Sunday, October 17, 2010

It Came From Netflix: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

By Eric Polk

Disturbing. That's one work I can use to describe this 1986-filmed, 1990-released movie directed by John McNaughton and starring Michael Rooker in the lead role.

This film is more a character study as opposed to the A-Z hack-n-slash one may be use to. You have Henry cruising the streets and suburbs of Chicago in search for victims in order to satisfy a repressed urge caused(in my psychological opinion) by his promiscuous mother. Living with him is the disgusting, lecherous Otis(Tom Towles) and Otis' sister, Becky(Tracey Arnold). Throughout the movie Henry stalks his victims as he pulls Otis into his blood-soaked world while falling in love with Becky.

This movie pulls no punches in its violence, its realistic characters, or its graphic displays of murder and blood(the t.v salesman's death is the best example of this use). There is one scene that made me nauseous(the incest rape scene) and almost made me want to turn it off but I did tell myself it was only a movie, to borrow a phrase. Henry:Portrait of a Serial Killer as great as it is really should only be viewed once. It's not a tongue-in-cheek fuzzy horror film nor escapist fare. It is what is: a cold, harsh story of one man and his dark side.



TheGirlWhoLovesHorror said...

Very gritty and dirty film. I hear Michael Rooker is a really nice guy, but hard to believe from watching his performance in this, right?!

Eric Polk said...

LOL. I can see where he could be, especially in most of his interactions with Becky.

*Spoiler Alert*

It's a shame what happens to her though at the end.

stonerphonic said...

I have only seen this once, but I do agree it is very realistic, cold, calculated, and is def not for everyone.

But as a movie, it totally rocks. Def recommended.