Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
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Wow. That was something.
First of all, this is a really good movie. It's usually mentioned in the context of disturbing movies, but it really runs the gamut. It's disturbing first and foremost, but it can be oddly touching, and darkly comedic. Michael Rooker is a horrifying villain, tortured romantic, and straight man all in the same movie, and he pulls it off incredibly well. Henry is a truly great character, and that is owed mostly to Rooker's performance. Now, I don't want to discredit Tom Towles and Tracy Arnold, because they're also splendid. It's a real performance movie, as the direction is very subdued. It certainly goes for a natural style, which I found very effective in putting you in the same room as the characters.
Now, maybe some of you are wondering why I called this movie "comedic." It is in the same way Lolita is comedic. You have these horrible, disgusting people who perpetrate unforgivable crimes throughout the movie, and then you see them bickering over a VHS camcorder. The horrendous nature of their other actions just seemed to heighten the understated hilarity of their everyday interactions. And comedic scenes also amplify the shear torment of some of the rougher scenes. Most of the murders are nothing you haven't seen in any violent movie, but I think anyone who has seen this movie knows that one scene that made me pause the movie for a minute. That one scene is the perfect example of what makes this movie great. You experience absolute torture watching them commit atrocities, and then they go on with their day as if nothing happened. It's a perfect melding of themes and story.
Of course, no movie is perfect, and if I have one gripe with Portrait, it's the score. It's cheesy and melodramatic, and sounds like the music you'd hear in, like seithscott said, a TV movie. It would've been so much stronger with no music. Just absolute cold.
That complaint aside, it's a truly phenomenal movie that is certainly not for the young'uns. Hell, it's probably not for most adults. But for a sick f
pervert like me, it's like a rollercoaster: it's a good time that also makes you feel like throwing up.
What a way to start a month of horror.
Very interesting movie. Acting is also great, in a disturbing way :)
Good movie, Michael Rooker is excellent, feels like a TV movie but still very good.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!
In 5 official lists
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This movie ranks #38 in 100 American Independent Films (BFI Screen Guide)
This movie ranks #65 in Tim Dirks' Most Controversial Films of All-Time
This movie ranks #93 in They Shoot Zombies, Don't They?
This movie ranks #407 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #755 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die