05/02/2016  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

On 'Formation' World Tour, Beyonce Through 'Lemonade'-...
Nyle DiMarco's attitude on DWTS is annoying everyone ex...
Ripa's return to 'Live!' is all smiles following Straha...
10 Juicy Lyrics From Beyonce's New Lemonade Album That ...
Prince's last days: What we know ...
Jason Bourne Trailer and Poster Released!...
Why I quit 'Game of Thrones'...
Stephen Colbert teaches Hillary Clinton the proper way ...
'Jungle Book' ensures it: Parade of Disney-classic rema...
Captain America: Civil War reactions ...





Microsoft Store

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

music, beyonce, crazy in love, lemonade, sorry, donÕt hurt yourself, daddy lessons, television, dancing with the stars, nyle dimarco, bruno tonioli, carrie ann inaba, len goodman, live! with kelly and michael, kelly ripa michael strahan, beyoncˇ, jay z, rachel roy, cheating, prince, little red corvette, purple rain, linus and lucy, movie, the bourne supremacy, the bourne ultimatum, matt damon, alicia vikander, vincent cassel, tommy lee jones, julia stiles, paul greengrass, hbo, game of thrones, sansa, ramsay bolton, theron greyjoy, reek, petyr baelish, cersei, jaime, stephen colbert, hillary clinton, carnegie deli, the late show with stepen colbert, jungle book, disney, neel sethi, bill murray, rudyard kipling, captain america: civil war, captain america, iron man, black panther, scarlet witch, the jungle book, virtual productions, avatar, gravity, jon favreau, fantasy, james cameron, avatar sequels, avatar 2, christmas 2018, movies, tribeca film festival, the first monday in may, andrew rossi, justin bieber, anna wintour, met gala, 38 interactive and virtual-reality exhibits, the bomb, the meddler, j.j. abrams, chris rock, tom hanks, john oliver, elvis & nixon, mtv movie awards, dwayne johnson, kevin hart, warner bros. studios, will smith, suicide squad, jared leto, margot robbie, cara delevingne, kiss, freedom to rock, 35 date tour, july 7, caleb johnson, dead daisies, kiss online, merle haggard, died, okie from muskogee, sing me back, mama tried, the bakersfield sound, country music. willie nelson, waylon jennings, gram parsons, eric church, hungry eyes, jimmy fallon, melissa mccarthy, the boss, brand new key, x gonna give it to ya, miles ahead, don cheadle, miles davis, rock and roll hall of fame, ewan mcgregor, michael stuhbarg, lakeith lee stanfield, house of lies, finding dory, ellen degeneres, finding nemo, albert brooks, hayden rolence, animation, celebrity, robert de niro, vaxxed, dr. william schaffner, vanderbilt university medical school, autism, cannes film festival, woody allen, cafe society, kristen stewart, blake lively, reality, the voice, alicia keys, miley cyrus, blake shelton, adam levine, marvel, georgia, gov. nathan deal, anti-gay, chad griffin, lollapalooza, chicago, red hot chili peppers, radiohead, lana del rey, ellie goulding, major lazer, dance competion, jodie sweetin, kim fields, sasha farber, paige van zandt, erin andrews, ariana grande, dangerous woman, a cappella, sxsw, drake, fader fort, know yourself, legend, energy, jumpman, hulk hogan, gawker, sex tape, florida jury, $15 million, melissa rauch, the big bang theory, the bronze, captain america: winter soldier star sebastian stan

On Facebook!
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