2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Shocking & gritty realism,
This review is from: Henry - Portrait Of A Serial Killer [Uncut] [DVD] (DVD)
There's only a handful of movies out there that you watch them and after wards you are left with this look of shock in your face. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is one of them. Based on the real life exploits of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, this films achieves a thing rare in todays horror films. It scares you.
Henry appears to be a regular guy. He works as an exterminator and lives in a little apartment in Chicago with his roommate Otis. They were both inmates in jail and now that they are both out, they decide to live in the same apartment. Things get complicated when Otis's sister Becky decides to move in with them because shes had some problems back home and because of her extreme loneliness she falls in love with Henry. Of course she doesn't know about his part time job as a vicious serial killer.
This movie really surprised me. As I watched it I couldn't help but think why the hell I had not seen this before. The reason is the film was made in 1986 and no studios were interested in it because of its graphic and realistic nature. Therefore it went straight to video in 1990. Well, it took me a while but I finally got around to watching this film and let me tell you, if you haven't seen this film and you call yourself a horror fan, well, get your ass off your couch and go and get it like right now! Its essential viewing my friends.
Now, some people might think that this film is all about gore and blood and the murders, and yes there's lots of that. But to me what really stood out were the performances. Michael Rooker does an incredible career making performance with Henry. Its strange but the way the character is portrayed he seems almost like a good guy when compared to for example his roommate Otis. Now there's a real scumbag if there ever was one, which brings me to another point about this movie. The characters are the lowest scumbags you will ever know! I mean, you don't want to meet these guys on the street. And the actor who plays Otis (Tom Towles), he really out did himself in making his character a real turd of a man. So my hats down to these two actors for doing some of the best acting I've ever seen on a horror movie. I also enjoyed Tracy Arnold playing Becky, Otis's sister. Her reactions towards some of the events rang very true, specially towards the end.
The writers of this film made sure that the tense moments were very effective. And strange thing is that some of the most tense moments have nothing to do with the actual murders being committed. I found the most tense moments were those between Otis and Henrys different personalities clashing or just the fact that you know that these two guys are certified lunatics so you know that any given situation can turn into a real bloodbath, every moment in this movie is just right there on the verge of going completely ballistic. So the intensity levels are high here thanks to some great performances and a solid script.
But whats a movie about a serial killer without some killings? Some well orchestrated murder set pieces? Well there's plenty of those in this movie since the real life Henry Lee Lucas reportedly killed hundreds of people. So right from the get go in the first scene you get a taste of Henrys work. Interesting thing is the way that the movie chooses to show you some of the killings. The director decided only to show the aftermath of the actual killing. He focuses on the corpse of the victim and then we chillingly hear how it all happened. I found this to be effectively creepy. By the way, John McNaughton the director used some really great sound effects to enhance the sequences. There's some gore here too, not everything is implied. And when things get gory...they get gory my friends. There's a scene involving a bathtub...wow. You'll see what I mean, don't wanna spoil any fun.
So, basically, this is one of those movies that makes you feel really uncomfortable as you watch it, but you just cant take your eyes off it. And at the same time you can appreciate how extremely well crafted this motion picture is. One thing is for damn sure, you wont feel like your watching the type of horror movie they make today. This is a solidly horrifying film that you wont soon forget.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Jun 2008 12:41:20 BDT
Doc Benway says:
Good review, can't disagree with your sentiments. However, the film did get a theatrical release in the UK, I saw it in a very unlikely venue (the local Theatre, which occasionally for a while showed films) and was, along with my mates, the only person there. Oh, and some nice middle aged lady usher warned us against seeing it, saying it was disgusting! Think it was with less cuts than the later video release, though with more than a friend who had seen it at a all-night horror film festival believed it had on his first viewing.
Posted on 3 Nov 2009 16:39:36 GMT
Pedro the Llama says:
I saw this at the cinema, I think it was the Prince Charles just off Leicester Square in about 1990 - it was and still is the only film I have ever been to where members of audience walked out in disgust
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