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Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer Blu-ray Review


“Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer” is a frightening serial killer character study.

The story: Henry is a serial killer who will prey upon anyone (including his own mother). There’s no method to his madness other than the fact that he kills in varying ways to throw off the police. He also never stays in one place too long to avoid the police. In the film, Henry makes his way to Chicago where he rooms with a former prison mate/friend named Otis and his sister Becky. Most of the film does not have a traditional story as it merely follows Henry on his murderous exploits and his blossoming romance with Becky. Note: The story is loosely based on real people and events.

The 1986 “Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer” (which was officially released in 1990) is easily one of the most disturbing films ever made, but it’s also one of the best films about a serial killer ever made. What makes the movie so effective is that it is so radically different from other films about serial killers. Normally, there would be a story focusing on a Detective going after a serial killer or what not, but ‘Henry’ takes a different route by showing the world through his psychotic eyes as he kills. It’s grimey, raw, gritty, dark, extremely violent, horrifying and tough to watch, but that’s the point. It’s meant to be an up-close-and-personal look at a killer that feels realistic and it is just that.

Before Michael Rooker became a national star for his work in “The Walking Dead” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” he starred in this film as the titular character. To this day it remains his best work (which is saying a lot). As Henry, Rooker gives such a believable, unnerving and transformative performance. He disappears into the role so much that it barely seems like he is acting. He truly makes the film so haunting and memorable.


Presentation: 1.33:1 1080p. How does it look? For this 30th anniversary release, the film has been restored restored and, for the most part, the transfer is very good.  The film has always been intentionally very grainy to give it that gritty feel, but the restoration does clean it up quite a bit. The exterior scenes are a marked improvement.

Audio Tracks: 5.1 DTS-HD MA and a 2.0 Lossless Stereo. How do they sound? The film has minimal sound, but the tracks do the job.

* A booklet featuring credits and an essay by author Stephen Thrower.
* An original trailer and a 204th anniversary trailer for “Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer.”
* Still gallery and storyboards.
* Narrated deleted scenes and outtakes
* A 1998 interview with John McNaughton and another interview with McNaughton titled “In The Round: A Conversation With John McNaughton.”
* “Portrait: The Making Of Henry” An old school making of documentary that contains cast and crew interviews, film clips, and discussions about the film and its production.
* “In Defense Of Henry: An Appreciation”- Celebrity fans talk about their admiration for the film.
* “Henry Vs. MPAA: A Visual History”- A featurette about the MPAA and Henry’s film rating problems.

* “Henry At The BBFC: An Interview With Nightmare USA Author Stephen Thrower”- The author talks about ‘Henry,’ the UK, censorship, etc.
* “It’s Either You or Them: An Interview With Artist Joe Coleman”- Joe talks about how he discovered ‘Henry’ and his love of the film.
* An informative commentary by John McNaughton and moderator David Gregory.

Overall Thoughts: “Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer” is a screwed up movie that many people would not be able to handle. However, if you are a fan of horror films or serial killer stories, seek this one out.


December 7, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

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