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Murder before Mindhunter: how Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer changed the way we see psychopaths

Michael Rooker in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Michael Rooker in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

A young man with bristling hair and disturbing cheekbones hefts a case from the back of his car and into the bushes. As he drives away the camera lingers on the battered valise. We cut to black.

Such is the bloodcurdlingly ambivalent note on which Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer ends. Bloodcurdling because it is heavily hinted that the case probably contains something other than Henry’s spare socks. Within, it is implied, are the remains of his girlfriend Becky. There’s no way of knowing for sure. Which makes it even more haunting. 

Henry is one of the most distressing horror movies of the past 40 years. It is also, and just like it says on the tin, among the greatest ever serial killer thrillers....

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