The Reflecting Skin (1990) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • In the 1950's, a young boy living with his troublesome family in rural USA fantasizes that a neighboring widow is actually a vampire, responsible for a number of disappearances in the area.

  • 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. He must deal with an abusive mother, a father with a charge of molestation, a band of youths creating havoc, and an unforgiving environment in general.

  • It's the early 1950s in rural Idaho. The Dove family own and operate the run-down gas bar in their community. Mother Ruth Dove, who abuses the other members of her family physically and emotionally, hates their situation since everything they own smells like gasoline and grease, despite the gar bar being her idea. Henpecked father Luke Dove spends his time as far away from Ruth as possible - which in part is due to his not so secret past - often reading vampire novels. That starts the fascination their eight year old son, impressionable and mischievous Seth Dove, has with vampires, he believing the widowed "English lady", as he calls neighbor Dolphin Blue, is indeed a vampire. His belief becomes more important with the arrival home of his older brother, Cameron Dove, who was stationed in the Pacific working on the military's nuclear bomb testing, as Cam begins a relationship with Dolphin. Seth believes Dolphin will kill Cam by sucking out his blood. Seth also believes that Dolphin the vampire has apprehended one of his friends, Eben, who has gone missing. These beliefs by Seth are despite Seth actually seeing what is going on around him, but not fully understanding the world, especially adult actions and motivations, through his eight year old eyes.

  • In the 50's, the eight year-old Seth Dove uses to play prank with his friends Kim and Eben in the rural area of the United States. Seth lives with his father Luke Dove, who runs a gas station and a junkyard in the middle of nowhere, and with his dysfunctional mother Ruth Dove, who misses her son Cameron Dove that fought in the Pacific. One day, Luke is reading a vampire pulp and Seth asks his father about vampires. When Seth has to apologize for a prank to his neighbor, the widow Dolphin Blue, he believes she is a vampire. Eben is found murdered and Sheriff Ticker and his Deputy blame Luke that has record of molestation. Luke does not bear the accusation and commits suicide while Seth believes Dolphin killed Eben. Cameron returns and soon he has a love affair with Dolphin while his little brother tries to discourage his brother to meet her. Kim is abducted by a group of youths in a black Cadillac and Seth witnesses the kidnapping. Soon Kim's body is found in a barn but Seth does not tell the Sheriff. When Dolphin asks for a ride to the driver of the Cadillac, Seth does not warn her. What will happen to Dolphin?


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