Warning: Some readers might find the following information disturbing.
If you are not familiar with the story of Henry Lee Lucas, you might just feel a pang of sadness for this sadistic serial killer.
Lucas was born into a broken home. Both of his parents were alcoholics and his mother was a prostitute. Most days his mother would dress him up as a little girl and he would attend school with curled hair and dresses. Because of his troublesome upbringing, Lucas began to show signs of a sexual deviant and has confessed to having sex with his half brother and dead animals.
I hated all my life. I hated everybody. When I first grew up and can remember, I was dressed as a girl by my mother. And I stayed that way for two or three years. And after that I was treated like what I call the dog of the family. I was beaten. I was made to do things that no human being would want to do. – Henry Lee Lucas
Lucas spent his teenage years in and out of jail and in 1960 he was sentenced to prison for killing his seventy four-year-old-mother by stabbing her to death. He was later paroled in 1970 and merely a year after his release he attempted to kidnap a fifteen-year-old girl at gunpoint.
Dubbed as one of America’s most prolific serial killer, Lucas confessed to hundreds of brutal killings. He showed no emotion or love to anyone that came into his life. Even though he had romantic feelings towards his friend’s neiece, Frieda “Becky” Powell, who had a mentally disability, he later confessed to murdering her and stuffing her dismembered body in a suitcase. She was fifteen.
HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER was released in 1986 to a shocking and controversial opening. The film, blunt and raw, is a terrifying depiction of a broken man who has simply stated, “if I see you walking and I want to kill you, I will.”
Dark Sky Films has announced on the 30th anniversary debut of the film in 4K restoration that will be released nationwide with major theatrical releases that will begin on October 21, 2016.
The film stars Michael Rooker (“The Walking Dead”) as the nomadic killer. In his chilling performance, Rooker captures the unruly and broken man, with far too many scars.
From the press release:
HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER is a chilling profile of a cold-blooded killer that, 30 years after its historic festival premiere, has lost none of its power to shock. The film, loosely based on a true story, has been hailed as one of the most disturbing and terrifying examinations of mass murderers ever filmed. Henry (Michael Rooker, The Walking Dead) is a psychopathic drifter who has coldly murdered a number of people for no particular reason and without any remorse. Leaving bodies in his wake, Henry makes his way to Chicago, where his he settles into the run-down apartment of his drug-dealing former prison friend and occasional roommate Otis (Tom Towles).
Also moving into the space is Otis’s younger sister Becky (Tracy Arnold), who is fleeing her abusive husband. As she fends off her brother’s incestuous advances, Becky finds herself attracted to Henry – unaware that he, along with Otis, are continuing their murderous rampage.
Director John McNaughton completed the film in 1986, and it was shown at that year’s Chicago International Film Festival. But it wasn’t until 1990 that a U.S. distributor was brave enough to give it a wide release. Henry predates the NC-17 rating and received its predecessor, the X rating, on three separate occasions. As a result of it and related issues with Almodovar’s “Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down,” Phillip Kaufman’s “Henry & June” and Peter Greenaway’s “the Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover,” the MPAA created the NC-17 as its replacement on 9/26/1990. Henry’s current rating is “X (Surrendered)” though a renewed rating is pending. The film’s violence, and the clinical, detached portrayal of Henry by the unforgettable Michael Rooker, originally earned it the MPAA’s highly restrictive NC-17 rating.
The response from both critics and the public was as visceral as the film itself, and it went on to gain praise as one of the most compelling and disturbing films of modern cinema.
In celebration of its 30th anniversary, HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER returns with a thrilling, cinematic presentation that cements its reputation as one of the most harrowing and original American films of all time. Dark Sky Films, a division of MPI Media Group, proudly presents it in a brand-new 4K scan and restoration from the 16mm original camera negatives, and featuring a new 5.1 audio mix from the stereo 35mm mag reels, all approved by director John McNaughton.
It will be interesting to see how this film fares with a newer audience considering that the film was initially released thirty years ago. On March 13, 2001, Lucas died in prison from heart failure.