This is a good, but hardly appreciated movie. It is based to a big extent on the life of its director Robert Hall, a special effects makeup designer whose work includes “Teen Wolf”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel” and many others. He clearly likes (to work on) horror movies.
Imdb.com gives two taglines for the movie: “Sex ... Bugs ... and Rock'n'Roll”, and “There are monsters standing in his way”. The first one is very misleading; the second one is as close to the movie as possible without being a spoiler. All the problems the main character faces have two sources: he has a gift but was born in an obscure town where nobody is allowed to stand out. The director of “Lightning bug”, as we see, managed to escape. How many did not?
There are some elements of gore in the movie. But the scariest scene is without even drop of blood in it. It could be the last one, but the American tradition requires giving the viewers some relief. This scene, and only this, is very depressing and should be close to so many people... But only if they are able to ask themselves why they live the way they live and was this way the only or the best one before them in their youth.
A natural choice of a movie to compare is F. Coppola's "Rumble Fish" (1983). Coppola's movie is a work of a great master, brilliantly executed. As such, it is very dense, explores the main characters deeply, but gives the viewer only clues, and it is even filmed in black and white except one scene and parts of the screen in a couple of others (there is a good reason for filming it this way). "Lightning bug" is more straightforward and does not use any "artsy" tools. Of course, the big plus of this is that its audience could be very wide. Apparently, it wasn’t. I failed to find any information about its box office success, if it had any (the movie was very cheap to produce, I believe). Was a wide release at least attempted? Who was scared more by the abovementioned scene: the distributors or the moviegoers? Or nobody paid attention to it?
P.S. The listal.com description of the movie, apparently lifted from the imdb.com, manages to be at the same time quite misleading and giving away almost everything. It is a spoiler and deserves to be removed from listal.com (and even erased from the web :-)).