Perfect Casting, Perfect Performance #4

Perfect Casting, Perfect Performance #4

Michael Rooker as Henry Lee Lucas in Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer

This is a controversial film to say the least, and I have claimed it is one of the most disturbing films I have ever seen (In my Top 5 Disturbing Films Podcast this is what I named as Number 1 for me). The reason this film is so disturbing to me lies mostly in the performance of Michael Rooker as Henry. Now on paper the script for Henry is good, it set out to be something different, set it apart from a typical horror/murderer film. Loosely based on the real serial killer, they made changes appropriate for a film, and while they show the horror-able things he does, they also attempt to give us a glimpse at this man and what makes him do the things that he does. Michael Rooker took what he had and he turned into something else entirely, from the way he speaks his dialogue to the look in his eyes, everything he does here is stunning to say the least.

From the moments of madness to the moments of quiet, he plays everything perfectly. We see him killing, and the look in his eyes during some of the scenes is terrifying and I have no idea how he managed to pull this off. I really felt like I was looking into the eyes of a real killer, it chills me, no matter how many times I watch it. When he is sitting down with his friend Otis’s sister Becky, he tells her a bit about his past. He seems like a normal guy, the guy next door, he is quiet, almost a little bit shy. Becky develops romantic feelings for him, and if you didn’t see him killing anyone you would almost understand why she was. That to me was highly disturbing, the moments of normality which he portrayed, he was almost like someone you could be friends with, and then you remember he is a killer. I felt so highly disturbed by this and these scenes, and the amazing performance he does to convey this, it really is outstanding.

Michael Rooker in my opinion is an under-rated actor, in everything I have seen him in he always delivers no matter how good or bad the film is. Henry is his best role no doubt, he has never been better and this is the role which I think type cast him mostly as playing the bad guy. What he did in this film, that perfect performance that he does, it still amazes me and it still disturbs me. This film I think set a really high bar for serial killer films, and I think it is definitely above average. However if it weren’t for Michael Rooker it would not have been nearly as good, and this is a case where the performance is better then the film and it elevates the film. Henry is a difficult film to actually recommend, it is not easy to watch at all. It is worth seeing for this performance if you can handle it, Michael Rooker deserves some good attention. If you can’t handle this, at least give Slither a try, just don’t eat before hand.

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