Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
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News & Interviews for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Critic Reviews for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
In a world in which eight nearly identical Friday the 13th movies offer the adventures of Jason the ax-murderer as entertainment for teen-agers, maybe we do need this sobering alternative.
The film is an honest and disturbing attempt to come to grips with the sort of modern horror that we must -- more urgently every day -- try to understand.
The difference between John McNaughton's incredibly chilling film and the usual serving of screen carnage is the difference between the mind of a murderer and the cynical and manipulative depiction of mindless murder.
Sure, it's compelling; the nature of the material guarantees that. But it doesn't seem to be telling us much more than that the world is a scary place and murder is ugly. We knew those things. This is tabloid chic.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is as fine a film as it is a brutally disturbing one.
Audience Reviews for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Apart from the solid performances, there's little else to praise in this mediocre film that mistakenly believes that resorting to shocking, purposeless violence is enough to draw what it assumes to be the "portrait of a serial killer," instead of developing his motivations.
The invention of the NC-17 rating was a big controversy in the eighties, and this film instigated the debate thanks to its scenes of brutality and murder at the hands of serial killer Henry (Rooker). Released four years after it was made amid controversy, "Henry" remains a pivotal film in horror and changed the filming of psychosis and showed a serial killer in his environment for the very first time. By today's standards this isn't as bad as the torture porn that has recently become a trend, and definitely not as gory as it seemed at the time, but it's still freaky. Henry is still a very sadistic and creepy serial killer, and Rooker gives a performance that still chills to this day. The revelation that he feels bad for his friend's sister (Arnold) and that he can express empathy was also a new concept, since serial killers are often villainized by popular media. Henry is the real father of today's lovable killer, "Dexter", and that show owes much to this early film.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Quotes
|Becky Otis's Sister:||Oh, wh-what was he in for?|
|Otis:||You don't want to know.|
|Becky Otis's Sister:||What did he do-- kill his mama?|
|Becky Otis's Sister:||Come on, what was he in for?|