Arriving in Chicago, Henry (Michael Rooker, in what is undoubtedly the finest performance of his patchy career), moves in with ex-con acquaintance Otis (Tom Towles) and starts schooling him in the ways of the serial killer.
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I despise American holidays, especially Labor Day, which happens to be today. Work when you need to, not when someone tells you to. That's how I identify with Henry. He has his impulses. Not afraid to pack his suitcases on a whim (though my suitcases aren't filled with body parts). He gets the job done, he works his own hours, and he'll eat a steak and drink a beer whenever the fuck he feels like it. Cheers, Henry.
This is a taff movie, hard to digest in its depiction of emotional coldness. It stages the acts of violence in a kind of succession, going from imagining them in the viewers mind (you see the corpses and at the same time hear the act of killing on the sound level) to comitting crimes and showing ponographic aspects of the murders through the distancing eye of a video camera until you finally see bloody details.
Effective, low-budget dramatization of real life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas seems to bleed sleaze and grime from every pore. Doesn't necessarily offer any insight into his motives, but McNaughton manages to create a memorably disturbing atmosphere, with some truly frightening and often very realistic moments of terror.
As unsettling as I always knew Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer was, not seeing it for a few years made it seem worlds skeevier this time around. For as low budget and at times poorly acted and executed as Henry is, its an incredibly powerful, nasty and seemingly realistic movie that deserves more recognition.
Confidently directed and spare, save for the invasive score. Rooker is great. There's a workaday charm to Henry, and his violent outbursts are all the more alienating and horrifying as a result. It starts off strong and seems to run out of gas a little bit as it progresses, but well worth watching.