i shot her… i shot her dead… i thought you said you stabbed her?

Henry: Portrait of a Serial KillerThough we had recently watched a true crime special on Henry Lee Lucas, it was being spurred on by my curiosity to finally looking up the sample that God and Texas used to start off their song “Shit House” that led us to finally sit down to watch Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. I have vivid memories of this playing at Cinema 21 when it came out back in the 80’s and thinking “I most certainly must see that movie!”. Cut to 20+ years later and I still had never gotten around to it. Well, now I have. Hmm.

Though it does include some scenes that could easily be considered disturbing (most notably the home invasion scene), what was most evident to me watching it was that it was rather dull. Of course, as one wouldn’t expect to like any of these characters or find the plot particularly engaging, I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by it, but still… I started to have a rather hard time paying attention.

Henry is a semi-fictional (probably primarily fictional, I imagine) account of the story of Henry Lee Lucas, Ottis Toole and Ottis’ teenage niece. As Henry ended up confessing to hundreds (if not thousands) of murders, it is safe to say that everything that he said was rather suspect. What wasn’t though is that he and Ottis had no qualms about killing people. Anyway, Henry grows up harshly (honestly, it seems, the son of a prostitute mother and a legless father), kills his mother, kills a bunch of other people, befriends the cretinous weirdo Ottis, hooks up with Ottis’ niece, kills more people and then ends up dying in prison, having his death sentance (being rather famously the ONLY death sentance) commuted by Gov. George W Bush (can that man really do absolutely no right?).

The movie takes place primarily in the apartment that they share and in the dark streets around it. There are scenes of potentially great violence, but most of it is kept offscreen and there are lots of flashbacks of violence… Leaving it to be graphically violent without really showing much in the way of graphic violence. It has a very “low-budget/Indie” feel to it and the characters range between tiring (Ottis), irritating (Becky) and boring (Henry). But I guess that after all of these years it is good to have finally seen it! I won’t have to bother again.

Back to the good stuff though! The aforementioned sample (which is better as a sample in a song than as dialogue in a movie) :

One night, it was my 14th birthday. She was drunk, and we had an argument… She hit me with a whiskey bottle… I shot her… I shot her dead.

I thought you said you stabbed her?

Oh yeah…

And the song Shit House, is one of the best tracks on God and Texas’ awesome (though not as awesome as the three albums that followed) debut album, Industry Standard.

God and Texas Industry Standard



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