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Henry Grant is a Brownstone Bar regular who aids reporter Gino Barelli in his investigation. He is a character in American Horror Story: NYC portrayed by Denis O'Hare. For his services to the mobsters he is known as Velvet Touch. [2]


Background[]

Henry was a runaway from Wyoming who moved to New York City when he was thirteen-years-old. Between the hitchhiking and the Trail-ways, men tried to murder him three times. Another one tried to kill him an hour after he crossed the GW into Manhattan. Over the years, he lost friends, acquaintances and lovers to men's violence. [3]

In 1979, Henry and an associate helped a pair of lovers to dispose of a corpse on Fire Island for $1,000.[4]

Story[]

Henry is approached by Gino Barelli, a journalist from The Downtown Native while enjoying a drink at his usual table at the Brownstone Bar. The reporter is interested in a recent series of murders targeting gay men. Henry agrees to talk to him, and reveals that two doors down from the Brownstone, there is a bar called "The Hole" where they employ an un paid young man to be sexually abused 24 hours a day. According to Henry, such places draw the darkness in, and predators are thriving in decadence and excess. Henry also reveals that a man matching Barelli's wanted man fits a regular patron. He seems to favour customers who drink Mai Tais and looks hopeless. Since Henry does not want to be next, he forbids Barelli to use his name in the article.[5]

At the Brownstone Bar, Barelli presents a flyer to Henry. He recognizes the man depicted on it. He slithered in just last night but, to Barelli's shock, Henry didn't call the police. He reveals some of his backstory to Gino, and if he had tried to find out what had happened to all the friends and lovers who had been murdered over the years, Henry said, he would not be alive to tell about it. Gino loses his patience and tells Henry about his abduction but Henry denies any involvement in spiking the Mai Tai he bought to Gino. [3]

Henry meets with Angelo DeMarco to discuss dissatisfaction within the police and mobsters caused by articles in the Native. They are to kill Gino Barelli. Henry breaks into the flat for this purpose, but changes his mind when he learns of a body found on Fire Island. The two go to the location, where Gino learns what happened in 1797; Henry helped Sam and Patrick dispose of a body. Patrick recognizes the cuts on the bones as identical to those of the Mai Tai Killer's victims, and the men decide to set a trap for Mr Whitely, an associate of Henry's. However, the plan fails when Whitely overpowers and narcotizes Henry and then loads him into a car.[4]

Tortured by Whitely, Henry looses his left ear. Tied to a slab with Gino, Henry is assailed with guilt for not stopping Whitely sooner. To free himself and avenge the community he feels he let down, Henry dislocates one hand but is forced to saw off the other to free himself from the handcuffs. Armed with a cleaver, along with Gino armed with a chainsaw they catch Whitely by surprise. As the man rambles about his reasoning for the crimes, they free Patrick who shots him. [6]

Henry follows Gino and Patrick to Fire Island, where he declares his love to the reporter but is rejected. Henry insists that Gino and Patrick are alive only because of his intercession to the mobsters, but to no avail. Moping over his status, Gino chats with Sam who urges him to enjoy life and promises him that he will get him someone aroused by his impairments. Henry meets with Sam in the woods, where he is offered Theo's unconscious body. Henry feels attraction for the handsome young man, but eventually he is unable to abuse him. [7]

Henry appears dressed as a leather cop in a hallucination of Sam during his hospital stay due to complications from AIDS. He puts Sam in a cage and forces him to watch Big Daddy torture his father and his first boss from Wall Street; men whose approval Sam craved. Henry asserts that Sam has gone from a soul in pain to a torturer, losing himself in his suffering. Henry, dressed in light linen, advises Sam to stop running because Big Daddy – a manifestation of the virus – cannot be overrun, only transcended. Henry then scatters Sam's ashes in the ocean. [8]

Personality and Appearance[]

Henry comes across as an affable barfly willing to gossip over drinks at the Brownstone Bar. Behind the facade of a harmless old gay man, however, is a killer for hire. He goes by the name of Velvet Touch because of his clean style in getting rid of problems, but detests the word 'hitman', considering it gauche. [4] By his own admission, Henry saw the worst side of being human and found the means to survive in an adverse and systematically homophobic society. [3] Henry is aware of a recent social change with violence and excess thriving in places that seem to attract darkness. This hardened him, turning a mild criticism on younger generations incapable of self-preservation. [5]

Henry is a middle-aged man standing 5' 8" tall. He wears elegant velvet suits in warm dark colors such as burgundy and fine silk scarves knotted loosely across his chest. His white hair is combed back in a coiffed hairstyle. Following his abduction from Whitely, Henry lost his left ear and hand; the latter he willingly cut off as a sacrifice to free and redeem himself.

Quotes[]

  • To Gino: "My Finis are to die for! The best in town."
  • Henry: "Predators thrive on decadence and excess."
  • Henry: "Now I enjoy a plump rump as well as the next man, but how can the darkness not feel welcome in an establishment like that?"
  • Henry: "Hello, 911. This is the Brownstone. There's a man trying to pick up another man. Call Kojak and the Mod Squad."

Notes[]

  • He is the eighth character portrayed by Denis O'Hare in American Horror Story. For a complete list of his characters, see Cast.
  • Henry's last name was confirmed by Denis O'Hare during an interview. [2]

Gallery[]

Promotional Images
Screencaps

References[]

  1. In Requiem 1981/1987 Part 1, Henry appears in Sam's hallucination.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Denis O'Hare talks 'American Horror Story - NYC'
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Episode: Smoke Signals
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Episode: The Body
  5. 5.0 5.1 Episode: Something's Coming
  6. Episode: The Sentinel
  7. Episode: Fire Island
  8. Episode: Requiem 1981 & 1987


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