Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer 2 – Mask of Sanity DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee
DVD released by Dark Sky Films
It’s a mule we had when I was a kid. We called him “Rocks” on account he used to eat rocks. – Henry
Written and directed by Chuck Parello
1998, Region 1 (NTSC), 85 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on September 26th, 2006
Neil Giuntoli as Henry
Rich Komenich as Kai
Kate Walsh as Cricket
Carri Levinson as Louisa
Daniel Allar as Rooter
When we last left Henry in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, he was driving down the highway, destinations unknown — leaving death in his wake.
Well, Henry hasn’t found God yet, because he’s still up to his murderous ways.
Moving in with a new family — this time living with some co-workers, Kai and Cricket, and Cricket’s niece, Louisa — Henry, this time portrayed by Neil Giuntoli (Love Comes to the Executioner), doesn’t take much time finding trouble to stir up. He quickly finds out Kai is an arsonist for hire, and joins forces with him.
But, not satisfied with simply burning buildings, Henry looks for any given opportunity to kill.
Some things just never change.
I’m the type of person who isn’t bothered by sequels and remakes. I’m always willing to give them a shot because, even if 99 percent of them fail, there are still the ones that make up for it like T2 and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. So when Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer 2 arrived on my doorstep, I thought, “What the hell. I’ll give it a chance.”
Oh boy. What an absolute mess. I can only imagine the conversation when this movie was put on the table.
“Let’s remake Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. It’s been 13 years since the first one came out, and it has a pretty good cult following. We’ll have a built in audience.”
“Is Michael Rooker returning?”
“Do you have an original story?”
“Sounds good, let’s do it.”
And so it was.
Filming should have never had started without Michael Rooker. Rooker was Henry. Giuntoli tried to be menacing as Henry, and, to some degree, succeeded. Hell, in all fairness, Giuntoli could pull off a killer role well. But Rooker’s shoes were just too big to fill.
The second major problem with the film is it’s pretty much the same story as the first. In the first movie, Henry lived with a dysfunctional family, where he pulled Otis into his debauchery. In this sequel, Henry lives with a dysfunctional family, where he pulls Kai (Rich Komenich) into his debauchery. The only difference between the two movies is Otis enjoyed the killing, where Kai obviously has a problem with it. The film tries to address that difference somewhat, showing Kai’s unwillingness to accept what he’s doing, and his fighting to change it, but you end up really not caring.
If nothing else, Parello really captured the feel of the first movie. It’s just too bad he didn’t do anything original with it. That’s unfortunate, because with some slight changes to the script and a different title, the movie could have been much more enjoyable.
Video and Audio:
The picture is soft and the colors are muted in Henry’s 1.85:1 presentation. There are also some signs of artifacting, but (as is the case with many low-budget movies) this is forgivable, as it’s a 7-year-old B-movie that probably went straight to VHS, anyway.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is surprisingly good. There were times when the bass surprised me. There’s not a lot of use of the rears, but the 5.1 track is much fuller than the offered 2.0 track. Given the choice, go with the 5.1.
English subtitles are available.
- Audio Commentary with director Chuck Parello
- H2: The Making of a Madman featurette
- Outtakes and Deleted Scenes
- Theatrical Trailers
- Photo Gallery
The commentary track is mildly interesting, but much of it is Parello complimenting the actors and expressing his love for the film. Fans of the film will probably dig it, but there’s not much there for anyone else.
“H2: The Making of a Madman” is about 14 minutes of light fluff. It consists of interviews with the cast and crew, talking about how interesting the movie is.
There is almost a half of an hour of outtakes and deleted scenes. There are some good scenes that were cut that would have helped the movie, and one has to question why they hit the floor. In particular, there is a scene in which Kai talks about his father, giving him a little more character. All things considered, it’s a rather short scene, but would have added more to the movie.
Rounding it up are trailers for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer 2 and a photo gallery of 45 pictures.
If this wasn’t sold as a sequel, and the story wasn’t so close to the original, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer 2 may have been a decent flick. But, as it stands, this one’s not even worth a rental.
(Equipment includes a Mitsubishi WS-48613 48” HDTV, Sony DVP-CX875P DVD player and Onkyo HTS-770 Home Theater System and, in some cases, a Sony 27” WEGA TV and a Sony DVP-NS50P DVD player.)
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