Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (18)
D: John McNaughton
Electric/Maljack (John McNaughton, Lisa Desmond & Steven A. Jones)
US 1986 (released 1989)
W: Richard Fire & John McNaughton
DP: Charlie Lieberman
Ed: Elena Maganini
Michael Rooker (Henry), Tom Towles (Otis), Tracy Arnold (Becky)
An unpleasant film about unpleasant people yet it's still profoundly gripping despite its disturbing story and characters.
Partly based on the confessions of a real life serial killer, it begins with a creepy montage of dead bodies, victims of the psychopathic Henry (Michael Rooker), a drifter who lives with Otis, a drug-dealing rapist who he met in prison and Becky, Otis' sister, who has recently moved to Chicago to find a job.
Henry has no preferred method of pattern to the murders he commits, seemingly to do them completely at random and soon introduces Otis into the act of killing, the two of them videotaping every gory detail. However, when Otis starts getting on Henry's nerves the two turn on each other and Henry leaves town with Becky.
The movie was originally made in 1986 and did nearly 4 years on the festival circuits before getting a worldwide release. It's a stunning debut from it's director John McNaughton, creating a thrilling horror movie where there is no good whatsoever to counterbalance the evil and presenting a world too sickeningly disturbing to truly exist and too viscerally realistic to be denied.
This makes the Saw movies seem like a Disney cartoon.