The performances and the way you shot Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer make it feel so real while watching it. It feels like we found a tape from a real-life killer. When you were making the movie, was that one of your biggest objectives, to make it seem as real as possible?
Directed by Bela Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky
Written by László Krasznahorkai and Bela Tarr
2000, Hungary / Italy / Germany
Genre: Emotional Horror
Bela Tarr is a filmmaker whose work is a highly acquired taste, but as a metaphysical horror story, Werckmeister Harmonies is an utter masterpiece that should appeal to most cinephiles. The film title refers to the 17th-century German organist-composer Andreas Werckmeister, esteemed for his influential structure and harmony of music. Harmonies is strung together like a magnificent symphony working on the viewer’s emotions over long stretches of time even when the viewer is unaware of what’s going on. Attempting to make sense of Tarr’s movies in strict narrative terms is not the best way to go about watching his films; but regardless if you come away understanding Harmonies or not, you won’t soon forget the film. Harmonies is a technical triumph, shot
Stars: Michael Rooker, Tom Towles, Tracy Arnold | Written by John McNaughton, Richard Fire | DIrected by John McNaughton
Yet another film that courted controversy, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer was, at the time of its initial release, held up as an abhorrent movie that did not deserve to be in the homes of the British public. Now some two decades later the film is released on Blu-ray in high definition and uncut, courtesy of StudioCanal UK.
Shot on a ridiculously low budget by director John McNaughton (the rest of whose work sadly never lived up to the promise of this film), the movie is loosely based on the real life crimes of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, and sees Michael Rooker play Henry, a psychologically damaged man who, together with his ex-con acquaintance Otis (Tom Towles), embarks on a killing spree of the most vicious and grisly kind.
Films based on real life crime sprees are often some of the most intense an unsettling pieces of cinema, particularly with their ability to depict just how senseless and erratic such criminals actually are. John McNaughton’s infamous low budget chiller Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, which makes its way on to Blu-ray and DVD this week, is certainly one such film. Follow the jump for our review…
Loosely based on the real life crimes of American serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, John McNaughton’s haunting docudrama sees Michael Rooker take on the role of Henry, a demented man who arrives in Chicago to move in with an ex-con acquaintance, Otis (Tom Towles). Otis’ kid sister Becky comes to live with her older brother after a falling out back home, deciding to head out to the big city to find a new life. We follow
Damn. Every now and then you get a little reminder of just how good movies can be. I mean really good. Not ‘fun’ or ‘enjoyable’. I’m talking damn good. Lately we’ve been settling for fun little flicks, movies that are worth your time and you can recommend to friends are all around us, but every so often, you come across one that reminds you just how powerful cinema is. Yes, I dug Human Centipede and Serbian Film. I thought they were both shocking in their own way, but neither can hold a stinky in poor taste candle to Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer when it comes to pure disturbing and unsettling heebie fucking jeebies.
Henry is Not a thrill ride. Henry is Not a movie you laugh at when it’s done like a roller coaster. There is no group hug
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
There are definite echoes of “Psycho” in the film’s unforgettable opening sequence, where the camera focuses on Henry’s recent victims with a quiet horror that evokes memories of Marion Crane’s
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