07/02/2015  
Goodbye to All That on DVD Jul 14My Little Pony - Friendship Is Magic: Cutie Mark Quests on DVD Jun 30First Peoples on DVD Jul 7Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 on Digital Jun 30 & Blu-ray Combo Jul 14Tough Being Loved By Jerks on DVD Jun 9Turbo Fast: Season One on DVD June 2Inside the Court of Henry VIII on DVD Jun 16

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

'Star Trek 3' Title Revealed by Director Justin Lin: Ta...
Mexico Won't Be Sending Anyone To Miss Universe Pageant...
Goodbye to All That on DVD Jul 14...
Cosby lawyer: Unsealing court docs 'terribly embarrassi...
Disney bans selfie sticks at all theme parks, including...
Jimmy Fallon hospitalized after hand injury...
Photos From New Episodes of "The X-Files"...
Apple's decision to pay artists a win for indies, Taylo...
My Little Pony - Friendship Is Magic: Cutie Mark Quests...
Watch The Stars of 'True Detective' Make Shocking Confe...



Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Dark Sky Films presents
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (20th Anniversary Edition) (1986)

"It's always the same and it's always different."
- Henry (Michael Rooker)

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: September 26, 2005

Stars: Michael Rooker
Other Stars: Tom Towles, Tracy Arnold, Mary Demas, David Katz, Anne Bartoletti
Director: John McNaughton

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (sexually explicit material, graphic violence, drug use)
Run Time: 01h:22m:14s
Release Date: September 27, 2005
UPC: 030306770093
Genre: crime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- A-BB B+

DVD Review

Hard to believe it's been 20 years for this one, but it has for this coarse and horrifying look at a week in the life of an unadulterated sociopath (Michael Rooker), whose character of Henry is loosely based on real-life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. Directed with a fly-on-the-wall presence by John McNaughton (Wild Things), Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is a low-budget film (and it often looks it), but this is one of those films where that starkness and minimalism only serves to make the storytelling somehow more effectively disturbing.

It takes a lot for a film to completely rattle me, and this one does just that. It is wholly unnerving and frightening, and no less of an emotional bellypunch today than it was 20 years ago. Rooker is a mumbly, blank slate of pure evil, a drifter of an ex-con who moves in with Otis (Tom Towles), eventually drawing him into his string of random killings, and finding a doomed romance with Otis' soft-headed sister Becky (Tracy Arnold). There isn't so much a story as there are tendrils that connect the violence, because that is what drives Henry. There's a deep rage that propels him, and McNaughton just tries to capture it without explaining or needing to justify it. It just is.

One of the criticisms often leveled at this film is its frank depiction of brutality and the seemingly randomness of the plot structure. Henry kills. Often, easily and with no trace of remorse. Candycoating or softening the hard edges would have ended up making this like so many other films that look away when the ugly parts happen, or rationalizing the actions with a pat ending meant to reassure audiences. McNaughton doesn't pull back, and he doesn't avoid developing scenes that are staggeringly cruel.

I'm not sure what the redeeming values of a film like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer really are, or if it even has any or needs to have any, for that matter. With that said, I think this is a raw piece of filmmaking, because it gets under your skin in ways that so few films can, and it is hard to shake the disease when it's over. There are no happy endings (or happy beginnings or middles) in a story like this, and like real life, what unfolds is often senselessly harsh and terrifying.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Originally shot on 16mm, McNaughton's film gets a facelift here, with a new transfer that has been majorly cleaned up. There is a fair amount of grain, especially during night scenes, but on the plus side color reproduction gives a natural hue to fleshtones and all that red blood.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is provided in 2.0 stereo, and it delivers a clean, distortion free mix with little in the way of theatrics. Rooker is a little mumbly, and his voice is always audible.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Henry: Portait of a Serial Killer 2, The Manson Family
15 Deleted Scenes
3 Documentaries
Storyboard
1 Feature/Episode commentary by John McNaughton, David Gregory
Packaging: Scanavo
Picture Disc
2 Discs
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: For this 2-disc set, MPI has included an admirable set of supplemental material, beginning with a commentary track from director John McNaughton, along with moderator David Gregory. The track is properly serious, with McNaughton discussing everything from the scoring to the story development in a well-structured and detailed track.

Disc one concludes with a Stills Gallery and a couple of trailers, including one for the feature and its ill-fated sequel.

Disc Two kicks off with Portrait: The Making of Henry (52m:32s) an anamorphic widescreen doc where Michael Rooker grimly states "you cannot bring this shit home with you". A lot of the same material covered on McNaughton's commentary gets addressed here, but with a wider range of participants covering all ranges of the production. It's clear this was not an easy film to be part of, emotionally.
The Serial Killers: Henry Lee Lucas (26m:18s) is an installment of the Serial Killers series, this time focusing on the real-life inspiration for McNaughton's film. And yes, it's scary as hell. Digging deeper there's a set of storyboards, and also 15 Deleted Scenes (21m:01s) presented with no audio, but with John McNaughton and David Gregory offering comments as to why things were cut and why. Lastly, a reversible cover is included, with one side featuring the poster art with Rooker, and the other featuring a drawing.

The feature is cut into 14 chapters.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

It's difficult to heartily recommend this film because it is so brutally intense and disturbing. It is quite powerful as well, but a journey not really right for all.

MPI has put together a solid two-disc set commemorating the film's 20th anniversary, and if your psyche is strong enough, I give this my sincere but cautious highest recommendation.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

movie, sci-fy, star trek, justin lin, j.j. abrams, star trek beyond, zoe soldana, chris pine, celebrity, donald trump, republican presidential candidate, nbc, televisa, ora tv, lupita jones, carlos slim, larry king, drama, bill cosby, sex-assault lawsuit, associated press, george m. gowen iii, disneyland, disney california adventure, selfie sticks banned, california screaming, coachella, lollapalooza, television, jimmy fallon, tonight show, hand injury, x files, david duchovny, gillian anderson, fox, january 24, 2016, music, apple music, allen kovac, motley crue, taylor swift, elvis costello, calvin harris, animation, kids, the tonight show, colin ferrell, vince vaughn, true detective, hbo, nbc nightly news, brian williams, anchor, matt lauer, today, msnbc, lester holt, mark feldstein, inside out, pixar, mindy-disgust, amy poehler-joy, phyllis smith-sadness, fear-bill hader, anger-lewis black., nbc evening news, cnn, robert barnett, daytime soap oprah, general hospital, genie francis, anthony geary, foo fighters, cancellations, wembley stadium, murrayfield, dave grohl, sci-fi, adventure action, avengers: age of ultron, spectre, star wars, cbs, big brother, julie chen, wwe wrestler, professional poker player, a poker dealer, a dentist, and a few college students, documentary, mission: impossible - rogue nation, tom cruise, pixels, adam sandler, ted 2, mark wahlberg, terminator genisys, arnold schwarzenegger, doctor strange, chiwetel ejiofor, benedict cumberbatch, tilda swinton, nightly news, the today show, dateline nbc, duck dynasty, jep robertson, jessica, the good, the bad, and the grace of god: what honesty and pain taught us about faith, family, and forgiveness, good morning america, beyonce, marco gorges, comedy, bridge of spies, tom hanks, steven spielberg, matt carman, coen brothers, spy thriller, true events, mission:impossible rogue nation, christopher mcquarrie, kirk krack, rebecca ferguson, lifetime, deadly adoption, kristen wiig, will ferrell, fantastic beasts and where to find them, eddie redmayne. the theory of everything, louis xiii genius award, critics choice television award, seth mcfarlane, a&e networkfa, family guy

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store