Henry Portrait of Killer
Director: John McNaughton Run Time: 83 min. Format: 35mm Rating: R Release Year: 1986
Starring: Michael Rooker, Tom Towles, Tracy Arnold
Childhood abuse, lack of emotions or remorse, prolific murders: this is the anatomy of a serial killer explored in this provocative film loosely based on Henry Lee Lucas.
Henry is a nomadic serial killer recently released from jail after murdering his mother who takes up with fellow inmate Otis and his sister Becky in Chicago. His new mission is teaching Otis how to be a successful killer while being emotionally unresponsive to Becky’s growing attraction. Clearly childhood traumas are at play as Henry and Otis take people’s lives, including an entire family. The inclusion of the two videotaping their actions compounds cultural issues of violence, fame, and entertainment. John McNaughton’s bare-bones film (made for less than $100,000 and shot entirely on 16mm) is an intimate and terrifying look into the face of a serial killer.