Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (McNaughton 1986)
Serial killer? I hardly know her!
Gallows humor aside, this episode begins a new mini-series on serial killer horror films. And wow, what a beginning! While we both were aware of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (McNaughton) as a cult classic, we did not fully appreciate the astounding contributions this film makes to the culture, to horror films, and to understanding America’s obsession with serial killers. This is a film that actually approaches the level of our most regarded modern horror film that we use as the yardstick by which to measure all others: Martyrs (Laugier 2008). If you have passed over this film before, now is the perfect time to watch it! Then join us for our longest episode yet!
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SPOILERS IN THIS EPISODE
TOPIC INDEX – TOPIC INDEX – Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (McNaughton 1986) (times are approximate)
0:30 – Introductions
2:00 – thus begins a mini-series on serial killers
3:20 – spoilers
5:40 – Movie discussion begins
5:45 – overall impressions
9:30 – emotional experience of the film
13:30 – exploitation and who are we as viewers
16:00 – glorifying Henry?
20:00 – shifting perspective and reprimands
23:00 – continuum of empathy
28:30 – compared to The House That Jack Built SPOILERS
36:40 – exploitative?
44:30 – overarching message of the film also serial killer navel gazing
46:15 – gender
48:00 – emotional experience of the film
53:45 – could the film have been more responsible?
58:00 – how the film reprimands
1:03:30 – punishing interest in serial killers
1:09:30 – denial of empathy with Henry
1:12:10 – message of the film
1:17:30 – sociopaths and narcissists
1:21:30 – why does Henry do nice things?
1:27:50 – Henry and Freudian sexuality
1:30:50 – Otis and Freud
1:33:00 – sound design
1:35:00 – trivia
1:38:00 – Grading the film using the Collective Nightmares Evolving Rubric of Social Responsibility
1:42:00 – depiction of violence compared to moral messaging
1:49:30 – serial killers and hegemonic masculinity
The House That Jack Built (von Trier 2018)
Martin (Romero 1978)
Funny Games (Haneke 1997)
The Comedian (Harris 2019)
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“Horror films are our collective nightmares.”
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