HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER
1986, Greycat Films, 83 min, USA, Dir: John McNaughton

This disturbing, low-budget indie, loosely based on the story of real-life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, delivers exactly what its title promises. Brilliantly played by Michael Rooker, Henry is an ex-con living in a Chicago apartment with Otis, a gas station attendant he met in prison. In Henry’s day job he’s a part-time exterminator, but killing is also his hobby - one Otis soon comes to share in a series of gruesome slayings. When Otis’ sister Becky comes to live with them, she and Henry share a mutual attraction, but can any human being survive contact with this cold-blooded killer? The film landed on numerous year-end best lists upon its release, with writer-director McNaughton’s matter-of-fact style and sure hand with performers (many of them nonprofessional) drawing deserved comparisons to Cassavetes. “One of the 20 scariest movies of all time.” - Entertainment Weekly.


KING OF KINGS
1961, Warner Bros., 168 min, USA, Dir: Nicholas Ray

Director Nicholas Ray and epic producer Samuel Bronston seemed an odd couple, but the pair made this reverent, straightforward portrait of the life of Christ work on its own terms. Filled with moving performances by Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus, a potent, often mysterious messiah, and Robert Ryan as John the Baptist, with support from Siobhan McKenna, Rip Torn, Royal Dano, Harry Guardino, Viveca Lindfors and others. Meticulous and spectacular production design augments the realism, while Orson Welles’ narration adds storybook charm. Originally played at the Egyptian Theatre!


'ROUND MIDNIGHT
1986, Warner Bros., 133 min, Dir: Bertrand Tavernier

Jazz legend Dexter Gordon gives the performance of a lifetime as saxophone player Dale Turner, a talented musician whose alcoholism and alienation are getting the best of him in 1950s New York. When Dale is invited to play at a club in Paris, he enjoys a few precious moments of freedom from racism, and a moving if brief relationship with his young daughter and an enthusiastic local fan.


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