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Henry - Portrait of a Serial Killer [Blu-ray]
(John McNaughton, 1986)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Dark Sky Films
Video:MPI Home Video
Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 23,938,697,202 bytes
Feature Size: 18,583,965,696 bytes
Video Bitrate: 26.75 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: September 29th, 2009
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 matted onto 1.78
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: VC-1 Video
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
• Commentary bydirector John McNaughton
•Portrait: The Making of Henry
• The Serial Killer: Henry Lee Lucas documentary
• Deleted Scenes and Outtakes
• Stills gallery
•Interview with John McNaughton (33:54)
Description: Michael Rooker is unforgettable as Henry, a soft-spoken loner with a cool exterior masking an inner rage that boils at blast furnace intensity. When fellow ex-con Otis invites Henry to move into his Chicago apartment, he becomes a willing participant in Henry's senseless, random killing sprees. Meanwhile, Otis' unsuspecting sister, Becky (Tracy Arnold) is smitten with Henry, whose broken childhood mirrors her own. Masterfully directed by John McNaughton, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is a chilling character study of a mass murderer that continues to shock and disturb twenty years after its debut.
Filmed in 1986 and trapped in the movie rating system for three years, a
movie named "Henry" finally came into wider view in the autumn of 1989.
This is a movie that's an obvious candidate for the proposed A (for adult) rating. It is a chilling film that - fair warning - will horrify many viewers and is intended to illuminate, not entertain. But it also is a very good film, a low-budget tour de force that provides an unforgettable portrait of the pathology of a man for whom killing is not a crime but simply a way of passing time and relieving boredom.Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE
NOTE: We've previously compared the Optimum Releasing - Region 2 - PAL - edition to the MPI (Director's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC DVDs HERE.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer has some meager 16mm roots but the bump to 1080P by Dark Sky Films definitely benefits the presentation. The colors on Blu-ray seem richer and far more pronounced than on the previous DVD releases of the film. Grain is thick and intact but noise is still an issue especially in monochromatic darker sequences. The original 1.33 aspect ratio (matted onto a 1.78 frame) image - as we can see from the comparative captures below - is actually cropped a shade. It appears to be somewhat flat and some DNR may have been used as the image details are more homogenized than one might hope. Daylight scenes are more impressive but detail is never pristine. This Blu-ray brings out the film's textured realism to another, more chilling, level and I suspect this may be as good as it can look for your home theater. By modern standards this is fairly primitive visually but as a representation of the original - I doubt much more could be done.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
1) Optimum Releasing - Region 2 - PAL - TOP
2) MPI (Director's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE
3) MPI - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM
More Blu-ray Captures
The uncompressed linear PCM track at 1536 kbps does solid service to the presentation. It exhibits some decent, haunting, bass in the score and dialogue remains scattered without buoyancy. The disc offers optional English subtitles and myMomitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Director John McNaughton's audio commentary (also found on the Optimum DVD) is revealing as he explains his intent to expose the graphic nature of the story rather than exploit it for further exposure. There are 2 documentaries with the one about real life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas giving the presentation more of a cutting edge - it's quite fascinating. We also cut deleted and outtake scenes, storyboard and a stills gallery.
September 19th, 2009
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Gary W. Tooze