Review: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer 

I kicked off 2017 by watching a VHS copy Henry: Portait of a Serial Killer on a CRT television. I’m thoroughly modern. For younger readers, CRT is an acronym for Cathode Ray Tube. Until LCD and plasma displays came along, CRT was the standard for televisions. Translation: the TV is old and the picture gets cut off on the sides when I watch TV.

Henry is a movie that I had always meant to watch, but hadn’t gotten around to seeing. My first job was at a video store, and I remember handling Henry. Viewing it on my VCR seemed appropriate because it made Henry seem even more gritty.

Michael Rooker, of The Walking Dead fame, churns out a disturbing performance as our titular character. Going toe-to-toe on the creep factor with Rooker is Tom Towles as Henry’s roommate, Otis. Actually, I found Otis to be waaaaay creepier than Henry.

No one has a merry life in Henry. Probably a given when “serial killer” is in the title. Tracy Arnold’s Becky is possibly the most disheartening of the three. She is down on her luck, experienced a horrible childhood, and has horrific taste in men.

Henry manages to portray a serial killer without being overly-graphic. There’s no torture porn. It’s left to the viewer to imagine the events leading up to most of the deaths.

It may not have the high production values of American Psycho or Natural Born Killers, but Henry works on a different level. Plus: it’s a fantastic time capsule from 1986. Millennials can learn all about portable videotape recorders!

Keep an eye out for that Rooker guy. I think he’s super! He may have already slithered into your galaxy. (Bad puns, I know. Sorry.)


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