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Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer [Blu-ray] (1986)

Michael Rooker , John McNaughton  |  Unrated |  Blu-ray
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Rooker
  • Directors: John McNaughton
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Blu-ray, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Dark Sky Films
  • DVD Release Date: September 29, 2009
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,300 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

One of the 20 Scariest Movies of All-Time Entertainment Weekly

He s not Freddy. He s not Jason. He s real.

Based on actual events, this controversial and critically-acclaimed horror classic chronicles a few short weeks in the life serial killer, Henry Lee Lucas.

Michael Rooker gives a bone-chilling performance as Henry, a solitary drifter who leads his dim ex-jail mate Otis (Tim Towles), on a senseless killing spree through the streets of Chicago. Choosing their victims at random, they vary their methods of execution to avoid detection. Meanwhile, Otis unsuspecting sister, Becky (Tracy Arnold), comes to visit and finds herself falling in love with Henry.

Filmmaker John McNaughton directed HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER, a provocative portrayal of a mass murderer that continues to shock and disturb twenty years after its debut.


At the end, Henry is still out there among us. And he's no B-movie monster in a hockey mask. He could be the guy next door. This film gives off a dark chill that follows you all the way home. --Peter Travers, Rolling Stone Magazine

evil unforgettable portrait of the pathology of a man for whom killing is not a crime but simply a way of passing time and relieving boredom. --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

one of the most impressive film debuts of the '80s. --Variety

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the scariest movies ever made June 2, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Probably because I've seen over a thousand horror/fright/suspense/gore movies, I have trouble pinning it down. I can't name the scariest, I can name the top 5. As far as non-supernatural horror goes, this movie and Last House on the Left are the scariest movies I've ever seen.
I saw this at a film festival and the audience was very, very quiet. My friend and I just sat there quietly cowering most of the time. It's just way too realistic. The opening and closing are probably the most frightening, and we don't even see Henry killing anyone, just the bodies of his victims and their terrified screams in the background, echoing. It will give you chills down your spine. The stuff in the movie that scared me wasn't any big "jumps" or gore, just very disturbing, creepy moments (especially if you knew someone who was been the victim of a homicide, as I do). My friend I saw it with worked at the city prosecutors office and heard about plenty of local murder cases and said it rang very, very true to life. One of the most chilling scenes is early on, when Henry goes to a mall and just sits patiently in the parking lot, scanning. The camera looks coldly and calculatedly at different women in the parking lot from Henry's point of view. There are so many shots you almost start to wonder what the point of the scene is until it hits you: they are ALL potential victims, this is how he looks at women. I have always been careful as a woman whenever I am alone but after seeing the film, to this DAY I do not walk to my car alone at the mall without my mace in my hand, and I look all around me and never turn my back on anyone. The movie also does not glamorize the killing or violence against women at all. Also, it's a good primer on home and personal safety.
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30 of 31 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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72 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most disturbing film ever made? July 9, 2002
In the early 1980s, a group of guys wanted to make a new kind of horror film. Due to a very limited budget and time constraints, they knew they couldn't make one involving complex special effects and hideous-looking monsters - gore was not really an option. John McNaughton, first time Director, decided on a film about the everyday life a serial killer, set in modern day America. Much of the shoot would be on location, so no flashy soundstages or huge sets to eat up the budget. They cast an unknown in the lead and kept the cast and crew minimal. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer was born.
The effect of watching this film will flood you with many emotions as you go through it - anger, fear, empathy, sympathy, disgust to name but a few. It's very simple plot - a serial killer moves in with his ex-con cellmate and sister, then goes round killing people, is disturbingly simple. Absolutely everything about this picture works - the shoddy locations, the precision character acting (easily Michael Rooker's best film and his most intense performance) and matter-of-fact manner in which the murders happen, make this one of the most disturbing films ever made.
I think it is a masterpiece and creates feelings in the audience that go well beyond any that the huge Hollywood blockbusters could hope to get near to. It is I would say, the most disturbing film I have ever seen (and I've watched many, many horror films) because it works on an entirely different level - these are people you pass in the street, that live near to you. McNaughton offers no explanation as to why the things we watch on the screen happen, they just do - which ultimately makes this more terrifying.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars VERY low budget, trash film =(
Terrible acting, no plot, stupid dialogue and a trail of bodies. Don't bother wasting you time or money on this piece of tripe.
Published 1 month ago by 1farstar
4.0 out of 5 stars This is mostly satisfying and rather hard towatch at times
This is mostly satisfying and rather hard to watch at times. I would have liked more about why Otis hung out with Henry, why Henry did what he did at the end, and whether he was... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Viva
1.0 out of 5 stars terribly disappointing
it was a terrible movie. It was hailed by critics as a scary superb thriller. It was not any of those descriptions. The acting was terrible. There was a genuine lack of suspense. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Michael E. Curran
5.0 out of 5 stars thanks alot
thanks :) DVD came in great condition and thought I let you know I'm planning on meeting Henry (Micheal Rooker) himself to sign the DVD for me as a collectible at comic con. Read more
Published 4 months ago by A.Brodie
3.0 out of 5 stars scary (spoilers)...
found this film shocking when I first saw it but don't remember the plot, but remember the villains were especially frightening.
Published 4 months ago by Stacy Hackney (formerly customerS)
5.0 out of 5 stars Killer!
Wonderfully dark and delicious. How does a killer do it? Watch and see with your own eyes, if you dare!
Published 7 months ago by Charles Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars Merle In a Really Bad Mood
If there were six stars I would rate it suit stars. I read about this movie years ago, when I was too young to see it on my own and knowing it would not come to my little old... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Lavinia
5.0 out of 5 stars What a dissapointment!! Great flick, bad product.
This "Director's Edition" claims a hefty 120 minute run time. Now, I waited until 2013 to buy, cause it has been out of print for some time. LIES!!! Read more
Published 10 months ago by ACFRESH
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't care for this movie....
I didn't really care for this movie, sort of a documentary type, dark scenes, I don't know, just didn't get into it. Not my cup of tea.
Published 10 months ago by Book Lover
5.0 out of 5 stars chilling movie
Great movie! Michael Rooker does a very chilling job playing Henry Lee Lucas. It is a definite most for movie collectors.
Published 10 months ago by henry h.
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