Tracing the Real-Life Inspirations Behind Classic Horror Movies

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

In the chilling Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Michael Rooker plays a cold, heartless, and not the least bit remorseful killer. He's a softie compared to the real-life maniac from which he derives.

Calling Henry Lee Lucas a "hypocrite" is just about the nicest thing one could ever say about the psychopathic Virginian. At one point, after being arrested, Lucas wrote a letter that stated "I am not a serial killer," but, in all, he confessed to around 600 murders, bringing the nickname "The Confession Killer" upon himself.

A victim of abuse, Lucas, during his childhood, spent three days in a coma after his mother beat him with a wooden plank. This was a change from her normal behavior: making him watch her have sex with men. She even dressed him up as a girl, and, as reports state, beat him up for accepting a teddy bear from a grade school teacher.

On January 11, 1960, Lucas killed his mother by crushing her neck with broom. After serving 10 years in jail for that, he—per his own accounts—teamed up with friend Ottis Toole and went on a cross-country killing spree. Although only three victims have been directly pegged to Lucas' hand, his claims of about 200 times that have earned Lucas one of pop culture's more notorious serial killer reputations.

And he certainly had no problems with increasing his profile. Although later considered to be bullshit, Lucas' confessions grew increasingly ridiculous before his 2001 passing. Amongst other claims, he told authorities that he killed Jimmy Hoffa and also hand-delivered poison to Jim Jones for the cult leader's Jonestown mass suicide.

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