Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Year: 1986
Production Co: Malljack Productions
Director: Jonathan McNaughton
Producer: Jonathan McNaughton
Writer: Jonathan McNaughton
Cast: Michael Rooker
An ugly, nihilistic film with little merit to recommend it other than an artistic point of view. I know that makes me sound like a wowser, but what entertainment value is there other than this being based on a true story?

Micheal Rooker is Henry, a redneck who lives with his redneck friend Otis. The movie opens as Otis' sister Becky comes to live with them after escaping an abusive relationship with her ex.

She immediately shines to Henry, who seems just a little more cultured and gentlemanly than Otis, and Otis will indeed prove himself to be a monster of the worst order in time, but Henry has a secret that we're privy to thanks to the opening credits, where the camera pans slowly across the mutilated bodies of victims Henry's butchered while echoes of the victim's screams and struggles sound in the background.

Henry is a career serial killer, always using a different weapon and m.o. and often moving around to keep the police off his trail. When Henry recruits Otis into a killing he finds a shocked but willing accomplice, and the scene that undoubtedly got the film both banned and delayed for so long is when the pair break into a house to terrorise and kill the family within, all on camera while egging each other on.

While cinematically adept and well performed - especially during the all-to-real home invasion scene, it's an ugly movie that you'll get nothing out of watching apart from feeling like you need a shower.

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