Exclusive Clip: Dark Sky Films’ 4K Restoration of “HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER”, Out Now!


To mark its 30th anniversary, HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER, recently underwent a 4k restoration for a short theatrical run a couple months back and is now available on digital platforms and Blu-Ray via Dark Sky Films. A full FANGORIA retrospective feature is imminent, but, first, today enjoy this exclusive clip and director John McNaughton recollections of meeting and casting the mighty Michael Rooker….


“When Michael showed up to audition for HENRY, he was very raw. I mean, he came from a rough background—grew up in a town called Jasper, Alabama, and then moved to Chicago. None of us knew him at the time, really, except our makeup artist, Jeff Siegel, who had recommended him because he had worked on a play with him.

“I remember the whole episode very clearly: [HENRY co-writer] Richard Fire and I were sitting at the table where we wrote and there was a knock at the door. I answered it and there stood Michael—basically in the clothes that he wears in the movie! The only thing we eventually changed were his shoes! And I just said a prayer to myself: ‘Oh God, please let this man be able to act!’ It was one of those moments. Just like, ‘Oh, so that’s Henry. Come on in!’ Which I now realize—even more than I did then—is pretty remarkable.

“So we talked and, as I said before, Michael was very rough-edged but…interesting. I knew I was obligated as a director to establish that he was not incompetent; that he could, you know, act. [Laughs.] But I also knew if he could act even a little bit I’d go for it. I recognized I was in the room with someone who possessed the power and the presence to potentially help turn HENRY into something truly special.  

“It didn’t take long for me to determine that there was a lot going on there—that he could act; that he was trained and serious and had the right sort of background. Which can be so important. I hate to to say that in a way, because it’s not a background that you would necessarily want for yourself. But it was right for the part and I wasn’t the one who put him through it so…

“We sat, and talked, and I started to get itchy. Generally, within thirty seconds I know if I’m going to cast somebody or not. They’re right or they’re not, and I knew from when I the opened the door and looked at him, that Michael was perfect—maybe even necessary. I was eager to get on with it.

“So eventually Michael left. I waited and listened, because there was an elevator he had to get on to exit the building. When I heard those doors close I ran back to the table, grabbed the phone, and called Lisa Dedmond, who was our line producer, and said, ‘Book this guy. I don’t care what it takes. He’s going to be a movie star!’”

“I think time has proven I was right. I’m so very proud of our work together and everything Michael accomplished afterwards. And Michael and I became and remain friends. We still see each other. If he comes to Chicago, we’ll go out and have lunch or dinner, or if I’m in LA, if I’ve got time. He lives out a ways out, but, as you can probably imagine, it’s always fun seeing him.”

About the author
Shawn Macomber http://www.stopshawnmacomber.com
The ravings of noted South Florida pug wrangler Shawn Macomber have appeared in Decibel, Magnet, Reason, Maxim, Radar, Shroud, and the Wall Street Journal, amongst other fine and middling publications. He also hosts the podcast Into the Depths and pens the metal-lit column Tales From the Metalnomicon for Decibel magazine.
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