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Mysterious Skin
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Mysterious Skin (2004) More at IMDbPro »

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Mysterious Skin -- In 1981, in Hutchinson, Kansas, the eight years old boy Neil McCormick is sexually abused by his pedophile baseball coach and his deranged and promiscuous mother does not pay attention. Meanwhile, the also eight years Brian Lackey awakes from a brief amnesia of four hours with a bleeding nose, but his negligent father does not pay attention to the event. Brian grows-up believing he had been abducted by aliens. The gay Neil grows-up as a hustler. When Brian is eighteen years old, he looks for and meets Neil, who discloses dark innermost secrets of their past.
Mysterious Skin -- A teenage hustler and a young man obsessed with alien abductions cross paths, together discovering a horrible, liberating truth.


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Popularity: ?
Up 5% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Gregg Araki (screenplay)
Scott Heim (novel)
View company contact information for Mysterious Skin on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 June 2005 (USA) See more »
Two boys. One can't remember. The other can't forget.
A teenage hustler and a young man obsessed with alien abductions cross paths, together discovering a horrible, liberating truth. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
5 wins & 8 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Elegant Rawness See more (246 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Chase Ellison ... Neil (age 8)
George Webster ... Brian (age 8)
Rachael Nastassja Kraft ... Deborah (age 12) (as Rachael Kraft)

Lisa Long ... Mrs. Lackey

Chris Mulkey ... Mr. Lackey

Elisabeth Shue ... Mrs. McCormick

David Lee Smith ... Alfred

Bill Sage ... Coach
Riley McGuire ... Wendy (age 11)
Ryan Stenzel ... Stephen Zepherelli

Joseph Gordon-Levitt ... Neil

Richard Riehle ... Charlie

Michelle Trachtenberg ... Wendy

Brady Corbet ... Brian
Larry Marko ... Old man with scar

Mary Lynn Rajskub ... Avalyn Friesen
Clover ... Patches

Jeffrey Licon ... Eric (as Jeff Licon)

Bruno Alexander ... Redneck Hick
Forrest Fountain ... Jackson

Zane Huett ... Jackson's Son
Reedy Gibbs ... Receptionist

David Alan Graf ... Gay Lumberjack
John Ganun ... NYC John

Billy Drago ... Zeke

Kelly Kruger ... Deborah

Pete Kasper ... Sedan Driver
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Joan Blair ... Customer in Yogurt Shop (uncredited)

Trieste Kelly Dunn ... Date in "Blood Prom" (uncredited)
Gwenne Hudson ... Baseball Mom (uncredited)

Directed by
Gregg Araki 
Writing credits
Gregg Araki (screenplay)

Scott Heim (novel)

Produced by
Gregg Araki .... producer
Wouter Barendrecht .... executive producer
Beau J. Genot .... associate producer
Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte .... producer (as Jeffrey Levy-Hinte)
Chris Larsen .... associate producer
Hans Ritter .... co-producer (as Hans C. Ritter)
Hans Ritter .... line producer (as Hans C. Ritter)
Mary Jane Skalski .... producer
Michael J. Werner .... executive producer
Joshua Zeman .... co-producer
Original Music by
Harold Budd 
Robin Guthrie 
Cinematography by
Steve Gainer (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Gregg Araki 
Casting by
Shannon Makhanian 
Production Design by
Devorah Herbert 
Art Direction by
Morgan Blackledge  (as Morgan C. Blackledge)
Set Decoration by
Erin Smith  (as Erin K. Smith)
Costume Design by
Alix Hester 
Makeup Department
Michelle Rene Elam .... key hair stylist (as Michelle Elam Torres)
Nicole Le Bris .... hair stylist: New York
Nicole Le Bris .... makeup artist: New York
Fleur Morell .... makeup department head
Eleanor Sabaduquia .... assistant makeup artist
Alexis Walker .... assistant makeup artist
Production Management
Beau J. Genot .... post-production supervisor
Petra Hoebel .... production manager: New York
Lisa Looney .... production supervisor
Per Melita .... production manager: New York
Hans Ritter .... unit production manager (as Hans Christian Ritter)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Heather I. Denton .... second assistant director
Jordan Brendan Finnegan .... second second assistant director (as Jordan Finnegan)
Gavin Kleintop .... second second assistant director
W. Alex Korp .... first assistant director (as Ale Korp)
Art Department
Treven Bedwell .... property master
Erin Cabeen .... art department intern
Shannon Cabeen .... art department intern
Jonathan Dortch .... assistant property master
Sally Geier .... art department intern
Rob Henning .... leadman
Stacy L. Henning .... swing
Jennifer Ireland .... art department intern (as Jen Ireland)
Mathew Klickstein .... on-set dresser
Scott Schutzki .... swing
Pete Steinke .... swing
Andrew 'Pinky' Swartsel .... swing (as A. Corey Swartsel)
Sound Department
Bryan Arenas .... sound consultant: Dolby
Steven Avila .... sound effects editor (as Steve Avila)
James Bailey .... foley artist
Trip Brock .... supervising sound editor
Bob Fisher .... boom operator
Heather Fox .... sound coordinator: post-production
Michael J. Fox .... adr supervisor (as Mike Fox)
Michael J. Fox .... foley editor (as Mike Fox)
Eric Hoeschen .... foley artist
Peter D. Lago .... first assistant sound editor (as Peter Lago)
Coleman Metts .... production sound mixer
Peter Oreckinto .... optical soundtrack: DJ Audio
Jackie Rodman .... dialogue editor (as Jackie Oster)
Mark A. Rozett .... sound re-recording mixer (as Mark Rozett)
Elana Saviolis .... sound coordinator: post-production
Geordy Sincavage .... foley mixer
Geordy Sincavage .... sound effects editor
Melissa Strater .... sound coordinator: post-production (as Melissa Strater-Brock)
Kelly Vandever .... sound re-recording mixer
Randolph Saucedo .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Special Effects by
David Waine .... special effects coordinator
Visual Effects by
Mark S. Driscoll .... visual effects supervisor: Look Effects
Henrik Fett .... visual effects supervisor: Look Effects
Chad Buehler .... digital compositor (uncredited)
Eddie Matthews .... stunt driver (as Eddie Mathews)
Lou Simon .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Sebastián Almeida .... first assistant camera: New ork (as Sebastian Almeida)
Todd Barron .... director of photography: second unit
Craig Bauer .... camera loader
Bernard Cistrunk .... electrician
Josh Daneshgar .... grip intern
Matthew Deetsch .... additional electrician
Mark Evans .... grip (as Mark E. Evans)
Eric Forand .... additional grip
Ben Gamble .... gaffer
Jerry Gregoricka .... electrician (as Jerry C. Gregoricka)
Joshua Harper .... additional electrician
Jarrod Heath .... electrician
Trevor Houghton .... best boy electric
Milan Janicin .... second assistant camera (as Milan 'Miki' Janicin)
Todd Kirschner .... key grip
Jaime R. Mejia .... additional electrician
Patrick Okamura .... camera intern
Hernan Otaño .... director of photography: New York (as Michael Otano)
Omar Pena .... grip
Marcos V. Perez .... grip (as Marcos V. Pérez)
Ryan Purvis .... additional grip
Rocky Romines .... grip (as Rocky 'Rockman' Romines)
Shereen Saleh .... first assistant camera
Lacey Terrell .... still photographer
Victoria Tidmarch .... additional camera loader
William Todd .... additional electrician
Carlos Verón .... gaffer: New York
Bradford Whitaker .... electrician
Steve Gainer .... camera operator (uncredited)
Mark McIntire .... grip (uncredited)
Casting Department
Jennifer Goldstein .... casting assistant
Katya Lidsky .... casting assistant (as Katja Lidsky)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Carla Haupt .... costume intern
Prudence Stein .... costume intern
Pamela Walt .... costumer
Editorial Department
Alex Blatt .... post-production coordinator
Alana Greenfield .... negative cutter: Viv Kim Negative Cutting
Terry Haggar .... color timer
Vivian Hengsteler .... negative cutter: Viv Kim Negative Cutting
Eden Williams .... negative cutter: Viv Kim Negative Cutting
David Block .... colorist (uncredited)
Music Department
Jenée DeAngelis .... music coordinator (as Jenee Clark)
Bradford Ellis .... score engineer
Bradford Ellis .... score programmer
Howard Paar .... music supervisor
Ronald J. Webb .... music editor (as Ron Webb)
Tracy McKnight .... executive soundtrack producer (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Jaime Chapparo .... additional driver (as Jaime Chaparro)
Mac 'Buck' Cook .... driver
Guy Johnson .... transportation captain (as Guy 'Bone' Johnson)
Eli Lozano .... driver (as Eli James Lozano)
Sandra Ninham .... additional driver
Stephen 'Stevo' Pate .... transportation coordinator
Marco Ruiz .... additional driver (as Marco A. Ruiz)
Bobby Weaver .... driver
Alexander Yurchikov .... additional driver
Other crew
Jodi Andrade .... craft service
Nicolas Barclift .... office production assistant
Luis Brito .... chef
Carly Brown .... production coordinator
Louis Caric .... set production assistant (as Louis A. Caric)
Dave Carlson .... set production assistant
Martine Charnow .... production intern
Diana Cheng .... production intern
James Debbs .... assistant: Mary Jane Skalski
Rex Dominguez .... set production assistant
Jonathan Dortch .... location scout
Colin Elliott .... production intern
John B. Finn .... post-production accountant: JFA Inc. (as John Finn)
Debra Fontenot .... location scout
Susan Gabbay .... location scout: New York
Jonny Gillette .... location assistant
Matthew I. Goldberg .... assistant location manager (as Matthew Goldberg)
Jonathan Gray .... production counsel: Spinak & Gray
Todd Hall .... title designer: F-Stop
Janet Harold .... location scout
Erin Heidenreich .... sales agent
Katherine Hensley .... accounting intern
Tony Hill .... medic
Teresa L. Humphreys .... payroll services: Axium/Avalon (as Teresa Humphreys)
Jennifer Kennedy .... location scout
James R. Kerrigan .... title designer: F-Stop (as Jim Kerrigan)
Maria Kerrigan .... title designer: F-Stop
Mathew Klickstein .... location scout
Chris Lum .... medic
Michael Masarof .... production assistant: New York
Joe McGraw .... location scout
Jan McWilliams .... script supervisor
Ross Miller .... insurance: DR Reiff & Associates
Naomi Motohashi .... location manager (as N. Motohashi)
Steve Pawera .... production accountant
Guillermo Pena-Tapia .... production assistant: New York (as Guillermo Pena Tapia)
Anthony Pizzarelli .... medic
Lynn Raines .... welfare worker
Roy A. Ruiz Jr. .... security: Independent Security Co. (as Roy Ruiz Jr.)
Robert Spinak .... production counsel: Spinak & Hray (as Rob Spinak)
Susan J. Spohr .... customer satisfaction: CFI (as Susan Spohr)
David Witten .... production intern
Fei Wong .... additional set production assistant
Ian M. Stratford .... production counsel (uncredited)
Lynn Auerbach .... special thanks: Sundance Institute
Fenton Bailey .... special thanks: World of Wonder Productions
Randy Barbato .... special thanks: World of Wonder Productions
Chris Baugh .... special thanks
Jonathan Bell .... special thanks
Andrew Bentler .... special thanks
Peter Billingsley .... special thanks
Bill Bishop .... special thanks
M.B. Boissonault .... special thanks (as MB Boissonault)
Tom Bronson .... special thanks: Walt Disney Costumes
Erin Cabeen .... special thanks
Shannon Cabeen .... special thanks
Andrew Cannava .... special thanks
Shirley Clark .... special thanks
John Cooper .... special thanks
Mary Corbet .... extra special thanks
Kathy Doherty .... special thanks
Cindy Ellison .... extra special thanks
Patrick Falk .... special thanks
Neil Fenn .... special thanks
Tal Fiala .... special thanks: Keep Me Posted
Hadiya Finley .... special thanks
Eric Fried .... special thanks: Technicolor
Dag Gabrielsen .... special thanks
Alberto Garcia .... special thanks
Cindi Goretski .... special thanks (as Cyndi Goretski)
Rachel Goswell .... special thanks
Zach Grace .... special thanks: Mean Red Music
Toni Halliday .... special thanks
Neil Halstead .... special thanks
Robert Harvey .... special thanks (as Bob Harvey)
Paulette Hawkins .... special thanks
Charles Herzfeld .... special thanks: Technicolor
Amy Hillman .... extra special thanks
Takeo Hori .... special thanks
Millie Hsyu .... special thanks
Marcus Hu .... special thanks
Melanie Johnson .... special thanks
Tim Kelly .... special thanks: Keep Me Posted
Keya Khayatian .... special thanks
Eunice Lee .... special thanks
Cookie Lopez .... special thanks
Tom Lopinski .... special thanks
Pat Lucas .... special thanks
Jim Lyons .... special thanks
Alexander Mayo Williams .... special thanks
Alec McKinlay .... special thanks
Tracy McKnight .... special thanks
Robert Messinger .... special thanks
David Millman .... special thanks
Guido Moretti .... special thanks: Telecine Films
Luz Moretti .... special thanks: Telecine Films
Suzanne Moss .... special thanks
Joy Murphy .... special thanks
Dave Newton .... special thanks
Michel Papadaki .... special thanks: CFI (as Mike Papadaki)
Tonya Puerto .... special thanks
Karyn Rachtman .... special thanks
Simon Raymonde .... special thanks
Joe Robbins .... special thanks
Michelle Satter .... special thanks: Sundance Institute
Ben Schoen .... special thanks: Scarlet Letters
Burt Severy .... special thanks
Sigur Rós .... special thanks (as Sigur Ros)
Kai Simmons .... special thanks
Suicidal Tendencies .... special thanks
Shelly Surpin .... special thanks (as Shelley Surpin)
Garrard Whatley .... special thanks: Rocketworks
Warren Zavala .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
105 min | USA:107 min (Sundance Channel Library Print)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:13 | Australia:R18+ | Brazil:18 | Canada:R (Alberta/British Columbia) | Canada:18A (Manitoba/Ontario) | Canada:16+ (Quebec) | Finland:K-18 (TV rating) (2007) (self applied) | France:-16 | Germany:18 | Ireland:18 | Italy:VM14 | Netherlands:16 | New Zealand:R18 | Portugal:M/18 (Qualidade) | Singapore:R21 | Sweden:15 | Switzerland:16 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:16 (canton of Vaud) | UK:18 | USA:NC-17 | USA:Unrated (DVD rating)

Did You Know?

Gregg Araki cut the movie himself on his Macintosh using Final Cut Pro 4.See more »
Anachronisms: Car approaches traffic signal. Yellow light is a matrix of LEDs, but all yellow traffic lights in 1987 were incandescent bulbs.See more »
[first lines]
Brian:[narration voice-over] The summer I was 8 years old, five hours disappeared from my life. Five hours. Lost. Gone without a trace.
Brian:[narration voice-over] Last thing I remember I was sitting on the bench at my Little League game. It started to rain. What happened after that remains a pitch black void.
See more »
Movie Connections:
References Space Invaders 91 (1990) (VG)See more »
Silent NightSee more »


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67 out of 84 people found the following review useful.
Elegant Rawness, 6 July 2005
Author: Russ (TennisW61-1) from Chicago, US


In his new film Greg Araki uses a prudent ploy to snag and reel you in: having the visuals effusively speak and the screenplay divulge the least amount of information necessary to keep the story evolving. Words can only reveal so much, while Araki's images display an almost unbearable amount of visceral material, exploiting vibrant color, alluring texture, dark and light, the brooding and harrowing eyes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and the handsome modesty of Brady Corbet.

The film resonates on a level of rawness unseen and unfelt since Cuesta's "L.I.E." or Solondz's "Storytelling." The film is jarringly penetrative and pervasive: the visuals in your mind play over repeatedly and the disconcerting but intellectually uplifting feeling "Mysterious Skin" infuses lies active long after you leave the theater. The film is not easy to digest. Seeing that there is pervasive sexual exposure between adults, as well as between adults and kids (though discreetly handled), this film will repulse many viewers. This film also had to be made.

Neil (Gordon-Levitt) and Brian's (Corbet) story starts in the early 1980s when they are only eight-years-old. Neil's little league baseball coach initiates a sexual relationship, of which (most likely to the consternation of several audience members) Neil actually recounts a rosy-colored remembrance: he enjoyed it. Brian that same year describes how his perpetual and mysterious string of blackouts and bloody noses began one rainy night after a baseball game.

The story moves forward to when Neil and Brian are at adolescence's conclusion. We discover that Neil has grown up to be both gay and a hustler, while asexual Brian's free time is taken up seeking the source of and resolution to his insoluble physical ailments. Brian soon deduces that aliens abducted him and meets a fellow abductee, Avalyn (Mary Lynn Rajskub), with whom he finds ephemeral solace.

Neil and Brian's story act in parallel, moving forward and backward over time, but never disjointedly. Neil eventually moves to New York, while his pining friend Eric (Jeff Licon) actually befriends Brian and an endearing friendship ensues. Neil's (unappeasable) pursuit of everlasting male love ends in the most unlikely of places: back home. Brian's pursuit of the truth leads him to, predictably, Neil. Araki exquisitely handles the ending (not divulged here) with the appropriate effusion of tendered emotion by the two main actors (warning: though the film's trailer subtlety gives away the finish).

I cannot give enough plaudits to the two male leads. A long way from "3rd Rock", Joe's sensuous flirtations and dynamic eyes mate well with Brady's tranquil, naive, yet profound, disposition. Brady's last scene with his character's father, as well as the climax, demonstrates his aptitude and assured longevity as an actor (beyond "Thunderbirds").

"Mysterious Skin" evidences many matches made-in-heaven: from film and director to material and actor to music and film. The film is entirely amoral, but not immoral. It is also a difficult film to watch. Many will cast it aside as tripe and trash (along with other morally relative films), but those fortunate enough to engage themselves in the movie's discussion will revel in it long after the credits' close.

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The bit where Wendy left stuartgjthomas
What did Brian's dad know? jaf-14
Will Neil molest boys too? erina1
Was Brian Lackey even gay? ironhorse_iv
great films you never want to watch again winston9109
Sexual abuse is not sexy Gracelovesmovies
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