- Alternative Character Interpretation: While it's obvious Henry is enough of an irredeemable sociopath to kill for fun and turn on Becky when it suits him, there are points in the film where he shows emotion outside of a murder spree. He fondly recalls some parts of his childhood, and he seems to be enjoying himself when playing around with the camera he and Otis have stolen. Since he doesn't seem to be socially skilled enough to "fake" emotions, is he a true psychopath, or something slightly different?
- Complete Monster:
- The titular Henry is a man who finds feeling only in murder. Henry kills several people randomly and explains his strategy for getting away with is always mixing up his MO. When Henry befriends a twisted man named Otis, Henry has the two kill a whole family, snapping the young son's neck on camera. He murders Otis after catching Otis raping Otis's sister Becky who confesses she loves Henry. The next day, Henry is seen leaving alone, dropping a heavy, bloodstained suitcase in a ditch that contains Becky's remains.
- The aforementioned Otis is Henry's former cellmate, who is introduced letting Becky stay with him as a pretext to hit on her. Due to his own sadistic tendencies, he gleefully joins Henry's killing spree, eventually killing an innocent bystander after a teenage boy he tried to molest fights back. When the duo massacre an entire family, Otis nearly forces himself on the mother before ultimately molesting her corpse. In ravenous jealousy of Henry developing a relationship with Becky, Otis snaps and rapes her.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Inevitable, given the bleak tone of the film and the fact that the main character is a sadistic murderer.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: The movie is based on the confession of alleged serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. It's now pretty well established that Lucas, while probably a murderer, was also a massive bullshitter who made up most of his confessions.
- Retroactive Recognition: Michael Rooker gained a newfound level of fame in the 2010s after he was cast as Merle in The Walking Dead and Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy, making his work as Henry here a case of this to those who weren't around in the late 1980s (especially considering this was Rooker's film debut).
- Moral Event Horizon:
- Henry crosses this by murdering a family.
- Otis crosses it when he rapes Becky, his sister.
- Sequelitis: Ever hear of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Part 2? Yeah, didn't think so.
- Signature Scene:
- The scene where Henry and Otis kill the TV salesman with a soldering iron.
- The home invasion scene.
- Special Effect Failure: Otis getting his eye gouged out, where his head is clearly a prop.
YMMV / Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer