Believe it or not, 1999 was a pretty big year in horror. It was kind of a turning point also. Sure movies like Scream (1996) and I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) helped usher on a wave of teen slasher movies that no doubt revived a suffering genre. But 1999 saw a wave of different kind of horror, not only the teen slasher craze, but a return to ghost stories. A couple remakes of classics like House on Haunted Hill (1959) and The Haunting (1963), which both had remakes in 1999, only one of them was good. We saw one of the early found footage films in the gritty and raw The Blair Witch Project, along with some kind of end of the world Satanic Panic type of films, The Ninth Gate, End of Days and Stigmata. It was a great year for horror and to he a horror fan. Unfortunately movies like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th were far in the rear view at this point.
Probably one of, if not the biggest horror film of 1999 sometimes is arguably not a horror film. It is, let’s put that to Rest. The Sixth Sense was a massive success and huge for the genre. It brought so many to the theater grossing over $670 million worldwide. That is great and with Scream and the Sixth Sense, the 2000s looked to be a great decade for horror…it was.
Not only did the Sixth Sense deliver at the box office and provided some good jump scares. The Sixth Sense also managed to overshadow another little ghost story. Stir of Echoes came out one month later, but it didn’t matter too much. It made $21 million at the box office on a $12 million budget. So, not great. I guess Kevin Bacon wasn’t a big draw in 1999, not like Bruce Willis. But, I gotta tell you, while I know The Sixth Sense is good and it did so much for horror, a real blockbuster, I prefer Stir of Echoes.
Blue-collar family man Tom Witzky (Kevin Bacon) scoffs at supernatural phenomena — until he lets his wife’s sister, Lisa (Illeana Douglas), put him into a hypnotic trance. Upon waking, Tom realizes he has a psychic connection with his son, Jake (Zachary David Cope). He also has alarming hallucinations of a missing teenage neighbor named Samantha (Jennifer Morrison). Tom, convinced his visions will lead him to the girl, begins a desperate search that puts him into a life-threatening situation.
First of all, Kevin Bacon is so good in this movie and is 100% the standout, even if the cast is pretty decent. There is good chemistry between most of the characters and you feel this neighborhood dynamic.
While Tom is uncovering the mystery of what happened in his house, his family falls by the wayside. His wife tries looking for answers and we get some creepy scenes. There are some legit spine tingling moments and you get totally invested in the mystery until Tom digs up the evidence and learns the truth. The ending is really good and when we see what happened it is shocking. The ghost that is haunting Tom and his family finally gets put to rest and she had reason to be pissed and get her story out there.
I loved Stir of Echoes from the very first viewing. I remember showing it to my then girlfriend Julia and we watched a few times. I don’t think it has aged poorly at all, it is set in a certain moment of time, but I still get a tingles in the spine and hair on the back of neck sticks up at certain moments. I really love Stir of Echoes. I wish it would get a good Blu ray or 4k release. 4k, I don’t really care about, but I know Keith loves the movie and he loves 4k.
I think this is a good one to add to your October playlist. It is, well less modern at this point, but kind of a modern Haunted house ghost story that really delivers the goods. Very good acting and the film looks great. There is one thing I cannot stress enough. The band Gob does a cover of the Rolling Stones “Paint it Black” and it is absolutely superb and in my opinion, better than the original, really can set the tone for this movie.
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Check out Gob’s Paint it Black.