Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Henry: Portrait of a serial killer" movie #4

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is a 1986 film (released in 1990) directed by John McNaughton about the random crime spree of a serial killer who seemingly operates with impunity. It stars Michael Rooker as the nomadic killer Henry, Tom Towles as Otis, a prison buddy with whom Henry is living, and Tracy Arnold as Becky, Otis’ sister. The character of Henry is loosely based on real life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas.
We start the movie out seeing a murdered woman laying in a field staring off into oblivion, soon after we meet Henry and we watch as he goes about his morning routine with added shots of more murdered victims.. a couple in a liqueur store, a naked woman in a river.  We never hear or see the story behind their murders and can only assume that is was dear old Henry that did it.  Soon we meet Becky, a woman waiting at an airport for Otis (her brother and Henry's roommate).  We hear a little about her back story, a nasty divorce, a child left behind with her mother and she is here to make money to get her own place and bring her daughter into town.
We progress into the movie, watch as another murder is done by Henry and our main characters are introduced.  Otis mentions to Becky that he had met Henry while they were in prison together, he has been there for chilling his mother. He makes her promise not to mention it to him and what does she do?? Later that night as the two of them play cards she asks.  It was a rather hard scene to deal with, them talking about their disturbed childhood.  I for one would not be telling a complete stranger about that sort of thing but they seemed to form a bizarre sort of bond over it.
As Henry and Becky bond over their childhood, Otis and Henry form a completely different bond.  We see earlier that Otis is selling drugs and seems to be a bit on the twisted side himself with a sexual advance on a young teenager.  In a uncomfortable moment between him and Becky he tries to kiss her but Henry puts a complete stop to it.  Henry lets Otis see his darker side, the murderous side.  He takes Otis beneath his wing and shows him the beauty of murder... They even video tape one awful segment to enjoy again at home.
This is a movie where plenty of things are suggested but never shown, you feel dirty just by watching it.  It's a disturbing peek into the mind of a murderer and someone who could be so naive not to notice.  All in all this is a amazingly creepy and somewhat hard to handle story, I would give it 3 out of 5 skulls.

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