Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Though the title makes Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer seem like a cut-rate slasher flick, the film is actually one of the most disturbing and terrifying examinations of mass murderers ever filmed. Loosely based on the story of confessed… More

Directed By:
Rated: NC-17
Running Time:
Release Date: September 24, 1986
DVD Release Date: November 17, 1998
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Critic Score: 86% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is an effective, chilling profile of a killer that is sure to shock and disturb.

John Hartl
Seattle Times

In a world in which eight nearly identical Friday the 13th movies offer the adventures of Jason the ax-murderer as entertainment for teen-agers, maybe we do need this sobering alternative.

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Terrence Rafferty
New Yorker

Sure, it's compelling; the nature of the material guarantees that. But it doesn't seem to be telling us much more than that the world is a scary place and murder is ugly. We knew those things. This is tabloid chic.

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David Keyes

It resonates with nightmarish energies, as if possessed by a malevolent quality that keeps its subject matter piercing in this era of violent saturation.

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Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel

The film is an honest and disturbing attempt to come to grips with the sort of modern horror that we must -- more urgently every day -- try to understand.

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Sheila Benson
Los Angeles Times

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is as fine a film as it is a brutally disturbing one.

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John Wooley
Tulsa World

A powerful, original look at the hopeless urban underclass in the American city, where lost people nibble at the garbage of our culture -- in a kind of perverse application of the "trickle-down" theory -- hating themselves and us all the while.

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Desmond Ryan
Philadelphia Inquirer

The difference between John McNaughton's incredibly chilling film and the usual serving of screen carnage is the difference between the mind of a murderer and the cynical and manipulative depiction of mindless murder.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Tribune

McNaughton's direction combines a strict social realism with a cool, Fritz Langian sense of pre-determination, while his work with actors has the improvisational freshness of a John Cassavetes.

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Lou Cedrone
Baltimore Sun

If you want a gore fix, this is it. If you're looking for a film with purpose, better wait until the bill changes.

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Flixster Audience Score: 71% Flixster User Reviews
Carlos Magalh„es
Apart from the solid performances, there's little else to praise in this mediocre film that mistakenly believes that resorting to shocking, purposeless… More
Alex roy
Loosely based on the life of Henry Lee Lucas, this is a raw, gritty and overall savage character study of a serial killer. This is a film that is brilliantly… More
Spencer S.
The invention of the NC-17 rating was a big controversy in the eighties, and this film instigated the debate thanks to its scenes of brutality and murder at the… More
MisterYoda ?
three stars
Directors Cat
Sophie Burgess
Yes, the acting was brilliant from Rooker and it was an involving story but it just seemed to drag and some of the performances were horrendous. There were many… More