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Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer [Blu-ray]

Michael Rooker , John McNaughton    Unrated   Blu-ray
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brutally Candid Horror.. July 10 2004
Body after body is depicted together with murdering agonizing screams as a background sound. This is the beginning of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, which instills a nightmarish vision of the mind of a serial killer. The film is loosely based on Henry Lee Lucas who was emotionally, physically, and sexually abused as child by his mother while living with his handicapped father who had lost his legs in an train accident. Henry had been forced to wear dresses and watch his mother having sex with strangers, which has created internal enraged emotions toward women. In addition, Henry shows an emotional numbness whenever he has killed someone as if he had just finished the last of his coffee.
The story takes place in the Chicago area where Henry lives with Otis and Becky. Otis spent time in jail with Henry where the two became friends. His sister Becky has recently escaped an abusive relationship while Henry goes about trying to find odd jobs and killing women in random ways as it will not leave a trail back to him. However, when living in close quarters with others it is does not take long before Otis finds out about Henry's secret, but instead of going to the police they partner up. Henry teaches him the secret of killing for pleasure and together they begin to find ways of sharing these grotesque moments with each other.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer has some interesting cinematic moments where a camera is use for the main point-of-view, which later is transferred into the living room. This brings a morbidly surreal experience to the audience as the fetish of the disturbed characters is brought to the eyes of the audience in a revolting manner. Yet, it is a subtle transition, which most people have experienced through their own home video moments.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mean as a junkyard dog June 16 2004
The reputation of John McNaughton's "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" is enormous in the realm of independent cinema. Made on a budget of over one hundred thousand dollars back in the 1980s, the movie went on to polarize viewers and critics alike. Some praised McNaughton's unflinching vision, his nihilistic portrayal of two lower class killers with nothing to live for and nothing to lose. The other camp rejected the film outright, deriding it as the worst sort of exploitative trash cinema. I tend to favor the former opinion; I think McNaughton's film is a brilliant look at a microscopic segment of society we all know exists even if it is rarely discussed. Besides, bashing the film as exploitative beggars the question of who it is exploiting. Serial killers? Guys like Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Henry Lee Lucas (the killer McNaughton loosely based the film on) could stand to have a bit more mud slung on their already malevolent reputations. I cannot find one scene in the movie that idolizes what these two guys do in their spare time. And, unlike slasher films and sundry other horror films, "Henry" demonstrates that violent acts have serious consequences.
"Henry" takes place in the dirty, gray streets and alleyways of Chicago. Henry (Michael Rooker) and his prison pal Otis (Tom Towles) spend their days working low paying jobs, drinking beer, and watching television. Otis toils at a gas station in between trips to his parole officer. Henry works as an insect exterminator (!). Things start looking up when Becky (Tracy Arnold), Otis's sister, moves in with the pair to escape the doldrums of small town life. Although she has some problems back home with a troublesome boyfriend, Becky takes a shine to Henry almost immediately.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Now THIS is a truly scary horror flick July 5 2004
After watching the entire run of 'Nightmare on Elm Street' and a few of the 'Friday the 13th' flicks, I found myself rather unimpressed by the whole slasher-horror deal. I was given a couple starts here 'n' there, and was occasionally grodied-out by a few of the more gratuitous scenes of gore, but overall I didn't find any of the flicks particularly scary or disturbing. Thanks to these movies I was about to give up on the horror scene, seein' as how I wasn't actually scared, shocked, or all that disturbed by what I had witnessed. That's when 'Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer' came to the rescue. Now, THIS film really is quite disturbing, and is very scary at times. It's most likely due to the fact that it's loosely based on the exploits of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, and was set in the real world where there aren't any Christmas-sweatered burn victims killing you in your dreams, nor a seven-foot-tall hockey-masked machete-wielder aimin' to hack you to bits. The whole this-could-actually-be-happening-right-now-somewhere angle helped fill me with a good sense of dread, and gave me more of a scare than any ghost-&-goblin fare could ever hope to.
I couldn't believe the pleasure the titular character and his buddy, a near-'tard of a killer-in-training, took in the murder of a motorist and an abusive fence (stolen goods dealer). Then there's the home invasion that they video taped for posterity, which I understand caused some viewers to walk outta the theater at a few of the film festivals this played in. The eye-stabbing scene was pretty hard to witness, even though it was a rather brief cut, and it was apparent that the head that received the eyeball-stab was a dummy head made up to sorta look like the character who suffers the injury.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great character study psychological horror drama.
Michael Rooker is simply terrific as "Henry". A man, who seems so ordinary in the outside but in the outside, he is a dangerous serial murderer, who kills mostly woman. Read more
Published 23 months ago by L.C.L Movie Reviews.
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow
Being intrigued by the serial killer genre I have seen this movie thrown around numerous times by Amazon. I decided to rent it and I was blown away. Read more
Published on June 16 2004 by Jake Taylor
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in some ways, lousy in others
"Henry..." is not the most disturbing horror movie ever made, nor is it the best. But it WILL creep you out, and there are plenty of interesting things about it. Read more
Published on June 7 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmm...
Well, a certain "viewer" from Seattle seems to think this is a message board, and has decided to single me out for his flaming. Okay...fine. Read more
Published on March 29 2004 by James O'Blivion
3.0 out of 5 stars Most disturbing film ever made?.........yeah right
I dont mean to be hatin on this movie but this IS THE MOVIE
Published on March 19 2004 by Robert evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than "Silence of the Lambs" or "Natural Born Killers"
Yes...this is another movie review by PR...but please don't delete and move on until you've read this. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2004 by PR GUY
2.0 out of 5 stars Gorey, But No Plot or Character Development
If you're easily scared or grossed out by gorey images, this is an ok movie to watch; however, there isn't much else to see other than that! Read more
Published on Dec 29 2003 by Pre-Paid Premium Shipping
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Serial Killer Film
This movie is one of the greatest and goriest horror films i've ever seen,however for the person looking for a biography on Henry
Lee Lucas they will be dissapointed,but if... Read more
Published on Dec 23 2003 by Joshua Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars warm fuzzy feelings
quite possibly the most unsettling film i have ever seen. i first saw it when it first came out on video. Read more
Published on Dec 4 2003 by Timothy Mckee
1.0 out of 5 stars I'm surprised at how many people like this movie.
What a waste of my $1.99! I went to blockbuster to rent this flick, hoping that it would fill my horror expectations. Read more
Published on Dec 2 2003 by Desi Alvarez
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