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Palgrave Macmillan

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

ISBN 9780230297982
Publication Date September 2011
Formats Paperback Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Controversies

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) is precisely that: a cold-eyed character study based on the crimes of Henry Lee Lucas, who was convicted of eleven murders in the 1980s. Director John McNaughton presents an unflinching portrayal of the semi-fictional Henry's crimes. The film proved immensely controversial, notably in the UK, where it confounded the British Board of Film Classification, which went so far as to re-edit a crucial scene, in addition to cutting others.

Shaun Kimber's examination of the controversies surrounding Henry considers the history and implications of censors' decisions about the film on both sides of the Atlantic. Taking account of the views of audiences, critics and academics, both at the time the film was released and in the years since, Kimber also looks at the changing political, social and economic contexts within which the film was produced and has subsequently circulated. Henry continues to represent a key film within the horror genre, the history of censorship, and the study of film violence. Kimber's account of the film's production and its fortunes in the marketplace provides a fascinating case study of film censorship in action, and offers a sustained and wide-ranging analysis of what remains one of the most disturbing films ever made.

'An excellent in-depth analysis… Kimber effectively combines close readings of key scenes with detailed consideration of the history of different versions of Henry and its various engagements with critics, supporters and regulatory authorities.'
Geoff King, Brunel University

Shaun Kimber is a Senior Lecturer in the Media School at Bournemouth University.

SHAUN KIMBER is a Senior Lecturer in the Media School at Bournemouth University, UK. 

Contents
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Synopsis 
PART I: HENRY PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER THEN
Development
Pre-Production
Production
Post-Production
US Distribution
US Film Classification
US Theatrical & Video Distribution
US Critical Reception
PART II: HENRY PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER SINCE THEN
UK Film Classification
UK Critical Reception of 1991 Theatrical Release
UK 1993 Video Release
US Directors edition 1998
UK 2001 DVD Release
UK 2003 DVD and Theatrical Releases
US 20TH Anniversary Special Edition & Blu-ray Releases 
PART III: KEY THEMES AND IDEAS
Introduction
Context
Text
Audience
PART IV: KEY SCENE ANALYSIS
Introduction
The Third Tableaux
Lets Go Shopping
Home Invasion
PART V: THE LEGACY OF HENRY PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER
Modelling Controversy
Henry's Legacy
APPENDICES
Appendix A: Key Details
Appendix B: List of References
Endnotes 

Reviews

'An excellent in-depth analysis… Kimber effectively combines close readings of key scenes with detailed consideration of the history of different versions of Henry and its various engagements with critics, supporters and regulatory authorities.'- Geoff King, Brunel University, UK
'It left me with that same cold and sordid feeling I felt when I first viewed the film...an interesting academic study.' - Chris Hick, Filmwerk
'For anyone interested in low budget indie film production, and the history of film censorship, it's a fascinating read.' - David Flint, strangethingsarehappening.com
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