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Kevin Bacon thinks Sixth Sense caused one of his best movies to flop

Kevin Bacon had the poor luck of releasing a ghost movie right behind The Sixth Sense, and he thinks M Night Shyamalan might have caused his film to fail.

Kevin Bacon in Stir of Echoes and Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense

Sometimes, the biggest enemy of a film is timing. That’s what harmed a production Kevin Bacon was extremely proud of in the ’90s, called Stir of Echoes. A psychological drama about a man haunted by ghosts, the picture arrived close to The Sixth Sense, and wound up living in M Night Shyamalan’s shadow.

“We were really proud of that movie,” Kevin Bacon tells the SAG-AFTRA foundation during an interview. “We were aware of The Sixth Sense, and really begged the distributor to put [ours] out before The Sixth Sense, because there was a real buzz around [that].”

One of the best ’90s movies, The Sixth Sense was a massive hit that defined Shyamalan’s career. You’ve got one of the best plot twists ever, delivered perfectly by Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment. Stir of Echoes was quite close in idea and structure, and Bacon believes only one of the new movies at the time was ever going to suffer from the release dates.

“There was a good buzz around The Sixth Sense,” he adds. “I am absolutely certain that it would’ve been huge regardless of whether Stir of Echoes was first or not.”

Sadly, as he explains, studio brass and marketing had their plans, and moving stuff around at the behest of the cast or filmmakers just wasn’t something they cared to do. Unfortunately, Stir of Echoes wound up suffering at the box office, even though it’s one of the best thriller movies of Bacon’s career.

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Directed by David Koepp, the feature follows Tom Witzky (Bacon), a father whose son, Jake, can hear the dead. At a family gathering, Tom gets hypnotized by an in-law, and afterward starts to realize he’s having visions of those who have passed as well, leading to him solving a mystery.

Different execution on some very similar ideas to The Sixth Sense. They’re both contenders for the best ghost movies, but alas, only one has the pop culture saturation. At least Bacon holds no grudges.

You can read about Shyamalan’s more recent work in our Knock at the Cabin review. We have a list of the best horror movies if you want to be creeped out more.