Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Director: John McNaughton
Year Released: 1990
Rating: 3.5

Notoriously grim look at psychopathic murderer Henry (a brilliant Michael Rooker) - based loosely on the life of Henry Lee Lucas - and his sickening killing spree (whether some of the crimes occurred or are a part of Henry's deranged imagination remains unclear) as well as his personal life, which consists of a troubling love triangle involving him, his roommate/co-conspirator Otis (Tom Towles) and Otis' sister (Tracy Arnold). McNaughton's approach to his subject is one of chilling matter-of-factness (which makes this more disturbing than many "boo" movies that are actively trying to startle you) - the camera stares at Henry's victims, often in horrific poses before cutting to something utterly mundane, like the characters drinking beer or watching TV. Rooker plays the part to perfection - he's both dangerous and wounded, capable of horrible atrocities and being sedate - and delivers what is certainly one of the best performances in the genre. True horror isn't about monsters popping out of nowhere, it's about seemingly normal people living next door who are capable of ... anything.