Blu-ray Review – Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Henry looking in the mirror

As a society, we seem to be fascinated by the concept of a serial killer. There appears to be some innate need to try and understand the rationale behind their actions and a constant debate over whether the blame can be attributed to nature or nurture. This has gradually seeped into popular culture and the mainstream, spurred by an explosion of true crime literature, films and TV series.  Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer caused a stir back in 1986 and remains one of the best films on the subject.

After being released from prison, the taciturn Henry (Michael Rooker) stays with Otis (Tom Towles), a petty criminal who he met in prison, for a spell. He notches up a string of victims along the way. On arrival, he discovers that his friend’s younger sister, Becky (Tracy Arnold), is staying there temporarily as well. Escaping a bad situation. She immediately attracted to him. While holding down a job, he continues his killing spree. Inducting his friend into the crimes.

Based on the (mostly discredited) confessions of Henry Lee Lucas, Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer is a relentlessly creepy study in evil. While John McNaughton’s film doesn’t linger too much on the killings themselves, it can be a difficult watch at times. The focus is clearly on the titular criminal. Observing without trying to explain, which makes it all the more chilling. Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer is a crime film which will get under your skin and stay there.

4K Ultra HD Limited Edition Contents:

  • Brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negatives, approved by John McNaughton
  • 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in HDR10.
  • Original 2.0 stereo mix and 5.1 DTS-HD Master audio
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Eric Adrian Lee
  • Limited edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing by Shaun Kimber, Peter Vronsky, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Julian Petley
  • Booklet containing the original storyboards for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
  • Double-sided fold-out poster
  • Six collector’s postcards (Limited Edition exclusive)

Disc One – Features & Extras (4K Ultra HD):

  • Brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negatives
  • 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in HDR10.
  • Brand new audio commentary by John McNaughton & Steven A. Jones
  • Two archive commentaries by John McNaughton
  • Scene specific commentaries with John McNaughton and critic Nigel Floyd
  • Deleted scenes and outtakes
  • Original script
  • Original theatrical and 30th anniversary trailers
  • Image gallery

Disc Two – Bonus Disc (Blu-ray):

  • Portrait: The Making of Henry, a 50-minute behind-the-scenes documentary
  • In Defense of Henry, an appreciation by Joe Swanberg, Kim Morgan, Jeffrey Sconce, Joe Bob Briggs and Errol Morris
  • Twisting the Lens: The Diegetic Camera and Voyeurism in Henry, exclusive new documentary with John McNaughton, Adam Rockoff, Anna Bogutskaya and Jonathan Rigby discussing killers behind cameras
  • Henry vs. MPAA: A Visual History, the story of the struggle to get Henry into North American theatres
  • Henry at the BBFC with Stephen Thrower, discussing Henry’s troubled history at the hands of the British censors
  • John McNaughton on Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, exclusive new interview with John McNaughton and Stephen A. Jones, conducted at the time of Henry’s UK premiere in February 1990
  • Interview with John McNaughton, from 1998
  • It’s Either You… Or Them: An Interview with Joe Coleman, the artist behind Henry’s legendary original theatrical release poster
  • John McNaughton in conversation with Nigel Floyd, interview from 2003
  • In the Round: A Conversation with John McNaughton, conducted by Spencer Parsons in 2016

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is released on 4K UHD Blu-ray and Blu-ray by Arrow Video on 18 April.

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