Michael Rooker in HENRY: THE PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER in 4k
It was a true game-changer, a film so upsetting in its blunt depiction of an amoral murderer that it made the slasher films of its time look like cartoons by comparison. HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER became a lightning rod in heated debates about cinema and censorship but has only grown in stature since its first showing in 1986. Now, on the 30th anniversary of its momentous debut, it returns in a 4K restoration rerelease nationwide via Dark Sky Films, with major theatrical engagements to begin on October 21, 2016.
The film will come “home” on October 14, 2016, as Dark Sky partners with the Chicago International Film Festival for a large-scale event including a festival red-carpet premiere and a Q&A with star Michael Rooker and director John McNaughton in attendance.
HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER is a chilling profile of a cold-blooded killer that, 30 years after its historic festival premiere, has lost none of its power to shock. The film, loosely based on a true story, has been hailed as one of the most disturbing and terrifying examinations of mass murderers ever filmed. Henry (Michael Rooker, The Walking Dead) is a psychopathic drifter who has coldly murdered a number of people for no particular reason and without any remorse. Leaving bodies in his wake, Henry makes his way to Chicago, where his he settles into the run-down apartment of his drug-dealing former prison friend and occasional roommate Otis (Tom Towles).
Also moving into the space is Otis’s younger sister Becky (Tracy Arnold), who is fleeing her abusive husband. As she fends off her brother’s incestuous advances, Becky finds herself attracted to Henry – unaware that he, along with Otis, are continuing their murderous rampage.
Director John McNaughton completed the film in 1986, and it was shown at that year’s Chicago International Film Festival. But it wasn’t until 1990 that a U.S. distributor was brave enough to give it a wide release. Henry predates the NC-17 rating and received its predecessor, the X rating, on three separate occasions. As a result of it and related issues with Almodovar’s “Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down,” Phillip Kaufman’s “Henry & June” and Peter Greenaway’s “the Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover,” the MPAA created the NC-17 as its replacement on 9/26/1990. Henry’s current rating is “X (Surrendered)” though a renewed rating is pending. The film’s violence, and the clinical, detached portrayal of Henry by the unforgettable Michael Rooker, originally earned it the MPAA’s highly restrictive NC-17 rating.
The response from both critics and the public was as visceral as the film itself, and it went on to gain praise as one of the most compelling and disturbing films of modern cinema.
In celebration of its 30th anniversary, HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER returns with a thrilling, cinematic presentation that cements its reputation as one of the most harrowing and original American films of all time. Dark Sky Films, a division of MPI Media Group, proudly presents it in a brand-new 4K scan and restoration from the 16mm original camera negatives, and featuring a new 5.1 audio mix from the stereo 35mm mag reels, all approved by director John McNaughton.
HENRY opens in New York on October 21, McNaughton will attend the film’s New York premiere, at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema and on October 28, McNaughton will present it at the Laemmle NoHo in Los Angeles.
A whole new generation of filmgoers will be introduced to HENRY with an amazing new transfer that puts the film firmly back into the vanguard of contemporary cinematic horror. Daniel M. Kimmel of Variety wrote, “[T]his is a movie that will anger and frighten audiences … Many will also find this one of the most impressive film debuts of the ’80s.”
“13TH” – Netflix documentary directed and produced by Ava DuVernay
The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States…” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.
About Ava DuVernay
Nominated for two Academy Awards and four Golden Globes, writer/director Ava DuVernay’s most recent feature “Selma” was one of 2015’s most critically-acclaimed films. Winner of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival’s Best Director Prize for her feature “Middle of Nowhere,” DuVernay’s earlier directorial work includes “I Will Follow,” “Venus Vs,” and “This is The Life.” In Fall of 2016, her first television series as executive producer, writer and director, “Queen Sugar,” debuted on Oprah Winfrey’s network, OWN. DuVernay distributes and amplifies the work of other people of color and women directors through her film collective ARRAY, named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in Hollywood for 2016.
37 / Starring: Samira Wiley, Michael Potts, Christina Brucato, Jamie Harrold, Maria Dizzia & more / In Theaters and On Demand October 7th
“37” is based on the true story of the murder of Kitty Genovese in Kew Gardens in 1964, when, in theory, 37 people heard her and no one helped. The film will be released in theaters and on demand October 7th.
This murder lead to the discovery of The Bystander Effect, a social psychology term that states the greater number of bystanders the less likely they are to help) and her case is studied in universities across the country.
The film features an ensemble cast lead by Samira Wiley (The Handmaiden’s Tale, Orange is the New Black), Michael Potts (The Wire, True Detective) and Adrian Martinez (White Girl) and is written and directed by first time filmmaker Puk Grasten, who became fascinated with the story and what it represents while a student at NYU. The film came out of a short she made while a student at NYU.