I still vividly remember watching Hellhound: Hellraiser II one night at our family friends’ house. I was alone in the den with a big screen TV and surround sound, watching a skinless Julia smash a mirror. The exposed nerve endings and musculature… That disturbed me more viscerally than anything I’d seen up to that point. Since then, the idea of being skinless has consistently wigged me out.

The folks behind He Took His Skin Off For Me engendered the same ickiness I felt as a 10-year-old, only this time they brought in a little magical realism to soften the blow. But only just.

Honestly, while I’m impressed by the technical skill of the short, something about it reminds me of the kind of story I might’ve encountered in an undergrad creative writing course. I liked these kinds of stories—with a matter-of-fact attitude towards the surreal—but for better or worse, I can’t shake that feeling. Oh well, this is still quite good. And if you find yourself enamored of the short and want to know more about how it was made, there’s a 23-minute-long making-of documentary (which I haven’t watched yet) waiting for you. Enjoy!