Essay on Henry Lee Lucas

Submitted By hv739401
Words: 1328
Pages: 6

Hannah Velez
FLM 400
March 12, 2014

Henry Lee Lucas

Henry Lee Lucas, also known as “The Confession Killer,” was born in August 1936 and died in prison in 2001 of heart complications. He is well known as the man who confessed to hundreds upon hundreds of murders, even though evidence only links him to two: the murder of his mother when he was 24-years-old and of Kate Rich, an elderly woman for whom he used to work. Henry’s wild confessions fell at the center of much controversy, engaging law enforcement across the nation trying to corroborate his stories to close cold cases dating back decades. While he was still in prison, a series of films were made about him, including a movie entitled Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. This film is about the portion of his life when he became involved with Ottis Toole as his more-than-willing accomplice in a crime spree consisting of a series of robberies and murders. There was also a documentary made in 1995 entitled Henry Lee Lucas; The Confession Killer as part of a TV series called The Serial Killers that documented his life from his childhood through his time in prison. While Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer took some cinematic liberties in its portrayal of Henry, when compared to the facts in the documentary, this Hollywood interpretation is a fairly accurate representation of the lifestyle and mindset of Henry Lee Lucas. To say that Henry had a damaging childhood would be an understatement, and both the documentary and movie explained this well. Henry was one of nine children and was born into a destitute family in a house with a dirt floor. His father Anderson was a drunk, but provided any and all of the support Henry ever got as a child. Nicknamed “No Leg Lucas” after a train accident left him without legs, his father was unable to work which meant that his mother was to be the sole provider for the family. His mother, Viola, made a living by prostituting herself out to members of the community. When she brought a client back to her home, she would force Henry to watch her engage in various sexual acts from a very young age. As another form of sadistic torture, Viola would regularly dress Henry up as a girl and curl his hair and send him to school that way, obviously leading to horrific ridicule at the hands of his classmates. Many years later, when Henry was in his 20’s, he got into an argument with his mother and ended up stabbing her to death. In the movie, Henry relayed this depressing tale in person to Becky as they traded sordid stories about their depraved childhoods. Another important similarity between the two films is when Henry explains to Ottis the importance of varying one’s M.O. in order to mislead the police. Henry says how using the same killing method becomes a signature and that can be used to track someone down, as well as staying put after committing a murder. To avoid being caught, Henry and Ottis would use guns, knives, strangulation, even hit-and-runs to kill their victims, and they moved all throughout the country. Both the movie and the documentary also portray the relationships that Henry had with Ottis Toole and with Becky. Ottis and Henry were friends that became partners in crime, breaking the law and wreaking havoc in tandem without any regard or remorse. In Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Becky was introduced to the audience as Ottis’s sister, but in real life she was his niece. Regardless of the specific blood connection between Becky and Ottis, Becky and Henry were, indeed, intimately involved. One of the differences between the two films is Becky’s age and “lot in life.” In the movie, Becky was a single mother in her 20’s. She was a former exotic dancer who had just gotten out of an abusive relationship and was looking for the chance to start over when she met Henry. In the documentary, Becky was a child. When she and Henry met she was only twelve years old, but that did not stop them from entering into a…