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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon 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. She pesters her brother for information about the man and is not disturbed in the least when Otis tells her that Henry went to prison for murdering his mother. In fact, she finds this information rather intriguing. Henry comes to like Becky too, so much so that he steps in when Otis treats her in a disturbing manner. The presence of Becky complicates the odd relationship between the two men, a relationship that is soon to take a horrific turn as Otis discovers what Henry does in his spare time.
Henry is a serial killer, a despicable murderer who preys on total strangers. He thinks nothing of following a potential victim home from the mall, or picking up strangers in bars and then dispatching them in grisly ways. Henry likes the feeling he gets from his crimes, and he soon involves Otis in his gruesome activities. Why his friend decides to help is a mystery. Perhaps he feels Becky driving a wedge between him and Henry. Otis exhibits many of the behaviors associated with a follower, and Henry is definitely a take-charge sort of guy, so maybe that is the overriding reason. Whatever the case, Otis soon becomes as enthusiastic about murder as Henry. When Otis complains about being angry one evening, his pal helpfully relieves the tension by tricking a passing car into stopping so the two can shoot the driver. A broken television set provides the impetus for a killing at a fence's office. The absolute worst crime involving these two, however, is something we see on videotape as Henry and Otis relive their thrills. Predictably, Becky soon discovers what her brother and his friend do when they aren't at home. The conclusion to the film is a shocker.
Any way you cut it (no pun intended), "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" is an excruciating experience. The crimes, while not overtly gory, revel in the sheer sadism of the act. If McNaughton was attempting to evoke a sense of outrage on the part of the audience, he succeeded wildly. You cannot even stand to look at these people after awhile, so repulsive are their actions. I found myself praying for a police officer, a security guard, a neighborhood watch guy-anybody in authority to show up and put a stop to these two goons' activities. But as evil in real life often goes unchecked, so do Henry's and Otis's extracurricular activities in Chicago. The film accomplishes what it sets out to do largely because the performances of the two actors playing the principal characters do such a good job. "Henry" was Michael Rooker's first film, and I agree with McNaughton when he says in the interview on the disc that this actor had star written all over him. Rooker plays Henry as a sort of withdrawn, soft-spoken type that probably would appear unthreatening to potential victims. Just as good is Tom Towles as the grubby Otis, who portrays his character as an insufferable extrovert who occasionally sinks into pouty silences. Without these two actors, one wonders whether "Henry" would have become the cult classic it is today.
The DVD version of the film is a good one. A lengthy interview with John McNaughton tells the viewer everything they ever wanted to know about the movie. The director explains the long road to finishing the project, his experiences when it finally opened in a theater, and the lengthy battle with the MPAA over the rating for the movie, a battle which saw the censors pushing for extensive cuts to avoid the dreaded 'X' rating while McNaughton fought to keep his vision intact. Considering some of the extreme films floating around out there today, the concerns of the censors seem rather archaic now. Still, the film has lost little of its power to disturb deeply. Fans of offbeat cinema, if they have not done so already, will wish to pick this one up soon.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2000
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. (a good rule- Do not EVER let a stranger into your house when you are home alone if you were not expecting him. In fact, after I saw this I never open the door when I am home alone and not expecting anyone, period. Think I'm paranoid? Watch this movie and see how safe you feel). The plot sounds simple but it's not boring. The movie follows the exploits of Henry, a young man who is practically a textbook case of a serial killer (male, white, 30's, drifter, soft-spoken, shy). Conflict comes when his disgusting nasty inbred cousin Otis Toole stays with him, along with his pathetic sister. One night Otis and Henry pick up a couple of prostitutes and are having sex with them in the car. Henry kills both of them sort of offhandedly, with no more emotion than you would swat a fly. Otis starts joining him on his exploits. Henry is more sympathetic than Otis, however, because while Henry does these things because he is sick and doesn't have a choice, Otis seems to get off on them, and also should know better. Things sorta go downhill from there, and the sister complicates things because she is so desperately lonely that Henry starts to look good to her. It culminates in one of the most chilling, downbeat endings of all time. I still find this one of the most disturbing, unsettling movies ever made. You haven't seen a really scary movie until you see this movie.
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74 of 83 people found the following review helpful
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. Thus, we are left with an almost flawless character study of a serial killer in his prime, no hope for redemption, Henry kills because he enjoys it, no other reason and we, as the audience are implicated into that, by our fascination with evil deeds and violence (otherwise why in the first place, would you even want to watch a film like this?).
Perhaps the most interesting element of the entire film is right at the beginning before it starts - a warning is displayed, giving the audience a taster of just what they're going to experience. McNaughton has oft claimed that anyone who sits through the whole film needs it, that those who leave early or don't watch it, don't need it. We are left with a film that makes you feel depressed about enjoying onscreen violence, forcing you to question just why you'd want to see people being killed and surely this can only be a good thing?
The DVD is fully uncut and includes insights by McNaughton which are interesting and add to the general feeling of the film - it's certainly worth getting this version if any, but be warned - this is a one-off - no ghosts, ghouls or buckets of gore, nothing so easy I'm afraid.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2002
Most horror films are like roller coaster rides--we get thrills and chills, but we also laugh; we know we're safe. It's only an illusion of fear, not fear itself. John McNaughton's Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is fear itself. We cannot laugh after this movie, cannot recount its most famous scenes with pleasure, because this film stands as one of the bleakest, most relentless depictions of a murderer ever put to celluloid. It's practically a documentary. I rank it with "Psycho" as one of the greatest of all-time horror films.
This film is light years from Hollywood treatments of serial killers. Sure, Se7en was really good, but come ON people, when did you EVER hear of a murderer with such an apocalyptic, clever, and convenient M.O.? Henry, as played by Michael Rooker, is an emotional blank, a human cipher. He's not sympathetic at all--no wisecracks, no catch-phrases, nothing that we can latch on to to understand him.
Therein lies the power of the movie. If Henry revelled in his bloodshed, we could despise him. If he suffered crippling feelings of guilt afterwards, we could pity him. But you can't do either. You just kind of watch him, hoping he won't go too far... that he'll stop soon... that some tough detective would track him down... But none of these things happen.
"It's always the same, and it's always different," Henry tells his friend Otis (Tom Towles), who eventually ventures out with Henry on his killing sprees. Why? Because he's stupid, restless, filled with unfocused loathing. What more of an explanation do you need? "It's either you or them, one way or another." That's all the rationale you'll get for Henry's compulsion, and it's as good an explanation as any.
The plot, such as it is, takes a twist for the worst when Otis' sister Becky (Tracy Arnold) comes to stay with him and Henry in Chicago. Lonely and destitute after the break-up of her marriage, she finds Henry someone she can talk to because he's not "judgmental." Read: he's a blank slate upon whom she can project whatever she wants, and right now she wants someone to understand her. In one subtly chilling scene, she tells Henry how she had been beaten and raped repeatedly by her father as a teen. Henry says to her in his deadend rasp, "Didn't get along with your Daddy, huh?"
Henry's normally placid demeanor dissolves only when he talks about his abusive mother. I like how he misremembers how he murdered her. That strikes me as really true and accurate; serial killers are like THIS. "It ain't what she done," he says, "it's how she done it." We see how brutality breeds brutality, how violence and despair and rage are almost a genetic code. But the director, John McNaughton, isn't making a message movie--you gotta pick up on this stuff yourself. Go watch an Oliver Stone movie if you want socially redeemable violence (which is an oxymoron).
While certain watchdogs of morality in film howl that the realistic depiction of violence in movies ultimately desensitizes the viewer, nothing could be further from the truth in Henry. Can anyone watch the videotape sequence herein, where Henry and Otis slaughter an entirely family and not be left feeling disturbed, violated, empty? The murders are virtually bloodless, and yet it may be the most unsettling screen violence I have ever seen (well, up until I saw Mr. Orange's torture bit in 1992). I wanted it to... go away... But then, real violence makes you feel that way. That's what makes Henry brilliant--no cheap thrills. McNaughton is playing for real. Like many people, I cringe when I see violence in a film, but unlike many, I can't turn away. We need films this raw and immediate and rough to explore such foul things--you can't expect Hollywood to do it.
"But if you strangle one, and stab another, and one you cut up and one you don't, then the police don't know what to," Henry explains. And there's the moral center of this movie. Sorry. This is not about good and evil, because there is no such thing in the serial killer's world. Don't pretend that there is. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is a horror film in which the truly horrified is not the character on the screen, as it too often is, but the audience itself. This is not an enjoyable film, but it is one you must see.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2006
John McNaughton's directorial debut has been hailed as one of the best by any first-time director. I won't be one to disagree with those who agree. McNaughton took $125,000 dollars, an idea of fictionalizing a week in the life of one real-life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, and a dedicated crew of filmmakers to create a raw, unflinching, visceral piece of filmmaking. Originally filmed and finished in 1986, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer languished in ratings limbo as the filmmakers struggled with the MPAA over its X-rating. In fact, it's been reported and written in many publications that it is one of the few films screened by the MPAA where they saw no way an edit here or there can ever lower it to an R-rating. I think its fortunate for film fans and academics everywhere that McNaughton and company decided to release the film in 1990 unrated.

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer was loosely-based on the life of one Henry Lee Lucas. One of the most prolific (though Lucas has since discounted ever killing over 600 people) serial killers in American history. From the beginning, Henry plunges the audience into a world seen through the eyes of a sociopath and as, Ebert once wrote in his own review: "an 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."

The first scene is haunting in its graphic and realistic portrayal of the randomness of a serial killer's passing through the myriad roads and highways that criss-cross the American landscape. It was this stark and realistic portrayal of the aftermath of violence and death that has made some people label McNaughton's directorial debut as a snuff-film masquerading as an arthouse production. It's difficult to disagree with such people since the violence (though it doesn't go as far as most horror films of the era and barely a blip on the MPAA's radar in today's mega-blockbuster-shoot'em-ups) has no look of articiality and not glossed-over with your typical horror/suspense sensibilities. It doesn't have that exploitation look that the horror films of the 70's and early 80's. What it did have was the look and feel of a documentary. The titular character (chillingly portrayed by Michael Rooker) commits his murders as one who sees nothing wrong in what they're doing. To Henry what he does he does to pass the time and to break-up the boredom of his existence. This behavior shows the banality of Henry's view of the world around him. It goes to show that as horrific as Henry must seem to the audience there's a sense of reality in what he does. We read about it on the news, in true-crime documentaries, and in the sensationalist shows dealing with serial and mass murderers.

But Henry is not the only one who wades into the dark underbelly of American life and society. There's Henry's former cellmate, Otis (played with relish by Tom Towles) who at first seems like a buffoon, but later shows his own pathology for senseless killings as Henry finally brings him into his own world. In fact, Otis' reaction to Henry's revelations about what he does in secret looks similar to the reaction of the violence addicted mass audience who revel in the violence in action films and horror retreads. Otis is at first confused and knows that he should be disgusted with the killings he first witness Henry committing, but he later gives in to his own primal impulses. He soon revels in the act of murder and even sees it as his own form of entertainment. It's during the home-invasion and subsequent murders of the home's family captured on videotape by Henry and Otis that this change in Otis hits home.

This is the juncture in the film that posits the damning question the filmmakers want to ask the audience. Do we recoil in horror and disgust at this horrifying, voyeuristic sequence or does the audience continue to watch with the dispassionate eyes of one who has become desensitized to onscreen violence. There's no clear answer to this question and the filmmakers don't condescend to the audience and try to sugar-coat the violence. It is also this sequence where we see the difference between Henry and Otis. Henry almost feels remote and disconnected from the acts he's committing. To him breaking the neck of a teenage boy might be the same as stepping on an ant. But to Otis the killings themselves becomes his addiction and only form of joy. He's willing to go beyond what his mentor has done to sate his appetites. We see Henry's reaction to this change in Otis and realize that as much as the audience want to hate Henry, he is the lesser of two evils. He doesn't take joy from his work and we cling to that barely there shred of decency in the hope that salvation and redemption is at the end of the ride.

To the filmmakers' credit Henry doesn't trivialize the gruesome events from scene one right up to the end credits by tacking on a Hollywoodize happy ending. As the final reel comes to a conclusion and we see Henry and Otis' sister, Becky driving off into the night (a sort of reverse-negative of the typical riding-off into the sunset of Hollywood past), the audience is ready to breath a sigh of relief from the relentless visual and emotional pounding the film has put on the audience. But the rug is pulled out from under the audience's feet. McNaughton and his writers do not believe in the redemption of Henry. In fact, they know that such things are only seen in Hollywood and fairytales. What they give the audience instead is a scene that continue to show that the film is steeped in the real world. People like Henry do not find forgiveness and salvation from their evil deeds. People like Henry continue to ply the roads and highways of America. Their seeming normalcy hiding the calculating, sociopathic murderous instincts just below the surface.

I credit Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer as one of the truest work of American filmmaking. A great character study of a sociopathic individual whose banality can truly be called the face of evil. McNaughton's film is admired and reviled and both sides have credible points in taking their sides. It is a great piece of work that shows that filmmaking can go beyond its basic need to entertain. It is also a brutal piece of film that didn't have to be made the way it was made, but to do it in any other way would've diluted the message and impact of the story. 10/10
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2006
This low budget 80's film has become a classic for the genre and a focus of study for student filmmakers in its use of video to capture a realistic edge for the audience.

John McNaughton co-wrote the script, produced and directed the film, focusing on the protagonist, Henry, a composite of several real-life serial killers.

Henry (Michael Rooker) kills because he feels he has to, enjoying his work to the point where he has thought the process through, never murdering in the same method as the last killing. As he explains to Otis, (Tom Towles) the police are trained to find a modus operandi; therefore you never kill the same kind of person nor murder them in the same way. There is randomness in this madness, and one must continue moving on, never killing in the same place, thus confusing the authorities.

Not surprisingly, there is really no plot to this film, as its subject is random murder. Henry shares an apartment with Otis, an ex con on parole working in a gas station and supplementing his income selling drugs. Otis' sister comes to live with them, running from her abusive husband. As the woman has been sexually abused since childhood, she is told that Henry has too, and they make a connection. It is here we see two sides to Henry's personality, a ruthless, conscienceless killer and a somewhat caring and thoughtful individual. Rooker portrays the psychopath extremely well, as his eyes express a vacant, emotionless stare in every scene. As most psychopaths are, he is impulsive, deceitful and highly manipulative. After a macabre murder of two prostitutes, a casual killing Otis and Henry perform when they go out for a few drinks, Otis gets the taste for murder and joins Henry on future killing sprees.

What put this film on the map is the scene where Otis and Henry video one of their killings. They break into a suburban house and torture the couple, killing the son when he unexpectedly walks in, stabbing the father and breaking the wife's neck. The slightly out of focus and grainy quality to the video and the performance itself, conveys a frightening realism to this scene. When the video ends, the camera pans to Otis and Henry sitting on the couch watching the murders on the television, mesmerized, expressions of objective fascination, an eerie detachment, as if they are watching a movie about someone else This film technique was relatively new, ensuring "Henry" would become the subject for future filmmakers.

The film was released in 1986, thus this 20th anniversary edition of the picture. There is no doubt that "Henry" is one of the most frightening films ever released. It set a precedent for most future films in this particular genre as well as other genres, ensuring its place in moviemaking history.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2009
I wasn't prepared for this movie. What I thought was going to be another "shock them out of their socks" film about blood and guts turned out to be a deeply disturbing film that made me highly uncomfortable while I watched it. It just kept getting darker and more twisted as the minutes ticked away.

I thought that it was a great movie. I can't think of any other movie that has really made me want to hide. It wasn't scary in the normal sense, but what scared me is the no-nonsense format in which the story is told. Gritty and low budget, you get the feeling that you shouldn't have started watching in the first place. Indeed, I got more than I bargained for and when it was over I thought to myself that it was one of the best movies I have ever seen... and I DO NOT want to watch it again.

There is one scene in particular that is just so disgusting and disturbing that I could barely watch it. However, I must say that the acting in this movie is incredible. Every character feels like they are real. I was especially amazed at the acting of the victims. One second they are alive and fighting for their life and family... the next second they are dead from a broken neck and laying there like a brand new corpse. It was incredible to watch. Top notch acting because it affected me so deeply.

Be warned, this is not a "let's get a scary movie on Friday night" kind of movie. This is a serious film in my opinion. It should never be played with children around, it should never be played if you have a fragile psyche.

I want so badly to hate this film. I hate the way it made me feel, I hate the things it made me think about, I hate that it seemed so real. With all of that hate you would think that I would actually hate this movie. But this movie goes by in a flash because it is so captivating... and in the end I had to admit to myself that I could never hate this movie. I have to admit that I love this movie and how powerful it is... and now I hope to never see it again.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
I don't know if these days, this movie is that great of an idea to watch. If you're already freaked out by the news, and too scared to do much, you might want to hold off. But if you feel nice and safe when you are somewhere alone....and want to really feel something cold slowly move up your spine...
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 (except when they screamed or gasped). 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. (a good rule- Do not EVER let a stranger into your house when you are home alone if you were not expecting him. Think I'm paranoid? Watch this movie and see how safe you feel).
The plot sounds simple but it's not boring. The movie follows the exploits of Henry, a young man who is practically a textbook case of a serial killer (male, white, 30's, drifter, soft-spoken, shy). Conflict comes when his disgusting nasty inbred cousin Otis Toole stays with him, along with his pathetic sister. One night Otis and Henry pick up a couple of prostitutes and are having sex with them in the car. Henry kills both of them sort of offhandedly, with no more emotion than you would swat a fly. Otis starts joining him on his exploits. Henry is more sympathetic than Otis, however, because while Henry does these things because he is sick and doesn't have a choice, Otis seems to get off on them, and also should know better. Things sorta go downhill from there, and the sister complicates things because she is so desperately lonely that Henry starts to look good to her. It culminates in one of the most chilling, downbeat endings of all time. I still find this one of the most disturbing, unsettling movies ever made. You haven't seen a really scary movie until you see this movie.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2009
After 20 years, Henry remains one of the most compelling horror films ever made. The basic premise - a slice of life approach to the daily activities of a serial killer - had been done before (Bill Lustig's nauseating "Maniac") as well as since (the overrated "Man Bites Dog"), but none approached the impact or verisimilitude of John McNaughton's chiller.

Michael Rooker's intense offering is probably the only rendition of a serial killer that gives me nightmares. He seethes with rage and internal brokenness, and with the character of Otis, Tom Towles creates an inimitable caricature of a grotesque clown. Observing his progression from tortured accomplice to drooling necrophiliac is both disturbing and, occasionally, hilarious. In the audio commentary, McNaughton points out the humor that can be appreciated if you can tolerate the stench long enough to locate it. In the most reductive sense, Henry and Otis can be viewed as homicidal buffoons. Their reparte - particularly a post murder bit in a fast food parking lot, and Otis' "slow on the uptake" response when Henry hands him a gun in order to kill somebody - can be viewed as nihilistic Abbott and Costello bits.

The film's shortcomings mostly enhance its impact. The lack of funds necessitated a harsh, occasionally underlit 16mm look that makes the goings-on all the more realistic. This film is a masterpiece of aesthetic minimalism. Few directors have made equally powerful films under the umbrella of slick hollywood productions.

The DVD presentation is first rate. The transfer is clear, and the supplements - particularly a cache of deleted scenes, and a thorough doc present on a second disc - include pretty much everything a "Henry" fan could ask for.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 15, 2009
Henry Lee Lucas (Michael Rooker) and his buddy Otis (Tom Towels) maybe your typical buddies but secretly they are murderers in Chicago. Henry has a fetish for having sex with dead bodies and animals including an appetite for murder at night secretly, hell even Otis and Henry both video tape killing people for their pleasures. Henry seems to be falling for his buddy's hot sister Becky (Tracy Arnold) but Otis doesn't want that, he wants to keep his horrible secrets to himself away from the girl he desires as he's actually a real monster within.

A powerful, brutal and unique horror drama thriller from writer-director John McNaughton is one of the greatest and most disturbing horror movies ever made. Based on the murders and life of Henry Lee Lucas who is a real-life killer, The film is very realistic and hard to watch at times even with the gory murder sequences and snuff-filmmaking scenes, the film is praised as a brilliant and horrific piece of cinema that really kicks you in the gut and never lets go. The film was made in 1986 but got an X-rating due to extreme violence and subject matter but didn't got to see the light of day in theaters until 1990 without a rating but tons of praise. It's not like your typical slasher movie, this is a very human and terrific movie that takes you inside the mind of a monster.

This Blu-Ray offers stunning picture with quality sound with wonderful extras like audio commentary, trailer, still gallery, documentary, deleted scenes and outtakes with optional commentary, storyboards and interview with the director.
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