After drifter Henry Lee Lucas is arrested in 1983 for unlawfully possessing a firearm, he confesses to the murder of an elderly woman in a bid to get his treatment in police custody improved. More confessions follows – around 3000 – resulting in a journey from state to state under the watchful eye of a couple of Texas Rangers. But how can anyone tell truth from lie from a man as damaged as Henry Lee?
Director Feifer (who has made a career out of serial killer biopics and helmed the late Brittany Murphy’s final film, Abandoned) stops himself from overly dramatising Henry Lee’s life (1986’s Henry: A Portrait of a Serial Killer was a fictional account of the Lucas legend) and tries to stick with the facts.
But the director can’t help using a bludgeon to recount Henry Lee’s traumatised childhood at the hands of his abusive, alcoholic mother who he ends up killing (quite rightly so given the pain she inflicts on him); and Lucas’ years drifting through the Southwestern states with his necrophile confidante Ottis Toole (Kostas Sommer), raping and killing young hitchhikers along the way.
Sick, slick and perversely entertaining, true crime fans will lap this release up, while those looking for something more cerebral should look elsewhere.