Sinister Screens

The Reflecting Skin (1990) ★★★

The Reflecting Skin


Sometimes terrible things happen quite naturally.

A young boy tries to cope with rural life circa 1950s and his fantasies become a way to interpret events. After his father tells him stories of vampires, he becomes convinced that the widow up the road is a vampire, and tries to find ways of discouraging his brother from seeing her.


To anyone complaining about how bad your childhood was, please take the following survey:

  1. Ever take a drink of water from the old cistern and taste the decayed body of one of your childhood friends?
  2. Ever get propositioned by or have multiple best buddies get abducted by a band of pedo-greasers driving a 1959 Plymouth Fury?
  3. Ever have an imaginary friend that turned out to be a real aborted fetus?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you have every right to complain and should definitely check out the movie The Reflecting Skin. See how it compares visually to your life growing up.

This movie is a really bizarre coming-of-age movie centered around a child Seth Dove growing up in the 1950s. Seth may very well be a budding psychopath with the level of empathy displayed throughout this film. Shoving a straw up a frog’s rectum to blow it up as a better target for his slingshot is only the first sign something’s a little off with this kid.

It’s a beautifully shot film and very metaphoric throughout for many things including the vampire angle. Also, the film goes off into extremely bizarre tangents which makes it really adaptable to those who like horror films, though it’s really more of a drama.

To me, The Reflecting Skin felt like some bizarre hallucinogenic dream that took place in a ’40s-’50s time warp. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it, either. It’s one of those films I’m glad I experienced, but probably will never have the itch to watch again.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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