Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is one of those movies that is outwardly deceiving. At first glance, one would assume that this is little more than a low-budget '80s B-Movie slasher, with little substance or purpose other than to shock. However, as you move deeper into the film this misconception melts away into one of absorbed horror; almost like watching a train crash. It's a brutal, uneasy watch but one with truly frightening implications. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, despite its mediocre production value, does the very best with what it has at hand.
Nominated for no less than eight Academy Awards without winning a single one, it is undoubted that O'Toole stands alongside the ilk of actors wrongly snubbed for a lifetime of outstanding performances. Like Burton, Harris and Sharif, O'Toole set the bar in the 1960s for the next generation of actors.
Anyone who knows me knows I am a massively unashamed Brad Pitt fan. Not only because he's something of an Adonis, but also because he is a strikingly good actor. Don't get it twisted: he's not just a beautiful face. In fact, he recently collected his first acting Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in February of this year, an accolade which was, admittedly, long overdue. Having followed Pitt's career since my early teens, I wanted to celebrate his win by compiling a list of ten of his best roles, from 'Kalifornia' to 'Ad Astra'.
Set during the uncertain times of pastoral early eighteenth century England, this period piece is folk horror at its finest. Often grouped in the same vein as 'The Wicker Man' (1973) and 'Witchfinder General' (1968), 'The Blood on Satan's Claw' packs a particularly memorable punch for those who have seen it. And its seeds of eeriness have been sewn in recent horror creations, such as 'A Field in England' (2013) and 'The VVitch' (2015). Despite this, 'The Blood on Satan's Claw' exists primarily these days as a movie dwelling mostly in cult status, with few testaments to its hidden brilliance. This is unfortunate, because, against the unfavourable odds of its low budget and aging special effects, 'TBOSC' is one of the few horror films to have truly unnerved me as of late.
Mimicked just a few years ago by Massive Attack in their video for 'Voodoo in my Blood', which starred a brilliant but frantic Rosamund Pike undergoing a Satanic attack in a subway, 'Possession' is a film that exists without a great buzz. This is a shame, because it is as deserving of as much praise as any blockbuster horror we've grown to revere nowadays, and contains one of the greatest onscreen performances, I personally, have ever witnessed.
It's safe to say that 2019 was a year in the film industry that belonged to Laura Dern. Starring in two of the most highly-praised films of the year, Dern proved to the world why she continues to be a titan in the acting business and schooling the children in how best to represent strong female characters onscreen. Winning an Oscar on her birthday for her portrayal of no-bullshit lawyer Nora Fanshaw in Noah Baumbach's moving flick 'Marriage Story', Dern's academy award success was deserved, but long overdue.