Monday, October 12, 2009


From the other side of the mirror, the Other often intrudes: the heroine sees the werewolf reflected in her vanity mirror, the vampire betrays itself by having no reflection. In Dead of Night (1945), a mirror begins to take over the room in which the heroine lives. “A mirror is a latent doppelgänger,” writes Raymond Durgnat in Films and Feelings (231). The Dark Mirror (1946) tells the story of identical twins, one good, the other evil. At a critical moment in Evil Dead 2 (1987), the hero, Ash, stops to inspect himself in the mirror—only to have his evil doppelgänger reach from the other side and grab hold of him, telling him he’s losing his mind. “Mirrors tell the truth, but in a menacing way. . . .,” observes Durgnat (231-32). Hence characters who despise what they are, or what they have become, smash the mirror and hence their own self-image. But mirrors can be also remind us in a positive way of who and what we are, as in the Velvet Underground’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror”: “When you think the night has seen your mind/That inside you’re twisted and unkind/Let me stand to show that you are blind/Please put down your hands/’Cause I see you.” Often a symbol for Narcissistic self-absorption, the mirror nonetheless frequently tells the truth: as Jean Cocteau observed, mirrors are associated with death, because we watch ourselves grow old in mirrors.

Reflections On The Mirror:
Blue Öyster Cult – Mirrors
Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band – Mirror Man
Death Cab For Cutie – My Mirror Speaks
The (English) Beat – Mirror in the Bathroom
Lefty Frizzell – I Never Go Around Mirrors
Chris Isaak – Shadows In a Mirror
Michael Jackson – Man in the Mirror
Dave Matthews Band – True Reflections
The Misfits – Die Monster Die
Joni Mitchell – Moon in the Mirror
Mott the Hoople – Through the Looking Glass
Graham Nash – Man in the Mirror
Rush – War Paint
The Velvet Underground – I’ll Be Your Mirror
The Who – Smash the Mirror

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