Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Lisa Dedmond, Steven A. Jones, John McNaughton, Malik B. Ali (executive), Waleed B.Ali (executive) for Maljack Productions
directed by John McNaughton
starring Michael Rooker, Tom Towles, Tracy Arnold, Mary Demas, Anne Bartoletti, Elizabeth Kaden, Ted Kaden, Denise Sullivan, Anita Ores, Megan Ores, Cheri Jones, Monica Anne O'Malley, Bruce Quist, Erzsebet Sziky, David Katz, John Scafidi, Benjamen Passman, Flo Spink, Kurt Naebig, Kristin Finger, Lily Monkus, Ray Atherton, Eric Young, Rick Paul, Peter Van Wagner, Tom McKearn, Frank Coronado, Lisa Temple, Brian Graham, Sean Ores, Pamela Fox, Waleed B. Ali, Donna Dunlap
written by Richard Fire, John McNaughton, music by Ken Hale, Steven A.Jones, Robert McNaughton, special effects by Lee Ditkowski
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The seedy side of Chicago, the 1980's: Henry (Michael Rooker) likes
killing people, he just does, ever since he has killed his mother, and
most of his murders at least seem to be sexually motivated. Henry lives
together with Otis (Tom Towles), an easy-to-impress redneck Henry has met
in jail, whom Henry eventually lets in on his secret - that he is a serial
killer - and Otis soon becomes Henry's willing accomplice, even though
he's much less contained than the rather stoic Henry.
sister Becky (Tracy Arnold) comes to live with them, as she has just run
away from her abusive husband. It doesn't take long before she falls in
love with Henry, without knowing about his secret obsession of course.
After quite some time of romancing, Becky wants to get intimate with
Henry, which is when he starts to panic slightly, and when Otis catches
them in Henry's room, his sister half naked, Henry grabs the chance to
make an escape and go for some cigarettes. When he returns though, Otis is
in the middle of raping his sister, and the two men get into a fight which
ends in Henry killing Otis in self defense.
Becky wants to call the
cops, but given that Henry has already been in jail for matricide, he
doesn't think that's such a good idea, and they decide to make a getaway
together, to hide out at his sister's. On the way there, they spend a
night in a motel ... and the next day, Henry, now traveling alone, drops a
large bag, large enough to contain a human body, at the side of the road.
Truly powerful serial killer flick as it refuses to take sides and
provide its audience with simple answers - and yet the film, very loosely
based on real life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, is scary and disturbing
as hell. Plus John McNaughton, who had to make this movie - his debut
feature film - on a very low budget, knew how to make the best of the
little he had got without making his film look shabby - and has turned out
the best film of his career probably. In fact the lack of funds makes the
film all the more authentic and realistic - which is not necessarily a
good thing, but in this case it works. Add to this a wonderful central
performance by Mcihael Rooker and able support by both Tom Towles and
Tracy Arnold (who in some scenes seems to be begging to be killed to
everyone who knows about Henry's favourite pastime), and you've got
yourself a near-perfect film.