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3.5
1,357 Ratings

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Directed by John McNaughton
United States, 1986
Drama, Horror, Thriller

Synopsis

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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Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Directed by John McNaughton
Over the course of the 1980s, American horror cinema largely devolved into a by-the-numbers franchise-delivery system, with the stalk-and-slash antics of Freddy and Jason growing increasingly outlandish and supernumerary with every installment. Bleak and brutal, and often blackly humorous, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer stands as one particularly chilling exception to this rule.
January 19, 2017
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Not motivated by normal social pressures and ambitions, his mundane and ordinary nature run contrary to the often dehumanizing representation of men who kill – representing them as either animals or Gods, somehow apart from humanity. To face Henry as someone ordinary is to face that his capacity for murder is not exceptional to evil.
October 25, 2016
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Time has not softened its most chilling moments. In the opening shots, the camera slowly pulls back from the still-open eyes of female victims, gradually revealing the lacerations that ended them; over this we hear the sounds of their violent struggles with Henry. Awful as this is to behold, the most sickening scenes not only show his deeds but emphasize the emotional upheaval of the slaughtered.
October 20, 2016
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