IMDb > Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
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Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) More at IMDbPro »

Videos (see all 2)
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer -- 2-Disc Special Edition
"One of the 20 scariest movies of all-time!" - Entertainment Weekly
Michael Rooker is unforgettable as Henry, a soft-spoken loner with a cool exterior masking an inner rage that boils at blast furnace intensity.
When fellow ex-con Otis invites Henry to move into his Chicago apartment, he becomes a willing participant in Henry's senseless, random killing sprees. Meanwhile, Otis' unsuspecting sister, Becky (Tracy Arnold) is smitten with Henry, whose broken childhood mirrors her own.
Masterfully directed by John McNaughton, HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER is a chilling character study of a mass murderer that continues to shock and disturb twenty years after its debut.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer -- Based on the true life serial killer, Henry Lee Lucas.


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Up 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Richard Fire (written by) &
John McNaughton (written by)
View company contact information for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 September 1990 (USA) See more »
The shocking true story of Henry Lee Lucas. See more »
Based on the true life serial killer, Henry Lee Lucas. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
10 wins & 7 nominations See more »
(245 articles)
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User Reviews:
If only more people had the guts to make films like this.... See more (202 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Mary Demas ... Dead Woman / Dead Prostitute / Hooker #1

Michael Rooker ... Henry
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 ... Becky

Tom Towles ... Otis
David Katz ... Henry's Boss
John Scafidi ... Kid with Football #1
Benjamin Passman ... Kid with Football #2 (as Benjamen Passman)
Flo Spink ... Woman in Cadillac

Kurt Naebig ... High School Jock
Kristin Finger ... Hooker #2
Lily Monkus ... Woman in Beauty Shop
Ray Atherton ... Fence
Eric Young ... Parole Officer
Rick Paul ... Shooting Victim

Peter Van Wagner ... Bum #1
Tom McKearn ... Bum #2
Frank Coronado ... Bum #3 (as Frank Coranado)

Lisa Temple ... Murdered Family - Wife
Brian Graham ... Murdered Family - Husband
Sean Ores ... Murdered Family - Son
Pamela Fox ... Hair Stylist
Waleed B. Ali ... Store Clerk
Donna Dunlap ... Dog Walker
Augie the Dog ... Delores

Directed by
John McNaughton 
Writing credits
Richard Fire (written by) &
John McNaughton (written by)

Produced by
Malik B. Ali .... executive producer
Waleed B. Ali .... executive producer
Lisa Dedmond .... producer
Steven A. Jones .... producer
John McNaughton .... producer
Original Music by
Ken Hale 
Steven A. Jones 
Robert McNaughton 
Cinematography by
Charlie Lieberman (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Elena Maganini 
Casting by
Jeffery Lyle Segal 
Art Direction by
Rick Paul 
Costume Design by
Patricia Hart 
Makeup Department
Michael J. Alonzi .... makeup effects crew
Chuck Gatz .... hair stylist
Herb Nordheimer .... makeup effects crew
Bernd Rantscheff .... makeup artist (as Berndt Rantscheff)
Jeffery Lyle Segal .... special makeup effects artist
Scott Whitehead .... makeup effects crew
Production Management
Lisa Dedmond .... production manager
Steven A. Jones .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Andrew Bradburn .... second assistant director
Paul Chen .... first assistant director
Art Department
Frank Coronado .... storyboard artist
Rick Paul .... property master
Rick Paul .... set dresser
Sound Department
Cory Coken .... sound editor
Ric Coken .... post-production sound mixer (as Rick Coken)
Dan Haberkorn .... sound effects
Elena Maganini .... post-production sound editor
Jim Moore .... rerecording assistant
Louie Quiroz .... assistant post-production sound mixer
Steve Wilburn .... sound re-recording assistant
Thomas T. Yore .... sound recordist
Special Effects by
Lee Ditkowski .... technical effects
Paul M. Lane .... stunts
David Woolley .... fight coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Dave Buckley .... grip
Brian Graham .... grip
Dave Mahlman .... assistant camera
Paul Petraitis .... still photographer
Bernd Rantscheff .... still photographer (as Berndt Rantscheff)
Bradley Sellers .... assistant camera (as Brad Sellars)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Patricia Hart .... wardrobe
Music Department
Steven A. Jones .... musical director
Other crew
Richard Fire .... acting coach
Melanie Hecht .... script supervisor
Steven A. Jones .... title designer
David Le Boy .... title designer (as David LeBoy)
Bradley Magon .... production assistant
Kevin Dougherty .... special thanks
Greg Doyle .... special thanks
Tommy Dubois .... special thanks
Mic Fabus .... special thanks
Neil Flynn .... special thanks (as Neal Flynn)
Judith Gold .... acknowledgment: Chuck Gatz courtesy of
Steven Hager .... special thanks
Larry Hart .... special thanks
Bob Jorgenson .... special thanks
Jeanette Jorgenson .... special thanks
C.J. Kavooras .... special thanks
Alex Kerr .... special thanks
Charles Michaels .... special thanks
Becky Passman .... special thanks
Elizabeth Passman .... special thanks
Paul Petraitis .... special thanks
Wendy Sander .... special thanks
Mike Sandlass .... special thanks
Laura Storto .... special thanks
Barb Sun .... special thanks
Greg Sun .... special thanks
Pat Thompson .... special thanks
Cath Whitney .... special thanks
James Young .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
83 min | Australia:77 min | Norway:78 min | Sweden:78 min | Italy:75 min (edited for TV)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:18 | Australia:R (uncut) (2005) | Canada:18+ (Quebec) | Finland:K-18 (uncut) (DVD rating) (2001) | Finland:K-16 (cut) (1998) | Finland:K-18 (cut) (1997) | Finland:(Banned) (1992) | Finland:K-18 (cut) (1992) | France:-16 (with warning) | Iceland:16 (original rating) | Iceland:(Banned) (video rating) | Ireland:18 | Italy:VM18 (1992) | Netherlands:16 | New Zealand:R18 (cut) | New Zealand:(Banned) (uncut) | Norway:18 | Portugal:M/18 | South Korea:18 | Sweden:15 | Sweden:18 (original DVD rating) | UK:18 | USA:Unrated | USA:X (original rating) (rating surrendered) | West Germany:18
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Michael Rooker said he was working as a janitor when he auditioned for the part of Henry and went to the audition in his janitor uniform. He got the part, and continued to wear his uniform throughout the film shoot. He only had one jacket, though, so he took it off before he "killed" anyone so he wouldn't get blood on it.See more »
Revealing mistakes: Some obvious matte lines are seen in the film from time to time.See more »
Becky:Did you really kill your mama?
Henry:I guess I did.
Becky:How'd it happen?
Henry:I stabbed her.
Becky:Otis said you hit her with a baseball bat.
Henry:Otis said that?
Henry:Well, he's mistaken.
Becky:Well don't tell him I told you. He made me promise.
See more »
Movie Connections:
JukinSee more »


Is Otis homosexual?
Did Henry really kill his mother?
How much sex, violence and profanity are in this movie?
See more »
118 out of 139 people found the following review useful.
If only more people had the guts to make films like this...., 8 October 2003
Author: james_oblivion from Nowhere Interesting

I really wish that there were more movies like "Henry" out there. Most people still don't realize just HOW controversial this film was when it was made. The MPAA wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. McNaughton fought for 4 years to get an R rating, but no dice. And since he didn't want the X, and there was no NC-17 rating at the time, it was finally released, with no rating, in 1990. And why? I've seen films with MORE violence in them...Romero's "Day of the Dead" leaps to mind. But it's not the violence in this film that makes it so disturbing. It's the way the material is handled. And this is what the film's detractors obviously can't appreciate.

"Henry" doesn't bother with any type of neither glorifies nor denounces Henry's actions. It simply observes. It places those actions before us and says "there it deal with sort it out." People who don't like this film often say that there's "no character discernible plot line...etc., etc." Those people should stop throwing around film school terms. This is one movie that doesn't present events in a "movie reality" shows us things as they are in the real world. Character development means showing you enough of the characters in 90-120 minutes to make you feel as if you've known them forever. How often do you spend 90 minutes with a real person and know that much about them...or feel that you can seriously identify with them? It's just a conceit of film-making. Same with plot lines. Does life have a plot line? Not at all. Life is an endless succession of things happening. Some seem important and/or entertaining...some don't. "Henry," in its attempt to realistically portray the life of a serial killer, does not need a plot fact, it benefits from having only a very loose plot line. Much like a homicidal version of "The Catcher in the Rye," this film seems much like a lot of things that happened, as opposed to a carefully constructed fictitious story...which make it seems all the more real...and all the more disturbing.

"Henry" is disturbing on many levels. Firstly, it feels very real. Too real, perhaps. Nothing is slicked up...nothing seems counterfeit or contrived. The entire thing is so utterly plausible that it chills you to the bone. Secondly, the complete lack of police involvement is equally disturbing. The only time you see a police car in this film, it's driving past in the background as Henry is cruising the streets. It drives past...and that's it. And Henry isn't scared...nor is he even aware, apparently. He has nothing to hide. He knows the police won't connect his crimes to one another...and they certainly won't connect them to him. So what has he to fear?

And finally, the setting of Chicago makes the film more disturbing for me, as I'm somewhat familiar with that city and can spot some locales in the film that I recognize. In fact, a friend of mine who lives in Chicago told me that the first time he watched "Henry," he and a friend rented it and sat down in his friend's apartment to watch it. It was about halfway through that they realized that the apartment they were sitting in was the same one used as Henry's apartment in the film. All I can say is...I'd never use that bath tub again.

All in all, I truly wish that more directors had the guts to make films like "Henry." Honestly, I can't think of one film that's comparable. There simply aren't any films out there that are anything like this. This is truly one of the most disturbing films I've ever seen. After seeing "Happiness," I guess that "Henry" probably got knocked down to Number Two on that list. But "Second Most Disturbing Film Of All-Time" is still a damn fine achievement, in my opinion.

If you want to see an accurate and appallingly realistic portrayal of what the life of a serial killer must be like, definitely give "Henry" a viewing. Make up your own mind from there.

Oh, and a final reviewer stated concretely that his biggest problem with the film was that "serial killers work alone." This is, of course, not always the case. The real life counterparts to Henry and Otis (Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole) DID kill together, as did Bianchi and Buono, the infamous Hillside Stranglers. Those are not the only such instances...but they're certainly the best-known. Therefore, the overly broad generalization that serial killers "work alone" is no real attack on the realism of this film.

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Otis abhorred me more than Henry did! looker7
Is this movie actually SCARY? szegarra92
I wonder if John Walsh ever saw this... kmay144
This movie reminds me of (SPOILERISH) polinomi0
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