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Kissed (1996 movie poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLynne Stopkewich
Produced byDean English
Lynne Stopkewich
Written byAngus Frazer
Lynne Stopkewich
Barbara Gowdy
(short story)
StarringMolly Parker
Peter Outerbridge
Jay Brazeau
Natasha Morley
Music byDon MacDonald
CinematographyGregory Middleton
Edited byJohn Pozer
Peter Roeck
Lynne Stopkewich
Distributed byOrion Pictures
Release date
September 7, 1996
(Tor. Film Fest.)
April 17, 1997
(wide release)
Running time
79 minutes

Kissed is a 1996 Canadian erotic thriller film, directed and co-written by Lynne Stopkewich, based on Barbara Gowdy's short story "We So Seldom Look On Love". It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 1996.

The film stars Molly Parker as Sandra Larson, a young woman whose fixation on death leads her to study embalming at a mortuary school, where in turn she finds herself drawn toward feelings of necrophilia. Peter Outerbridge also stars as Matt, a fellow student who develops romantic feelings for Sandra, and so must learn to accept her sexual proclivities.

Despite being allowed a substantial grant, Stopkewich went almost $30,000 into debt and cost her company $400,000 so she could complete shooting the film.[1]


As far back as Sandra Larson (Parker) can remember, she has been fascinated by death. As a child, she dances with the corpses of animals at night, rubbing them on her body, before giving them a funeral. She performs this dance in front of her only friend, a girl named Carol (Jessie Winter Mudie), who ends their friendship soon afterward.

In college, Sandra studies biology, carefully dissecting the bodies of small animals, trying to avoid disfiguring them. She gets a job at a funeral home to be closer to dead bodies. The funeral home's janitor Jan (James Timmons) believes, like Sandra, that dead bodies still have a soul in them. While driving the hearse with a body in a coffin in the back through a car wash, Sandra looks at the body and finds a shining light, believing that body's soul is alive somewhere.

Mr. Wallis apprentices Sandra in embalming. She starts studying mortuary science, where she meets a medical student named Matt (Peter Outerbridge) who also must study corpses for his major. Matt and Sandra begin to date, and Matt is intrigued by Sandra’s death fascination. Occasionally they spend nights together in Matt's basement apartment, but Sandra always leaves for late night visits to the mortuary to celebrate the dead bodies of young men with dance ceremonies which escalate into necrophilia.

Matt becomes distraught when he discovers that he is competing with dead bodies. He tries unsuccessfully to get Sandra to talk about her necrophilia, so he starts visiting her at the funeral home, which upsets her. Matt has to go to an extreme to win Sandra’s heart, as she struggles with choosing between the living or the dead, with tragic results.


  • Molly Parker as Sandra Larson
  • Peter Outerbridge as Matt
  • Jay Brazeau as Mr. Wallis, Mortician
  • Natasha Morley as Young Sandra
  • Jessie Winter Mudie as Carol, Sandra's Best Friend
  • James Timmons as Jan, Mortuary Janitor
  • Joe Maffei as Biology Teacher
  • Robert Thurston as Detective
  • Annabel Kershaw as Mother Larson
  • Tim Dixon as Father Larson, Owner of Larson's Flowers


At the Sundance Film Festival, director Lynne Stopkewich stated she read the original story, "We So Seldom Look on Love", by Barbara Gowdy in a book of erotica for women, which inspired her.[2]


Roger Ebert described the film as "one of the most controversial films at the Toronto and Sundance festivals" and gave the film a three-star review, noting that it "is about a necrophiliac, but in its approach, it could be about spirituality or transcendence."[2] The New York Times noted that "it would be easy to snicker at this Canadian film, were its subject not handled with a delicacy and lyricism that underscore the mystical rather than gruesome aspects of what Sandra coolly acknowledges is a consuming addiction."[3]

The A.V. Club stated that "There's much of interest here, and though it's rare and refreshing to find a film that genuinely tries to address the subject of death directly, Kissed is likely to leave its audience as cold as the objects of its heroine's desire."[4]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 70% rating.


Ceremony Category Name Outcome
18th Genie Awards[5]
Best Motion Picture Dean English, Lynne Stopkewich Nominated
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Peter Outerbridge Nominated
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Molly Parker Won
Achievement in Direction Lynne Stopkewich Nominated
Original Screenplay Angus Fraser, Lynne Stopkewich Nominated
Achievement in Cinematography Gregory Middleton Nominated
Achievement in Music/Original Score Don MacDonald Nominated
Achievement in Music/Original Song Kristy Thirsk Nominated


  1. ^ Kalli Paakspuu, "Lynne Stopkewich: Abject Sexualities" Great Canadian Film Directors, ed. George Melnyk. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press (2007): 394
  2. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (April 25, 1997). "Kissed". Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  3. ^ Holden, Stephen (April 18, 1997). "Kissed". New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  4. ^ Phipps, Keith (March 29, 2002). "Kissed". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  5. ^ "Canada's Award Database". Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. Archived from the original on May 12, 2014. Retrieved May 12, 2014.

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