UNDERGROUND USA: INDIE CINEMA OF THE 80s - Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (w/ John McNaughton in person!)

Presented by Friday Night Frights

One of the first movies to really explore the inner mind of a serial killer, John McNaughton’s 1986 Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer is a film that isn’t easy to shake, even thirty years and countless serial killer films later. Based on the real-life story of Henry Lee Lucas, the film stars Michael Rooker in a career-defining performance as the titular Henry, a serial killer who is spurned on to a murder rampage by his ex-con roommate when his sister comes to town. Tom Towles puts in an indelibly slimy performance as Otis, Henry’s roommate and Tracy Arnold is pitch-perfect as Tracy, the sister who drives a sexually charged wedge between these already volatile men. A triumph of indie cinema, the film cost a measly $100,000 and, after an extensive battle with the MPAA, would go on to gross several millions through theatrical re-release and home video. Today it is rightly regarded as a classic and a pioneer in the serial killer subgenre, its documentary feel and 16mm grit often imitated but never replicated.

Dir. John McNaughton, 1986, 35mm, 83 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!