Becoming What We Are: Reflections on ‘Angst’ and ‘Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer’

Grindhouse Theology

LikeAngst(1983),John McNaughton’s Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killeropens as the titular character is released from prison. And likeAngst, it follows the ex-con as he attempts to navigate a world that does not, and cannot, have a place for him.

I remember seeingHenryfor the first time. I was probably fifteen. It came on IFC around three in the morning – I didn’t often sleep in those days. As the credits began to roll, I couldn’t move, or speak, or breathe. I had seen something, which I could not unsee, and the likes of which I suspected I would never see again.

Its final images, still, are among the most haunting I have laid eyes on. And, yes, I have seen whichever French movie you are now picturing in your mind that supposedly one-upsHenry‘s ‘disturbing factor’.It is not a particularly bloody film, especially…

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