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Movie Debate #39: Henry - Portrait of a Serial Killer

Reed Rothchild

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8 members have voted

  1. 1. See below for explanation of ratings

    • 10/10 - One of your very favorite movies of all time. Top 10.
    • 9/10 - Killer fucking movie. Everyone should watch it.
    • 8/10 - Great movie. Maybe one of the best released that year.
    • 7/10 - Very good movie, but not quite great.
    • 6/10 - Pretty good. You might enjoy the occasional watch, or tune in if you happen to catch it on cable.
    • 5/10 - It's okay, but maybe not something you'll go out of your way to watch.
    • 4/10 - Meh. There's plenty of better alternatives to this.
    • 3/10 - Not very good.
    • 2/10 - Not your cup of tea at all. Some people might like this, but you are not one of them.
    • 1/10 - Horrible in every way.
    • 0/10 - The Citizen Kane of painful experiences. You'd rather shove an icepick in your retinas than watch this.
    • Never seen it, but I'm interested.
    • Never seen it, never will.

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A disturbing portrait based loosely on real life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. Shot with a $hitty 4:3 camera, it only helps make the gritty streets of Chicago feel more grimy and real. Michael Rooker gives a tour de force performance as Henry, the cold and calculating drifter and murderer. He is joined by the drug dealing sex fiend Otis, and Otis’ sister Becky the victim of an abusive father and husband. The three come together at a crossroads and share an apartment, in a twisted slice of life tale.

While shocking, much of the violence happens off screen. We are introduced to Henry thru a series of different murders showing only the grim aftermath and a bit of the audio, much more effective and haunting. When we do get some on screen violence, it is made even more unnerving but the inclusion of a video camera, adding a voyeur element to the awful events which is rewound and rewatched for sick enjoyment.

Henry is a real piece of work. His origin keeps changing; did he kill his mama with a baseball bat, or did he shoot her, or did he stab her? Is this series of events what happen or just a story he tells to get empathy? Or worse, has he killed so much and life is that meaningless to him that he doesn’t even remember himself? This fits in with his MO, which is to always commit murders differently and always be on the move so as not to have an MO.

Henry is the ultimate user, taking from other people and tossing them in garbage when he is done. He takes Otis under his wing, pushing him to murder and worse. More tragic, is Becky who falls for Henry, wanting to see some good in him and escape her past, only to find a moral black hole.

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15 hours ago, Reed Rothchild said:

Take my score with a grain of salt since I saw it over a decade ago.  Enjoyed it, but I never bothered looking into a Blu Ray (I've owned a 1000+ horror titles on BD)

Blu ray looks good.  But like I said, film was shot in 4:3 on $hitty cameras.  This might be one where an old grimey vhs copy might just add to the experience.  It certainly would add to the filming/voyeur scenes.

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