Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer release date September 24 1986 studio Dark Sky director John McNaughton writer John McNaughton starring Mary Demas, Michael Rooker rating R tagline Yeah, I killed my Mama... Official Score: Average User Rating: ADD A USER REVIEW 28 comments Posted By Savinis_bitch on May 21, 2008 @ 3:49 pm Log in to Reply ★★★★★ This is on my list of favorites. I thought this film was brilliant and portrayed a serial killer very well. (not that i have experience) I had mixed feelings towards the killer, I didn’t know whether to feel sorry for him or hate him. And I knew the young girls infatuation with him wouldn’t last. The acting was excellent and the directing was visually compelling. I felt uneasy all through this movie, because as a women watching it I felt intimidated by both male characters. And Otis was a scumbag, Henry takes him under his wing and shows him the ways of killing. It soon spirals out of control. I still wonder why Henry stood up for his sister when he degrades women violently himself. I know it’s not just women but the scenes with them are more powerful. I wonder how long it’ll take for them to remake it?…AND I HOPE IT’S NOT NICHOLAS CAGE AS HENRY! Posted By abe_the_cop on July 15, 2008 @ 2:09 pm Log in to Reply ★★★★★ This is a great film and not for people seeking instant gratification/mass consumption(you know who you are). This movie is “based” on Henry Lee Lucas and his relationship with his roommate/friend Otis and Otis’ sister. This film humanizes the killer and takes and allows you to get to know him as a person and not just for his crimes. The film takes the evil out at certain points and allows you to watch Henry dance with Otis’ sister and have a normal time interacting with his friends. Which is all the more unnerving when you do see him kill because in the film he’s a likable character. you see someone you almost feel sorry for turn into a monster and are uncomfortable with his actions. This is the best “based on a serial killer” movie I’ve ever seen and I’m almost glad it’s not widely obsessed over like the more fictionalized movies. Posted By tom-holiday on December 10, 2008 @ 6:37 pm Log in to Reply ★★★★★ This movie is disturbing right into the very end. I never saw that ending coming. Posted By midnightambulance on January 19, 2009 @ 4:28 am Log in to Reply ★★★★☆ Nihilistic and depressing, and all the better for it! Surprisingly good acting. One of the few movies to really leave me feeling drained and bummed out (in a good way, lol). Quality, disturbing film… Posted By Chadinator92 on June 15, 2009 @ 1:57 pm Log in to Reply ★★★★★ This was such a great movie! If I get the chance I’d love to watch it again sometime. I just loved too many scenes from Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. It in my mind deserves a perfect 10! I just had nothing bad to say about this film. Posted By wslyhnry on June 19, 2009 @ 7:17 pm Log in to Reply ★★★☆☆ decent enough i thought the ending was very fitting for the film. I just love that it shows that even serial killers can be gentlemen also. Posted By AvoidTheCheese on June 24, 2009 @ 5:37 pm Log in to Reply ★★★★★ no pussy shit here. Henry is past all the bull and the norm. that home invasion scene is… and Henry is so.. that girl is so..(slutty) and otis is just.. words can’t explain so just watch it it’s a terrifying serial killer tale. Posted By travisbickle on June 28, 2009 @ 1:28 am Log in to Reply ★★★★★ One of those movies that’s so realistic that you almost forget you’re watching a movie. Everything from the way the film was shot,(not flashy, just simple and effective), Rooker’s incredible performance, and again the violence in the film is realistic and not over the top. Great ending too, that last shot really surprised me the first time i saw it. Posted By Mrmcd666 on November 4, 2009 @ 7:52 pm Log in to Reply ★★★★☆ real strange movie. I wasn’t as creeped out or as disturbed as people told me I would after watching it but still a very good movie. Posted By rigor-mortis on December 28, 2009 @ 5:13 pm Log in to Reply ★★★★★ Wonderful movie, especially when you consider it was filmed in less than a month on a shoestring budget. Remarkable, flawless performances by the three main characters. Although the plot is very different from Henry’s real life, this movie offers an effective portrait of the devastating consequences of child abuse. A must-see, profoundly ahead of its time. Posted By traumahound00 on February 9, 2010 @ 6:21 am Log in to Reply ★★★★★ This is a movie that will make you feel like taking a shower once it’s finished. Deeply disturbing, hard to watch at many points, but yet extremely enthralling. Michael Rooker plays one of the screen’s most captivating psycopaths. Lotta balls went into making something this hardcore. Posted By DeathbyIggy on February 19, 2010 @ 6:28 pm Log in to Reply ★★★★★ This movie was sickly awesome! The realism in this film made it feel almost like a documentary or shouls i say Shockumentary. Henry is a totally deranged man. I would describe his demeanor as a wolf in sheeps clothing, well manered until the beast in him comes out. Otis is a total scumbag ex-con who if given the opportunity to plow his own sibling, he got his just deserts. As for Becky, totally insecure,clueless and desperate excuse for a woman.Her fate was decided by her naiveness. What a waste though. Final point to make, if you know someone who’s not only mentally disturbed but brutally killed his mom ( and i don’t care how big of a slut she was), it would be a good idea to 1. Not be roomies with the guy and 2. If you know his main beef is with women, don’t invite your kid sister to move in. Really messed up movie, and considering the budget they had to work with, i say bravo. You have most definately succeeded in turning our stomachs and raising our level of distrust in strangers. A+ Posted By immortaldeath on February 27, 2010 @ 9:01 pm Log in to Reply ★★★★★ Man do i regret passing this one up for so long. I was bored last night and grabbed Henry off the psn and I just purchased it this morning. This movie feels so real and it had me hooked instantly. Michael Rooker was amazing i dont think I have ever seen a psycho path role pulled off so well. This movie is awsome, watch it! Posted By maynardmorrissey on June 19, 2010 @ 8:43 pm Log in to Reply ★★★☆☆ “Henry” is considered as one of the best, most disturbing, most shocking and most realistic horror thrillers of all time – and I totally don’t understand it. Maybe I’m just desensitized from all the horror movies I’ve seen over the years but to me this was in no way impressing or disturbing or shocking or whatever. It really did nothing to me. Michael Rooker delivers a great and haunting performance but the rest of the cast is just lame. The kill/rape scenes are pretty great, the score is interesting, there’s also some cool atmosphere, but unfortunately there are way too many scenes that are just too slow and boring and totally interrupt the flow. The script is also much too predictable. Posted By Captain-Pissgums on September 2, 2010 @ 5:01 am Log in to Reply ★★★★★ Holy shit this is horror movie if there ever was one. One of the first movies to try out the NC-17 rating (remember that one?). I saw “Henry..” when it came out on VHS back in the day, and I will never forget that viewing. I have no desire to watch it again because it is very disturbing. Critics throw out the word “disturbing” way too often to describe movies with sensitive subject matter, but in this case it is warranted. “Henry” is expertly portrayed by Michael Rooker. He should have won an Oscar. Seriously. The film is raw and uncompromising. I remember having a queasy, sick feeling throughout the movie. Posted By zuggernaught on November 8, 2010 @ 12:23 am Log in to Reply ★★★★★ Grim, greasy, unapologetic and realistic. This is a portrait of a serial killer. The funny thing is, I didn’t like this movie when I first saw it. I’ve given it a couple more viewings and I’m glad I did (funny how horror movies sometimes need to be viewed several times to truly appreciate them) Rooker plays a man devoid of, anything really, and he plays it well. This film is as close to TCM as I’ve seen, just in pure primal realism. It’s a movie that doesn’t settle well in your stomach while watching it, and it stays with you for good or bad when the credits run. Posted By murdermakesmecum on December 8, 2010 @ 7:14 pm Log in to Reply ★★★★★ does anybody know who Otis Toole really is? he’s the messed up fucker who decapitated John Walsh’ son back in 1980 or 81 or somethin. the fact that these two sickos can get together and commit all those crimes and not get caught for such a long time is what is really scarey. Michael Rooker plays one of the best bad guys you will ever see in a movie, no fucking joking. the realism, and nihilistic way this movie was made, and for only a few hundred grand is amazing. saw this when i was a kid on HBO and totally shit my pants. will never forget how it made me feel. this is must see shit right here. one of the best! Posted By Da-Storm on December 8, 2010 @ 11:44 pm Log in to Reply ★★★★☆ Classic Posted By LoneWolfx on February 5, 2011 @ 9:11 pm Log in to Reply ★★★★☆ Excellent film. Posted By CapsulesnCoffee on February 22, 2011 @ 2:46 pm Log in to Reply ★★★★★ A chilling, uncompromising film that’s easily one of the best ever made about serial killers. The performances are superb, especially Micheal Rooker giving a Oscar worthy performance has Henry. Contains one of the most powerful ending shots I’ve ever seen. Posted By TheGonzoJoint on May 7, 2011 @ 10:11 pm Log in to Reply ★★★★★ With every great horror film, we ask ourselves: what is fear? Most people nowadays think that scary is a word best used to describe a situation in which a paranormal entity or person jumps out and goes “boo”. That is the case with some horror films, and even some great ones, but few of them get along that easily. Now, I’m all for different kinds of horror. I just don’t like when horror films try to sicken me, and nothing else. It would seem that “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” intends to do just that, but it is not so. This is really just a haunting, but graphic portrayal of a madman/serial killer. Therefore, it’s not for everyone. There are actually a lot of people who hate it; calling it unnecessarily gruesome, pretentious, and needless. I think it’s a goddamn genre masterpiece. The “charm” to this film is the killer. He does not kill because of his past, and he does not kill for anything other than boredom. The story concerns him exercising his craft, as only the best killers can, whilst showing a friend of his the ropes. Henry is the killer’s name, and as the synopsis suggests, his character is based on a real-life serial killer. However, this film doesn’t want to get the facts precisely right, but it rather wants to exaggerate and tell its own story. This gives the film a taut, imaginative quality; and it also makes it one of the most thrilling, disturbing exercises in extreme, artistic filmmaking. It’s about the best damn serial killer-film that you’ll ever see, if you ever do see it. Perhaps this is because few serial killer movies, or horror films in general, have the sort of pacing and raw intensity that this one has. Few dare as this one does. “Henry” is as relentless as its titular killer, and shows no remorse for us movie-goers. If you do not have a strong stomach, then you may not want to watch this film, and if you do, you may not take the same side as I. It’s impossible to say that I “enjoyed” this film, due to its content, but I was interested in watching it; and left even more interested than I had been whilst sitting down to watch it. This film gives brutally honest insight into the mind of a killer, and no film has done such a thing with as much dark beauty and craft as this one. This is not just a well-made horror film; it is a well-made film in general. It’s violent as hell, but it’s worth the ordeal that it puts us through. If you can stomach it, then it has payoff. If you can’t, then the closest thing you’ll get to payoff is an upchucking of your last meal. Michael Rooker, who has now gone on to act in some major Hollywood roles, plays the risky, daring part of the killer. Nobody could do it as brilliantly as he does, and he gives Henry some serious demeanor. Like some of the best horror icons, Henry is frightening, and defines evil. I believe that if it has a reason, then it’s not entirely evil. Henry is evil; he kills for fun, not because he feels horrible about himself. We learn that his character had a rough childhood, and this may have affected his state of mind, but honestly; I don’t think that’s the point. Normally, I would criticize a movie such as this for creating inhuman characters, but in all honesty, who really wants to see a “human” serial killer? Henry lacks the same morality as most human beings do; and he does not show remorse towards his victims. He’s a perverted rapist, murderer, and silent psychopath; the worst kind of each. We don’t love him because we’re not supposed to. I admired how this film was not made to be entertaining, because something so brutal should not be so. Hollywood filmmakers often forget this, and that’s how those silly “Saw” and “Hostel” films came to be; because as Americans, we like violence. “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” did not influence that generation of violent horror cinema, and it did not contribute to it either. This film wanted to be fearless, and therefore it was. There’s never going to be another horror film quite like it, and if you enjoy surviving through such a rewardingly bumpy ride as this, then it’s worth seeing on its own right. However, I have somewhat warned you that you may think this film is sick and needlessly sadistic. I warned you, you didn’t listen, and frankly, it’s your fault. You may say it’s revolting, but I find it anything but sickening. I find it disturbing and eerie; unique and intelligent. It’s daring, and never exploitative enough. “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” is realistic. And it is not pornography. Posted By crystallakekiller13 on August 2, 2011 @ 3:53 am Log in to Reply ★★★★★ FAN-FUCKIN-TASTIC! Posted By patricktullius on November 12, 2011 @ 6:04 am Log in to Reply ★★★★★ Saw this on Netflix and thought I’d finally give it a chance! Loved this movie from beginning to end, I really got into it and loved the grit of it. Seriously f’d up! Posted By -Leatherface- on February 1, 2012 @ 11:52 am Log in to Reply ☆☆☆☆☆ really liked this flick Posted By The-Devils-Reject on February 1, 2012 @ 3:19 pm Log in to Reply ★★★★★ it you have only seen this on netflix, go buy the uncut dvd, about 11 mins are cut out of it on netflicks, and ofcourse they are the violent, disturbing parts Posted By Marty McFly on June 28, 2012 @ 11:15 pm Log in to Reply ★☆☆☆☆ I don’t understand how this has a perfect score. It’s nothing special. Posted By horrorking95 on January 19, 2013 @ 10:50 am Log in to Reply ★★★★☆ Now Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (I’ll call it Henry for short) isn’t as crazily disturbing as I imagined. The way people were going on about it I was wondering whether or not to give it a chance! But after all the critical acclaim this film was getting I had to seek it out. That’s not to say that Henry isn’t disturbing because it is, it really is! It’s style reminded me of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre with a grainy documentary kind of feel to it. It gives gritty realism and makes all the disgraceful images on show look even more depraved than they actually are. Henry is truly a film like no other and it’s amazing that even after 25 years it still has the power to shock. The opening of Henry sets the tone perfectly so if you don’t like the look of it, get out of there! (Or should that be get that disc out of your player?) A series of graphic images of people Henry has murdered with some horrible sound effects over the top of the victims dying, almost giving the bodies a sense of life, just showing the extent to how much empathy Henry has. Which isn’t a lot. Sice this is a sort of case study or biography it’s essential that the main character is interesting and he really is! The chat between Henry and Becky at the start is completely gripping and involving, and I found myself being transfixed throughout the film. The characters of Otis and Becky are also quite interesting with Otis being (in many respects) more psychotic than Henry is. Otis is definitely the fool of the film but that doesn’t make him any less terrifying. Michael Rooker’s performance of Henry is pretty outstanding. He’s completely chilling and gives a haunting portrayal that will certainly leave an imprint on you. I also liked the way the film sort of gave us reason to understand why Henry commits such acts, but never does it condone his behaviour. Henry goes out of its why to de-glamorise violence. It’s certainly not entertaining in the slightest and some scenes leave you spitting in disgust (metaphorically I hope!) The home invasion scene is disturbing on so many levels and is definitely the most shocking scene in the film and one of the most shocking moments I’ve seen on any film. It’s also cleverly done though, making us horror fans question why we watch violence and how it really isn’t as entertaining when done in real life. It’s scenes like this that propels Henry into being one of the best serial killer films of all time. Although the film does feel directionless at times, it does carry a certain unpredictability that gets lost in some films today. It’s a truly engrossing film but one not made for entertainment purposes. It gives a fascinating insight into the day in the life of a serial killer, yet it doesn’t alienate us with psychological explanations, instead his actions are left ambiguous allowing audiences to make there own minds up as to why Henry is so depraved. It’s an extremely brave film and one that you’re sure not forget in a short while. My score of 8 is incredibly solid and almost verging onto a 9. Check it out! Posted By TheBurning on March 30, 2013 @ 3:16 pm Log in to Reply ★★★★☆ A True Classic! Michael Rooker and Tom Towels Delivers.