IMDb > Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

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.

Overview

User Rating:
7.1/10   21,705 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
No change in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Richard Fire (written by) &
John McNaughton (written by)
Contact:
View company contact information for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 September 1990 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The shocking true story of Henry Lee Lucas. See more »
Plot:
Based on the true life serial killer, Henry Lee Lucas. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
10 wins & 7 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(241 articles)
Bluray Review: Backcountry & The Harvest
 (From Icons of Fright. 3 September 2015, 2:51 AM, PDT)

Contest: Win The Harvest on Blu-ray
 (From DailyDead. 1 September 2015, 3:01 PM, PDT)

Blu-ray Clips & Trailers from Army Of Frankensteins, Backcountry and The Harvest
 (From DailyDead. 27 August 2015, 2:50 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
one of the scariest movies ever made, period. See more (200 total) »

Cast

  (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
 
Stunts
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
 
Thanks
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:
Runtime:
83 min | Australia:77 min | Norway:78 min | Sweden:78 min | Italy:75 min (edited for TV)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
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?

Trivia:
After the initial edit of the film was complete (running 147 minutes), director John McNaughton had to present it to executive producers Waleed B. Ali and Malik B. Ali. McNaughton couldn't bring them the original negatives, so he used a VHS video camera to shoot the edit as it ran on the screen on the 16mm flatbed which was used to edit the movie. According to McNaughton, when they saw this flickering, black and white two and a half hour movie with barely audible sound, the Ali brothers were far from impressed.See more »
Goofs:
Crew or equipment visible: 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:
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?
Becky:Yeah.
Henry:Well, he's mistaken.
Becky:Well don't tell him I told you. He made me promise.
[pause]
[...]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
My MistakeSee more »

FAQ

What's the purpose of the unusual sound effects used several times throughout the film?
Is this film available on Blu-ray?
What special features are on the DVD?
See more »
100 out of 126 people found the following review useful.
one of the scariest movies ever made, period., 3 August 1999
Author: Rusty-61 from United States

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.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (200 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
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) polyrng
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Freeway Sin City The Devil's Rejects Torso Man Bites Dog
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Crime section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.