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Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
Release Date: April 18th, 2022 Movie Release Year: 1986

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer - 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray Limited Edition [UK Import]

Overview -

One of the most infamous films of its generation, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer invades 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray thanks to Arrow Video. Co-written and directed by John McNaughton and starring Michael Rooker, the late great Tom Towles, and Tracy Arnold, the story is a loose but shocking telling of two of the most notorious serial killers to ever stalk the streets. With an impressive new restoration, this 4K Dolby Vision transfer captures all of the grit and grime of this classic thriller with a clean audio mix, and plenty of excellent bonus features to dig through. Highly Recommended

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is also available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from Turbine Media Group 

4k UHD All Region 

Blu-Ray of Extras Region B

Widely heralded as one of the greatest serial killer movies of all time, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer presents a bleak and unflinching dive into the mind of a mass murderer.

Recently released from prison, the nomadic Henry (Michael Rooker, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Walking Dead) finds temporary abode in the rundown Chicago lodgings of a former jail acquaintance and small-time drug dealer, Otis (Tom Towles). Hiding behind his unremarkable employment as a pest exterminator, Henry leads a double life, prowling the streets by night on a brutal and apparently motiveless killing spree. As the bodies mount up, Otis finds himself inducted into Henry’s dark secret world, but when Otis’ sister Becky (Tracy Arnold) moves in, herself fleeing from an uncomfortable domestic situation, it quickly becomes apparent that two’s company, but three’s a crowd.

Based on the horrific true-life crimes of Henry Lee Lucas, the harrowing controversial debut feature from John McNaughton (Mad Dog and Glory, Wild Things) returns to the UK in its best-looking release ever, in a new 4K restoration supervised by the director himself.


– 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)


– Brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negatives

– 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)

– 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


– 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

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 2.0
English SDH
Release Date:
April 18th, 2022

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


[Excerpt from our review of the Turbine Media Group Mediabook release]

"Henry (Michael Rooker) is a madman. To look at him you wouldn’t believe he was capable of murder. While he works as an exterminator or any number of odd jobs, his actual profession is death. Now out of jail, he moves in with his prison pal Otis (Tom Towles) and his sister Becky (Tracy Arnold) in their Chicago apartment. As Henry and Becky get close, Henry carves out time with Otis stalking the streets of Chicago assaulting and murdering prostitutes. Now with Otis involved in Henry’s world of murder and mayhem, the two go on a series of spree killings undetected and undeterred by law enforcement. But as their spree continues, Otis’ lust for carnage becomes insatiable. 

But, given that this film is loosely based on the real-life serial killers Henry Lee Lucas and his partner in murder Ottis Toole, there isn’t any space for humor or light-hearted anecdotes. Now, for the true-life Henry, he’s often credited as the most prolific serial killer ever, but you can’t believe his stories. After arrest, he would frequently confess to killings - often after being given access to unsolved murder case files - to get special privileges. He was credited with hundreds of killings but in actuality, his total is far, far smaller. So for those looking to actually learn more about the true killer, I highly encourage you to check out the multi-episode series from Last Podcast on the Left

Real-life inspiration aside, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is still a chilling film. While John McNaughton deserves a lot of credit for his writing and the film’s tight direction, the film wouldn’t be what it is without the cast. In his debut performance, Michael Rooker commands the film. That capacity for sudden explosive violence is on display in every scene. Even when he’s just sitting there eating dinner, he’s carrying a force and energy that just makes the simplest movement unnerving. After Rooker, we have another great turn from veteran character actor, the late great Tom Towles. Towles’ Otis starts out as a rather funny character with a notably blue sense of humor - but otherwise relatively harmless. It’s when his desires for murder are awakened that he becomes a more imposing and terrifying presence. Tracy Arnold also deserves praise for her turn as the innocent Becky. She doesn’t get a lot to do, but by the end of the film, she’s fully shown her range."


Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray 

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer sets up shop on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from Arrow Video in a Limited Edition 2-Disc set. Pressed on a BD-100 disc with a Region-B Locked BD-50 disc holding the bonus features. Both discs are housed in a two-disc case with reversible insert art, the alternate art features the infamous original poster art that was soundly rejected for wide distribution. Also included in the case are six art cards. Extra swag includes a reversible poster and two booklets. The first 55-page booklet contains photos, essays, and transfer/restoration information. The second 60-page booklet contains the original storyboards from John McNaughton and Fran Coronado. The disc loads to an animated main menu with traditional navigation options. 

When this set first hit the market, the 4K disc had an encoding issue where footage repeated itself while the audio continued. That has now been fixed with replacement discs already going out. To identify the proper replacement disc, the serial code for the replacement disc under the “18” rating label is “FCD-2197/A-V2”

Apparently, the 1080p Blu-ray release also had color timing issues, but we don’t have a copy of that so we can’t swear by what fixes were needed for that disc.

Video Review


16mm released on 4K is always a dodgy prospect, but Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is yet another shining example of what the high-end format can bring for films shot on the economically mid-level filmstock! While not a film I pull out often, it’s one I watch with some regularity and I’ve never seen it look this good. By its own standards, it’s cleaner and clearer looking than ever before. From the opening frames of the recently departed to Otis and Becky’s rough apartment to the grimy streets of 1980s Chicago, there’s a lot more fine detail to see and appreciate. Facial features, clothing, and textural details all pick up notable improvements. Film grain is intact and again because it's 16mm is a lot more apparent than what you’d see from a 35mm feature. But for a gritty and grimy film like this it’s a welcome visual aesthetic much like we saw with The Hills Have Eyes or The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray releases. 

Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10 offer extra refinements in colors and especially in the dark shadowy sequences of the film. The colors are suitably grungy looking for this release. The film has always had a heavily brown-ish leaning feel, but there hasn’t been a radical color-timing shift or anything to worry about in that regard. Red gets plenty of play given all of the blood on screen, but there’s plenty of proper Blue and Yellow. Skin tones are natural and healthy throughout. Whites are suitably crisp and clean. Black levels are desirably inky. There are a few night sequences that always looked very dark - the first prostitutes' murders is a key example - and that remains here but thankfully avoids crush. I felt like I was seeing more fine detail but nothing to say the scene had been brightened or enhanced. Shadows are also well defined but again this is all limited to the original source elements. There’s just so much you’re going to get out of 16mm before you max out. All around this is a great transfer that offers up great clarity and depth to the image while retaining its natural gritty grungy appearance. 

Audio Review


This release of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer scores two excellent audio options - a DTS-HD MA 2.0 track and a DTS-HD MA 5.1. Both are very good, but I’d lend my ear closer to the 2.0 mix over the 5.1. The 5.1 track is solid in its own way bringing an interesting surround presence to the film, but it can often feel a little stretched and thin. To cap it off there are several stretches that feel more front/center loaded anyway with little surround action in the soundscape. In contrast, the 2.0 track stays even and powerful without any kind of loss. The film isn’t complicated in that regard so the 2.0 just feels more natural. Both tracks offer clean clear dialog that’s never an issue.

Special Features


It wouldn’t be an Arrow Limited Edition release if it didn’t come packed with an excellent assortment of bonus features! This time I’ll say I’m glad they didn’t try to stuff everything onto the 4K disc as they have with past releases. The extra bonus disc (again, Region B locked) helps spread things around a bit without adding the extra compression to the film itself. What we get is an excellent assortment of recent and archival extras to pick through. You get multiple audio commentaries, interviews, and behind-the-scenes materials. Compared to the Turbine release, largely the bonus features are the same but this edition picks up two additional commentary tracks; one new and one archival, as well as a new featurette about the camera work of the film and an exclusive new interview with John McNaughton. 

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

  • NEW Audio Commentary featuring John McNaughton and Steven Jones 
  • 2005 Audio Commentary featuring John McNaughton with David Gregory
  • 1999 Audio Commentary featuring John McNaughton
  • Scene Specific Audio Commentaries featuring John McNaughton and Nigel Floyd
  • The Opening Sequence (HD 7:40)
  • Otis and the Broken TV (HD 4:54)
  • The Home Invasion Scene (HD 3:20)
  • Deleted Scenes and Outtakes with Commentary with John McNaughton moderated by David Gregory (HD 21:25)
  • Trailers
  • Stills Gallery
  • Original Script 

Blu-ray Bonus Disc

  • Portrait - the Making of Henry (HD 52:35)
  • In Defense of Henry (HD 20:43)
  • NEW Twisting the Lens: The Diegetic Camera and Voyeurism in Henry (HD 23:24)
  • Henry vs MPAA (HD 10:52)
  • Henry and the BBC (HD 27:25)
  • Interviews
    • John McNaughton on Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (HD 19:47)
    • Interview with John McNaughton and Stephen Jones (SD 7:34)
    • 1998 Interview with John McNaughton (SD 30:44)
    • Interview with Joe Coleman (HD 8:43)
    • In The Round: A Conversation with John McNaughton (HD 28:05)
    • John McNaughton in Conversation with Nigel Floyd (HD 23:13)

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is often held as one of the scariest movies ever made. I might not call it that, but it’s certainly unnerving and intense, especially if you know the true characters that inspired the film. Nearly 40 years later and this film still packs a visceral punch and now thanks to Arrow Video, we have a fantastic new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release to celebrate. The new Dolby Vision transfer is another top-tier restoration work for another 16mm horror classic. With two solid audio tracks and hours of excellent bonus features, this is an easy one to add to the collection.

Now, German boutique label Turbine Media Group has also issued their own special Mediabook release sporting the same excellent A/V presentation. The only slight difference is in the bonus features as that release misses some of the commentary tracks but the unique packaging should be an intriguing option for collectors. However, that release also comes with an exclusive 1080p widescreen presentation that's actually pretty good. Truly, you can’t go wrong with either release so it all boils down to preference. Highly Recommended