Gregg Araki (The Living End, The Doom Generation) adapted Scott Heim's Mysterious Skin, a film that investigates the aftermath of two boys' sexual abuse and their very different responses to what transpired. In the first point of view, Neil (Joseph Gordon Levitt) examines the psychological aftermath of the traumatic event and also constructed a personal mythology about alien abduction and UFOs. Let's examine Araki, himself, and his reasoning for filming.
Gregg Araki, dubbed the poster boy of New Queer Cinema, is one of those transgressive voices in popular culture who disregard what many consider morally acceptable or safe. "It's a combination of things. When the book was given to me for the first time, I'm not going to make The Doom Generation," Araki said during an interview in 2006.
When Brian is discovered huddled in a closet in their house, his eyes glaze over, he is shocked, and his nosebleeds profusely. Over time, he begins to unravel what might have happened that night and, with little evidence, comes to the conclusion that he was the victim of alien abduction.
Alien abduction stories didn't really enter mainstream public consciousness until the 1980s. Hopkins, a Nobel Prize winner, helped kick-start a thorough, scientific investigation of the UFO phenomenon and alien abductions throughout the 1980s and 1990s. These interviews eventually influenced films such as Fire in the Sky and the television series The X-Files.
After seeing Avalyn perform a television appearance about her own experiences with intergalactic interlopers, Brian's obsession intensifies. He has a visceral, uncomfortable reaction to her groping him. Most people who claim to be abducted by aliens are regular people with no underlying mental health problems.
After learning of an alien image, he attempts to track him down and instead meets Neals frenemy and cool goth Eric (Jeffrey Licon), who have begun to stalk him. Instead, he establishes a rapport with Eric based on mutual interests.
Brian meets with a badly bruised and beat Neal at the house where the abuse took place, and Neal confesses to Brian what happened that night. The screen fades to black as Christmas carolers sing outside. After all, not knowing saved him from the most terrible thing he'd ever experienced.
Araki (and Scott Heim) included a character and the phenomenon of alien abduction in Brian's story in a sensitive and provocative manner, without resorting to sensational storytelling or shock tactics.