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Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Unrated | | Biography, Crime, Drama | 7 September 1990 (USA)
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Henry, a drifter, commits a series of brutal murders, supposedly operating with impunity.

Director:

John McNaughton
9 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Loosely based on serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, the film follows Henry and his roommate Otis who Henry introduces to murdering randomly selected people. The killing spree depicted in the film starts after Otis' sister Becky comes to stay with them. The people they kill are strangers and in one particularly gruesome attack, kill all three members of a family during a home invasion. Henry lacks compassion in everything he does and isn't the kind to leave behind witnesses - of any kind. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

before "The Silence of the Lambs" comes the most highly acclaimed and controversial film of the year." See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 September 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Henry, retrato de un asesino See more »

Filming Locations:

Northbrook, Illinois, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$111,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$609,939
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Maljack Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited for TV)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. 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

Becky: I love you, Henry.
Henry: I guess I love you too.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special Thanks to: Tony the Cop James Marks Family The Edward Dedmond Family See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1992, the uncut version was originally refused classification (RC) in Australia. To obtain an R rating, approx. 90 seconds of footage had to be edited out. The footage edited out for an R rating was as follows: Approx. 15 seconds of the close up of the dead woman on the toilet including the sounds of the bottle smashing and Henry shouting "Die Bitch Die!". Approx. 25 seconds of the close up of the dead woman on the couch including the sounds of her struggling. Approx. 50 seconds is edited from the home invasion scene consisting of approx. 15 seconds of Otis sitting down with the mother on top of him. Henry telling him to remove the mothers bra and skirt. Approx. 15 seconds of the mother struggling and pleading. Approx. 15 seconds of Otis kissing the dead mother and the sound of Henry killing the father off camera and approx. 5 seconds of Otis sucking the dead mothers breast. In 2005, all previous cuts were waived for the DVD release (rated R18+). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Waiting in the Garden
Written by P. Blast / Robert McNaughton (as R. McNaughton)
Performed by Brisance
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Is this a film to acclaim or condemn?
4 April 1999 | by bwaynefSee all my reviews

In 1960, Michael Powell committed professional suicide by directing and producing "Peeping Tom," a thriller in which a psychopathic murderer photographs his victims at the moment of death. Denounced as sick and without redeeming social value, "Peeping Tom" vanished from theaters, while its director, also denounced as sick, went on to make only two more films in the next eight years. Powell's film has gone on to attract an avid cult following and, if it hasn't done so already, so will "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer."

Loosely based on the real life exploits of Henry Lee Lucas, a leering, low IQ sicko who became a media star after claiming to have murdered several dozen people (some believe Henry was bragging), this film takes a gritty, realistic approach that creates the impression that we are watching real life unfold. Director John McNaughton exploits the discomfort the viewer is inclined to feel by presenting a scene in which Henry and his equally vicious former cellmate, Otis, videotape the rape and murder of one of their victims, then play it back for further amusement. This shocking episode effectively makes the point that those who seek second hand thrills through violent "entertainment" are almost as guilty as the perpetrators of such deeds. By casting anonymous non-stars in the leading roles (not that he had a choice considering the budget and the repellent subject matter), and focusing entirely on the exploits of the killers (there are no scenes of police investigating the crimes or peeks into the lives of the victims), McNaughton has created a brutal, amoral horror film that makes the bloodiest gorefest look benign. Although the real Henry was apprehended, his cinematic counterpart is never even suspected of his crimes, and gets off scot-free.

Is "Henry" a film to acclaim or condemn? It's a difficult question to answer, and I, for one cannot make a decision. It is so expertly made that I think McNaughton deserves a round of applause and maybe an Oscar. But, at the end of the video tape of the film that I watched, there was a commercial hawking "Henry" T-shirts ($14.98) and posters ($7.98). Both were available through "Henry Merchandising," and this attempt to turn this all too real murderer into a cult figure deserving of a fan club is despicable.


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