to kill people, in different ways each time. Henry shares an apartment with Otis. When Otis' sister comes to stay, we see both sides of Henry; the "guy-next-door" and the serial killer. Low budget movie, with some graphic murder scenes. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The shocking true story of Henry Lee Lucas. See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Henri, portret serijskog ubice  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$111,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$609,939 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited for TV)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actor Michael Rooker remained in character for the duration of the shoot, even off set. He didn't associate or socialize with any of the cast or crew during the month long shoot, and director John McNaughton made sure Rooker was the only person on set to have a private dressing room. According to costume designer Patricia Hart, she and Rooker would travel to the set together each day, and she never knew from one minute to the next if she was talking to Michael or to Henry as sometimes he would speak about his childhood and background not as Michael Rooker but as Henry. Indeed, so in-character did Rooker remain, that during the shoot, his wife discovered she was pregnant, but she waited until filming had stopped before she told him. See more »

Goofs

Just after Becky buys a newspaper and sits down to read, a vehicle goes past and we see a camera on a tripod to the far right of the shot. See more »

Quotes

Store clerk: How about those Bears?
Henry: Fuck the Bears.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the film begins the following can be read: "This film is a fictional dramatization of certain events. 'Henry' is not intended to be an accurate portrayal of a true story. The film is based partly on confessions of a person named Henry, many of which he later recanted. As to Otis and Betty, the film is fictional." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Call of the Dead (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Lavalite Waltz
Written by Dan Haberkorn (as D. Haberkorn)
Performed by Dan Haberkorn
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

one of the scariest movies ever made, period.
3 August 1999 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

With the BWP hype, a lot of talk of going around about "the scariest movie you've ever seen". Probably because I've seen over a thousand horror/fright/suspense/gore movies, I have trouble pinning it down. I can't name the scariest, I can name the top 5. As far as non-supernatural horror goes, this movie and Last House on the Left are the scariest movies I've ever seen.

I saw this at a film festival and the audience was very, very quiet. My friend and I just sat there quietly cowering most of the time. It's just way too realistic. The opening and closing are probably the most frightening, and we don't even see Henry killing anyone, just the bodies of his victims and their terrified screams in the background, echoing. It will give you chills down your spine. The stuff in the movie that scared me wasn't any big "jumps" or gore, just very disturbing, creepy moments (especially if you knew someone who was been the victim of a homicide, as I do). My friend I saw it with worked at the city prosecutors office and heard about plenty of local murder cases and said it rang very, very true to life. One of the most chilling scenes is early on, when Henry goes to a mall and just sits patiently in the parking lot, scanning. The camera looks coldly and calculatedly at different women in the parking lot from Henry's point of view. There are so many shots you almost start to wonder what the point of the scene is until it hits you: they are ALL potential victims, this is how he looks at women. I have always been careful as a woman whenever I am alone but after seeing the film, to this DAY I do not walk to my car alone at the mall without my mace in my hand, and I look all around me and never turn my back on anyone. The movie also does not glamorize the killing or violence against women at all.

Also, it's a good primer on home and personal safety. (a good rule- Do not EVER let a stranger into your house when you are home alone if you were not expecting him. In fact, after I saw this I never open the door when I am home alone and not expecting anyone, period. Think I'm paranoid? Watch this movie and see how safe you feel).

The plot sounds simple but it's not boring. The movie follows the exploits of Henry, a young man who is practically a textbook case of a serial killer (male, white, 30's, drifter, soft-spoken, shy). Conflict comes when his disgusting nasty inbred cousin Otis Toole stays with him, along with his pathetic sister. One night Otis and Henry pick up a couple of prostitutes and are having sex with them in the car. Henry kills both of them sort of offhandedly, with no more emotion than you would swat a fly. Otis starts joining him on his exploits. Henry is more sympathetic than Otis, however, because while Henry does these things because he is sick and doesn't have a choice, Otis seems to get off on them, and also should know better. Things sorta go downhill from there, and the sister complicates things because she is so desperately lonely that Henry starts to look good to her. It culminates in one of the most chilling, downbeat endings of all time.

After I saw this movie at the festival, I was lucky enough to be there when Michael Rooker, who plays the title character, came out and lectured and did Q & A. When I say lucky, I don't mean lucky that I got to meet a celebrity (though that was neat). I mean lucky that I was able to have proof immediately afterwards that this was just a movie. If the movie had ended and I just had to get up and go home, I probably wouldn't have gotten any sleep for about a week. He was very nice and personable, wore glasses and a blazer, not at all like his character. The thing I remember most clearly is someone asked him what kind of movies he liked and he replied, "I don't like horror movies, really, I like musicals". Everyone laughed for about 5 minutes, partially out of relief. BIG relief. See, it's just a movie, there's the actor right there, and ha-ha, he's actually very shy and charming and harmless, isn't that funny?

Even with all of that, I still find this one of the most disturbing, unsettling movies ever made. You haven't seen a really scary movie until you see this movie.


96 of 122 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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