Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

The stats:

Anyone you might recognize?: Michael Rooker (henry) was also in The Bone Collector, The Replacement Killers, Mallrats, and The Dark Half. Tom Towles (otis) was in the 1990 remake of NOTLD, and The Prophecy II, and is in House of 1,000 Corpses.
Deaths shown on screen?: yes
Most interesting use of electronic equiptment: TV to the head

The review:

This is probably the only movie I have ever felt dirty after watching, and I have the feeling that this was exactly what the filmmakers were trying to evoke. It’s a semi-historical telling of the exploits of Henry Lee Lucas and Otis Toole, but if you know the real story you will easily notice several major departures from the truth. That being said, this movie just FEELS real. If it weren’t for the trailers before and the marketing plugs after the movie, it would have seemed to be a documentary. There are a couple of spots where it looses a bit of that feeling, (The previously mentioned TV scene, for instance. Then again, I’ve not seen a real version of that, so maybe I?m wrong here.) but the overall effect is a thousand times more realistic than your average episode of a “reality” tv show.

As for the plot, it follows most of the major events of Lucas and Toole’s time together, although Henry’s back story isn’t exactly correct (but he was an accomplished liar, so why should it be?) and the details of the crimes aren’t exactly accurate either (but Lucas confessed to many more crimes than were ever proven to have occurred). The entire movie follows Henry, Otis and, to a lesser extent, Becky (who in the movie is Otis’s 20-ish sister, but she was actually his 11 year old niece). No effort is made to characterize the victims, no police investigation is ever seen, you simply see what the killers see, lending the movie it’s most effective aspect: a creepy, detached, documentary-esque atmosphere.

As previously mentioned, there are large deviations from the truth in the Lucas/Toole cases, some of the most glaring involve Henry and Otis’s falling out and what comes of that, and Henry’s final disposition. Also, the movie tends to play Henry as a much more intelligent man than he actually was. However, overall this is just a terribly disturbing movie. Go watch it if you have the stomach.

Official Score