Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

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!

Subscribe so you don’t miss our upcoming episodes on serial killer horror films!

There is lots more of our podcast, please listen, review, subscribe, and tell your friends!


Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (McNaughton 1986) – please watch the film before listening!
I Spit on Your Grave (Zarchi 1978)
Funny Games (Haneke 1997)
The Devil’s Rejects (Zombie 2005)

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

Related Episodes
The House That Jack Built (von Trier 2018)
Martin (Romero 1978)
Funny Games (Haneke 1997)
The Comedian (Harris 2019)


Edited and processed with Audacity. Free, cross-platform, open source, and awesome.

We would very much appreciate any contributions to help offset the cost of producing the podcast. Thanks! paypal.me/collectivenightmares

Thanks for listening. Please let us know your thoughts.

• www.collectivenightmares.com
• IG: @collectivenightmares
• T: @collectnight

“Horror films are our collective nightmares.”

Episode 87

horror, podcast, sociology, empathy, punishment, gender, rape, nuance, gray area, realistic argument, atonement, violence against women, penance, regret, justice, vigilantism, vigilante, boys club, men, coercion, mise en scene, production design, serial killer, sociopath, unflinching, masochistic viewing, rape, sexual assault, meta, point of view, POV, film within the film, serial killer, navel gazing, exploitation, sound design, the unseen, first film, John McNaughton, human smoke, glamorizing depravity, Rob Zombie, hegemonic masculinity, Goffman, Connell, culture, glamorizing killers, Natural Born Killers, The Devil’s Rejects, Freud,