->''"Yeah, I killed my Mama."''

''Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer'' is a controversial 1986 film [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin that follows the exploits of a serial killer named Henry]].

The film starts out with a girl named Becky, who just got out of a tough relationship with her convict husband and heads to Chicago to make some money for herself and her daughter. She's staying with her brother Otis who has taken in Henry as a house guest. Becky and Henry share troubled pasts, which gives them a somewhat romantic connection while Henry and Otis begin a bond based on their shared desires for random violence and go on a killing spree.

The film is notable for two major reasons; 1) launching the career of the then-unknown actor Creator/MichaelRooker and 2) its extreme violence and rape scenes that caused a huge amount controversy with the MPAA and lead to several different edits of the film in the UK as well as on home video.

A sequel, titled ''Henry II: Portrait of a Serial Killer'', was released in 1996. Set several years after the original, it has Henry shack up with a dysfunctional family headed by an unhinged arsonist named Kai.

!!This film provides examples of:

* AbusiveParents: Becky's father was sexually abusive, and Henry claims that his prostitute mother forced him to watch her have sex with clients, among other things.
* {{Adorkable}}: Becky seems to find Henry's soft-spoken, awkward demeanor attractive. [[spoiler:How wrong she is.]]
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: [[spoiler:This is what leads to Becky's undoing. She just got out of a relationship with an abusive boyfriend who was a criminal and thrown in jail for murder awaiting trial. And when she discovers that Henry murdered his own mother, she endears herself to him, believing she found a KindredSpirit, instead of seeing that as a serious red flag. Given that her father beat and raped her all during [[BrokenBird her childhood]], it's understandable how she'd see men like Henry as attractive.]]
* AssholeVictim: [[spoiler:The {{Jerkass}} fence Henry and Otis try to buy a TV from]] was apparently intended as such according to WordOfGod.
** [[spoiler:Otis himself]] becomes one at the end of the film.
* TheBadGuyWins: Obviously, the serial killer achieves his goal of killing a lot of people. [[spoiler:Henry takes Becky to an inn out in the middle of nowhere and kills her. He then dumps her body out in the middle of the highway and drives on before the ending credits. Even worse when you consider that Henry was probably thinking about killing her the moment she told him about moving back home, and that's hours before she was raped by Otis.]]
* BigBad: While Henry is a VillainProtagonist, his partner Otis eventually becomes even worse.
* BigDamnHeroes:
** During the one moment where it seems like Henry will lose (when [[spoiler:Otis overpowers him after Henry attacks him when he sees him assaulting Becky]]), [[spoiler:Becky]] saves him by [[spoiler:impaling Otis' [[EyeScream eye]]]].
** A deleted sequence has a burglar break into the apartment and attempt to rape Becky while Henry and Otis are away. They come back in time to save her, and it leads to Henry awkwardly attempting to comfort her while Otis stands around twiddling his thumbs.
* BlackComedy: [[WordofGod Director John McNaughton]], on the 20th Anniversary DVD release, says he finds the conversations that Henry and Otis have when they're not committing murders to be this, a sort of very dark comedy duo. He also ruminates that if you watch the movie more than 5 times, you begin to see a "comedy of the stupid", with Henry, while being cunning in his killing, is completely illiterate. Meanwhile, while Otis is able to read, he is completely devoid of social graces. And Becky, despite her social prowess, is also hopelessly naive.
* BreakTheCutie: Becky. Her father was sexually abusive, and [[spoiler:she enters a deep HeroicBSOD after seeing Henry kill Otis]].
* {{Deconstruction}}: Of AllGirlsWantBadBoys and DracoInLeatherPants. The movie goes through great lengths to remind us just how much of a monster Henry is.
* DepravedBisexual: Otis tries to rape the wife in the family he and Henry murder, [[spoiler:succeeds in raping his sister]], and comes on to the guy he was selling weed to.
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler:After killing Otis, Henry and Becky drive away together and spend the night in a hotel. The next day, Henry dumps a duffel bag containing Becky's corpse on the side of the road and drives off to continue his murders.]]
* DroneOfDread: About 90% of the soundtrack.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: [[spoiler:Perhaps Henry's only redeemable trait: he absolutely abhors Otis's incestuous advances toward Becky, and protects her from them on two different occasions.]] He also isn't particularly enthused by the idea of necrophilia, though in that case it may have simply been PragmaticVillainy.
* EvilDuo: Henry and Otis, with Henry being the more dominant and slightly more controlled "idea man", and Otis being more of a follower and going from "rather reluctant" to "impulsive". A deleted scene also implies that they're in a secret sexual relationship.
* EyeScream: [[spoiler:Otis]] gets the end of a metal comb jammed into his eye by [[spoiler:Becky]].
* FatalFlaw: [[spoiler:For Becky, her attraction to bad men with psychological problems.]]
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The song that plays once Henry turns on the radio after he and Becky declare their love for each other has a chorus that says, "Loving you was my mistake." [[spoiler:Henry kills Becky the next day.]]
* FreudianExcuse: Played with. [[spoiler:Henry says that he killed his mother because she was abusive, but in context the claim comes off as rather dubious. And while we can infer that having a father who sexually abused his sister didn't do wonders for Otis' mental health, it doesn't seem to be much of a motivating factor in any of his killings.]]
* InUniverseCamera: Whenever Otis and Henry film their murders.
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:Henry]], obviously.
** The homophobic teenage boy who sucker-punched Otis and steals his weed. Otis wants to get his revenge, but Henry advises him not to since that would likely lead to Otis getting arrested. [[spoiler:A good Samaritan suffers his punishment instead.]]
* KillTheCutie: [[spoiler:Becky gets raped by her older brother Otis, then killed by Henry the next day.]]
* {{Minimalism}}: The film has a whopping three major characters, and more dialogue than "action"....most of Henry's kills are shown in the aftermath or implied.
* MoodWhiplash: [[WordOfGod McNaughton]] said this was exactly what he was going for when he went from the murder of the TV shop owner in one scene (which was supposed to be funny and make us root for Henry and Otis), to Henry and Otis videotaping the murder of an entire family the next.
* MultipleChoicePast: Henry can't seem to decide whether [[spoiler:he beat his mother to death with a baseball bat, stabbed her with a knife, or shot her.]]
* NeckSnap: While Henry claims to constantly change his method of killing, he uses this more often than anything else. He does it effortlessly in all but one case, and everyone seems to die upon it being performed.
* PragmaticVillainy: Henry advises Otis against getting revenge on the boy that hit him and stole his weed because the two have been seen together and the boy is young, and these factors would lead to Otis getting caught.
* ProtagonistTitle
* PsychopathicManchild: Henry comes across as fairly simple-minded (he does a remarkably poor job of [[spoiler: reconciling his various accounts of killing his mother]]), and the enjoyment he takes in some of his killings seems rather child-like.
* ThePublicDomainChannel: [[spoiler: After claiming another victim, Henry leaves her TV on this station. By the time we see it, it's in the middle of playing "Neptune Nonsense".[[note]]A 1936 WesternAnimation/FelixTheCat cartoon produced by VanBeurenStudios[[/note]]]]
* RandomEventsPlot: Aside from a vague subplot revolving around Becky trying to escape her abusive husband, the only real overarching "plot thread", if it can be called that, is Henry and Otis' desire to commit murder.
* RealityEnsues: [[spoiler: Falling in love with a serial killer gets Becky killed. Henry is a stone cold sociopath and having a woman fall in love with him does ''nothing'' to change that.]]
* SelfMadeOrphan: Henry murdered his mother.
* SerialKiller: Henry and Otis.
* ShortTitleLongElaborateSubtitle
* TheSociopath: If being a serial killer wasn't enough of a clue, Henry's indifferent response when Becky tells him that she loves him is further evidence. The ending confirms this.
* TheStoic: Other than the sadistic glee he takes in murder, Henry never shows much emotion.
* SonOfAWhore: [[spoiler: Henry [[UnreliableNarrator claims]] to be one, although unlike many other examples, he actually knew his father (as his mother was still married) and had at least two siblings.]]
* SuspiciouslyAproposMusic: When Henry takes Becky out to the motel after [[spoiler:killing Otis and disposing of his body]], they declare their love for each other (Henry more reluctantly, reasonably), and Henry turns on the radio. The song that plays happens to go like this: [[{{Foreshadowing}} "Loving you was my mistake..."]]
* UnbuiltTrope:
** Of the "serial killer lead" subgenre of the {{villain protagonist}} genre, i.e. all the serial killer and slasher films of the 90s and onward that have us root for the villain and may sometimes even give them a sympathetic motive. Here we're given the serial killer character in its rawest form and the result is more sickening than entertaining. Unlike such protagonists as [[Literature/AmericanPsycho Patrick Bateman]], Henry is socially awkward, plain-looking, not particularly intelligent, and downright vicious.
** The film also retroactively deconstructs the theme often found in these type of slasher flicks: [[ThePowerOfFriendship the good girl breaking down the defenses]] of the serial killer. [[spoiler:Instead, Henry sees Becky as more of a nuisance than a friend or love interest and kills her in the end.]] Seriously, [[spoiler:Becky's fate]] would almost seem like a fuck you to Book!Clarice Starling and Debra Morgan if it wasn't for the fact that Hannibal and Dexter wouldn't come about for over another 10 years.
** The ending also serves as a prototype for the [[BlackAndGrayMorality Bad Serial Killer vs. Worse Serial Killer]] that has become a staple of the genre. Henry and Otis' fight is brutal, ugly, and random and neither side has any moral high ground. And since [[spoiler:Henry winds up just killing Becky later the same night]], its completely pointless. Watching this and then watching Series/{{Dexter}} square off against the Doomsday Killer makes the latter seem almost childish by comparison.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Henry Lee Lucas was a real serial killer who confessed to killing over 600 people... but was only convicted for 11 killings. The film is more or less based on Lee's claims than his actual crimes. It actually caused a huge scandal as police fed Lucas with details from various crimes, in many cases to clear unsolved murders, thus meaning the real killers were not pursued. Lucas himself got distinction as the only death row prisoner ''spared'' by the then Governor of Texas UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush. He died in prison from cancer. His partner Ottis Toole was not killed by him, but also died from natural causes while incarcerated. Lucas ''had'' served a sentence for the murder of his mother, but all of the convictions except for this are questioned.
* VillainProtagonist: Henry.
* VillainousIncest: Poor Becky was subject to this by her father. [[spoiler:Later, her brother forces himself onto her.]]
* WouldHurtAChild: Henry snaps a young boy's neck in front of his parents during the home invasion.