Directed by John McNaughton
Written by John McNaughton & Richard Fire
Cinematography by Charlie Lieberman
Music by Robert McNaughton, Ken Hale & Steven A. Jones
Cast: Michael Rooker, Tom Towles & Tracy Arnold

1990/83 mins/Color/2.0 Dolby Digital
1.33:1/English/US/NTSC Region 0

Review from the Dark Sky Films DVD

A dead woman... that's how this movie begins and that's how it will end. You surely must all have seen this classic so I won't go into details with the actual story. Henry (Michael Rooker giving a chilling performance) is wandering around the streets of Chicago looking for his next victim. He moves in with an old jailmate, Ottis. Soon they go on a rampage across the city, leaving dead bodies everywhere, taking lives and destroying famillies. And unlike your typical Hollywood movie, this one doesn't end on a nice note. A true horror classic!

Director John McNaughton, gave us an almost voyeuristic look into Henry's crazy world. Made for $120,000 and shot in 4 weeks, McNaughton created a new horror classic... and without even knowing about it.

HENRY PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER was put on the shelves for three years. No one wanted to release that movie... the X rating it got surely didn't helped! But onced it played in a few theaters, the critics raved about it. Presented in an almost too realistic, down and dirty retelling of the true horrible crimes of Henry Lee Lucas. HENRY PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER came out when moviegoers and especially genre fans grew tired of the likes of Jason, Michael and Freddy, they needed sometime "new".

Born in August 23, 1936, Henry Lee Lucas became America's most controversial and notorious murderer. After being arrested in 1982, he confessed the killing of over 500 persons. He also claimed to be part of a Satanic cult, the "Hand of Death" in which he was with partner-in-crime Ottis Toole. We will never know the truth, but one things for sure, this man destroyed many lives and familly...

Dark Sky Films, which is a subdivision of the MPI Media Group, have given HENRY PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER a very much deserved 2 disc set for its 20th anniversary. First of all, its important to note that unlike the 1998 edition, in this one the audio track is not out of sync, about time! For such a low budget movie filmed in 1987, its looks surprisingly good. The movie is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The image is a little grainy but it was shot that way. Still this is the best I've ever seen this movie looking. We get a nicely remastered 2.0 Dolby Digital audio track which is clear and gives more life to the magnificent but simple score by Robert McNaughton (not related to the director, John McNaughton).

The first extra you should get into is the very detailed and informative commentary track with John McNaughton and a moderator. McNaughton goes into all the small details in and out on the making of his acclaimed horror classic. We get a still gallery which surprisingly features the Japanese press book. Also on the first disc are trailers for HENRY PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER, HENRY PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER 2 MASK OF SANITY and MANSON FAMILLY.

On the second disc, we get a very good documentary done by the folks at Blue Underground called 'Portrait: The Making of Henry'. It takes a look at all the elements, persons and story around the movie. 'The Serial Killers: Henry Lee Lucas' is the segment on the real Henry which can also be found in another Dark Sky Films DVD, THE SERIAL KILLERS. We also get some outtakes and deleted scenes with commentaries by the director. For me, all of them were previously unseen. Finally we get the very cool storyboards which was used to plan the actual film. The movie is separated in 14 chapters, features nicely designed animated menus, a catalogue of other MPI Home Video titles, optional English subtitles and comes in a transparent keep case with a reversible cover. A great edition from Dark Sky Films.





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Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2005. ©

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