Guts and Grog Tooned Up

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Henry: Portrait of a Shit Movie Fest



Before I start I just wanted to say thanks to Eric for inviting me back to his blog for another week of featured Bloggers from the Horror Community! Last time around for his "Horror With Training Wheels" Week I did a write up about my love for Full Moon Pictures and The Puppet Master Series (here), and for the "Extreme Week" I choose to do a writeup for the Ultra Low Budget and Downright Sick "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer"!

Before I get into "Henry" bear with me for a second, a few weeks ago I recently picked up the "WCW War Games: WCW's Most Notorious Matches" Blu-ray . . . For any non-wrestling fan reading this, "War Games" was two rings put together inside a gigantic Steel Cage and featured some of the Bloodiest Matches in the history of the sport! OK that's cool and all but what does that have to do with my post "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" for Guts and Grog's Extreme Week? Well when I put on the second disk of the War Games Collection, I seen Chris Benoit . . . A man who's matches I go out of my way to avoid watching. I couldn't tell you the last time I sat and watched a Benoit match since he murdered himself and his family back in 2007, but there's something deeply disturbing now about watching this gifted athlete inflicting pain on his opponents and getting nothing but cheers and love from the crowd!

In a nutshell watching that match with Benoit is exactly how I feel about watching "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer", the movie is as fucked up and deprived as it get, yet you can't help but appreciate it for the Twisted Masterpiece it truly is! As much as I hate admit it, but I'd be hard pressed to name a better Wrestler then Chris Benoit, just like I would trying to find a movie that will make you feel like Henry does!
I first rented Henry in the mid-90s when my buddy Jim and I were on a Horror Movie renting crusade at our local video store "Moonlight Video". The cover of a man standing in front of a bathroom mirror wearing a white wife-beater didn't do much to pull me in, but the tag line "He's Not Freddy. He's Not Jason. He's Real!" certainly did the trick!

When I rented it, I didn't know anything about the movie or the serial killer Henry Lee Lucas it was sorta based off of, and I only just recently saw it's star Michael Rooker (sans hair) in the Kevin Smith film "Mallrats"! What I saw over Jimmy's house that night was maybe the bleakest film I ever witness up to that point, oh and I pretty much hated the everliving shit out of it! I don't recall what made me ever give H.P.O.A.S.K. a second chance, but I'm glad I did because over the years that I realized just how well acted of a movie it is and how important of a film it is in the Horror genre . . .


The opening scene in the movie tries to prepare you for the vicious onslaughts coming your way by only showing you the aftermath of some Henry's previous victims, in doing so it accomplishes setting up the uneasy nature of the film right off the bat!

The movie is shot in such away that in almost every scene throughout the movie you feel like a fly on the wall afraid to move as Henry and his roommate/partner in crime Otis (played perfectly by Tom Towles) are as cold as the windy city it's self as they stalk their prey in and around the gritty Chicago Metropolitan Area.
When these two aren't busy killing, the scenes between Henry, Otis, and Otis' sister Becky (who moved in with them at the start of the story) are beyond cringeworthy! Listening to these people talk about all the abuse they been through in their lives makes you feel sorry for them, and then Otis will do something sick like cop a feel on his sister and you go back to despising all 3 of them!

If I had to pick a favorite scene in this movie, the one I pick is oddly enough pretty hilarious, not sure if was Director John McNaughton's original intentions but the scene when Henry and Otis try to buy a used TV Set off a seedy man in a garage is a laugh riot! Judge for yourself . . .
( Watch Here )


After that scene things really start to unravel for the duo as Henry starts to take a liking to Becky, something that rubs Otis the wrong way . . . cause well in his mind that's his girl. After a bloody showdown in the cramped apartment between the once best friends a happy ending looks almost possible for Becky until she meets the same fate as all the girls that came before her . . . yesterday's garbage!

For this post I actually rented the Mid 90s sequel to Henry dubbed "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer 2 Mask of Sanity" from Netflix . . . 
The director did a great job of capturing the look and feel of the original film, but without Rooker's involvement in the titular role it felt like a ripoff!


A Couple years back my friend Mike and I went out to Cincinnati for Horror Hound Weekend! ( Read Here) The two big reunions that weekend were for "Friday the 13th Part 6" and "Pet Sematary", but since Michael Rooker and Tom Towles were on hand there was also a mini-Henry reunion as well! Meeting Michael was an amazing experience. I always been a big fan of his diverse body of work . . . this is right before Walking Dead Mania hit full force, so while the line for Rooker was long, it was no where near as long as it's become at recent cons I've seen him at! I meet Michael the first night I was there and we talked some about "Slither" and of course P.O.A.S.K.! I told him how I recently saw the movie in 35mm at Exhumed Films 24 Hour Horror-thon ( Read Here ) and how it chased some people out of the theater in disgust! Mr. Rooker got a real kick out of that!

The next morning I meet Tom Towles and I'm happy to say he was nothing like the sicko Otis in real life, in fact he was a super nice guy! We didn't talk as much about Henry as we did his role in the Living Dead remake as "Harry Cooper"!

Since I brought my Henry DVD along to the con, I got both fellas sign that instead of getting a 8x10 signed!

Well hope you enjoy my post, if you haven't given this movie a shot yet do yourself a favor and get on that shit! Oh and one more thing before I leave . . . "Fuck the Bears!"

- Thomas Bryce





Tom runs Shit Movie Fest which  is a Blog and Facebook Page based off a monthly "Bad Movie Party" he does with his friends in Philadelphia! The first SMF Party was no different than what him and his  friend Chris were doing since they met in High School back in the 90s when they would watch a few movies and trash them, but over time SMF has continued to grow in both attendance and support from friends new and old!

2 comments:

Eric King said...

Excellent post

JP Wendel said...

Fantastic post! The murder of the family on tape is still one of the most disturbing scenes I've ever seen.