(1986) Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

The Walking Dead star Michael Rooker is triumphant here in giving an incredibly chilling portrayal of real life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. From what I’ve read, Rooker stayed in character throughout the entirety of the filming process and his dedication shines through in an incredibly emotionally methodical but beautifully restrained performance.

Gritty 1990’s Chicago sets the stage for a walk in Henry’s shoes where we get to watch him work with little to no opposition from both his victims and the police. In fact, there’s not a single police officer shown throughout the entire film.

Henry lives with his “friend” Otis and Otis’ sister. The dynamic between the trio is at the centerpiece of the story, particularly in regards to Otis’ sexual aggression and perversions. The real life Henry Lee Lucas was a child molester and rapist along with his affinity for murder. In the film however, Henry’s homicidal tendencies are very much triggered by anything sexual in nature, especially Otis’ sexual advances towards his own sister Becky.

The ending of this film is what takes it to another level for me. I believe the horror of serial killer biopics really sets it when our killer is face to face with someone that seems to connect with them on a different level, break through their shell almost. In this case it’s Otis’ sister Becky who eventually tells Henry that she loves him in the wake of a very violent scene. I have a morbid curiosity with real life serial killers because I want to know exactly how much we have in common in terms of any sort of level of empathy or sentiment.

If you’re a fan of Michael Rooker in The Walking Dead I think you’ll be thoroughly impressed by his performance here and it’s worth a watch for that alone.


Author: Ben

26 year old cheeseburger addicted horror junkie

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