Before he was heading up the Ravagers or being Daryl’s older brother, Michael Rooker portrayed one of the 20th century’s most terrifying screen villains. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is loosely based on the true crimes of Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole. The film was a landmark piece of cinema as it presented Henry as the protagonist of the film while also remaining dispassionate about his frequent murders. It’s a chilling examination of the banality of evil and how monsters are often more human than we want to believe.
If you’ve never seen Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, you’ll be getting a pretty awesome opportunity for a first viewing. The film will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in style with a 4K restoration and red-carpet premiere on October 14th in Chicago, the locale where the movie was filmed and takes place. There will also be major theatrical engagements across the country starting on October 21st. Perfect timing for Halloween.
Even thirty years later, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer remains a difficult and disturbing piece of cinema. The performances from Michael Rooker and Tom Towles are incredibly effective, and it’s terrifying how you begin to sympathize with these characters. There was a sequel in 1996 but none of the cast returned and it devalues the subtlety and finesse of the original. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer stands in a league of its own.
No word on when the 4K restoration will make its way to home video, but we’ll keep our eyes and ears out for it. Regardless, if this anniversary screening of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer ends up in your vicinity, you should make it a point to attend. It’s a low budget masterpiece of tension and horror. And it’s really weird to see Yondu being so scary.