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Stir of Echoes (1999) Poster

Trivia

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In the hypnotism flashback scene, there is a scene of a safety pin being stuck through Tom's hand. This was not a special effect - a stunt man was paid to come in and have a safety pin pushed through his hand for the scene.
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In the scene where Tom gets angry after digging in the backyard, and kicks the bucket towards the wall, it was not supposed to hit and break the window. This was a "happy accident", and it was used in the film, as Kevin Bacon stayed in character, and continued the scene.
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The hypnosis sequence in which Tom (Kevin Bacon) is hypnotized for the first time, follows actual hypnosis techniques used by professional hypnotists. In order to ensure that the audience hasn't been put to sleep (and some susceptible people have been), there's a musical accent at the close of the sequence to wake everyone up.
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On the couch, the babysitter reads "The Shrinking Man" by Richard Matheson, author of "A Stir of Echoes", the basis for this film.
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When they were setting up the scene where Maggie leaves Jake at her relative's house, it was realized that they had gone over the number of hours the child actor that plays Jake could work (due to strict Hollywood child labor laws). Crew members had to run from house to house in the neighborhood they were filming in to find a child who looked enough like him to appear as a background character (after their parents' approval and a very quick hair cut) to be able to complete the shot.
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During the scene in the Witzky's backyard where Tom is digging, Kevin Bacon was in a lot of pain, as he had pulled a muscle in his neck. Several "prop" lightweight picks were tested for the scene to try and ease his suffering, but in the end, it was opted to use the real (and heavier) pick, as the swings and impacts didn't look real enough on-screen.
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Kathryn Erbe's tattoo on her back reads "T + M" (standing for her husband Terry and her daughter Mave) and features a heart around the letters. This inspired the exact same tattoo placed on the inside of Kevin Bacon's forearm, which stands for the two actor's characters, Tom and Maggie.
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The scene where Maggie is sitting in the car in the rain was shot on a night when it actually was raining very heavily, but the rain did not look "real" on film. The crew had to set up an awning to cover the car from the rain, then rig up rain making equipment under the awning to achieve the look of "real" rain.
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A lot of people on blogs have wondered how the "creepwalk" was filmed. Here's the secret. The speed of the camera was sped up, and the actress was told to walk as slowly, but to appear as naturally as possible. Then when it was time to edit the scene in, they played the footage at normal speed and all the "imperfections" in her walk add to the beauty of how creepy it looks.
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Jake Witzky watches The Mummy's Shroud (1967) on television when his mother tells him to turn it off. Night of the Living Dead (1968) then appears on every channel as he attempts to turn off the television.
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The hypnotist, played by Illeana Douglas, is called Lisa Weil. The babysitter, is played by actress Liza Weil.
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The Writers Guild of America denied Andrew Kevin Walker a screenplay credit for his script-doctoring work on this film, so he receives "special thanks" in the end credits.
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In an earlier version of David Koepp's script, there were some important differences from the finished movie:
  • Maggie Witzky's hypnotist sister Lisa was actually a brother called Philip.
  • To find out what was wrong with him, Tom Witzky had an MRI scan done by a cousin of Maggie's, a neurologist named Elizabeth.
  • We found out that Tom Witzky had first met his wife while working as a lifeguard. His psychic abilities helped save her from drowning.
  • Instead of accusing the Witzkys of having something to do with her sister's disappearance, the young babysitter was worried they were abusing their son. Tom found out she was being abused by her stepfather and chased him out of town.
  • At the end of the movie, Maggie gave birth to a girl with the same psychic abilities as the couple's son.
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Kevin Bacon plucks around on a guitar in the film but in real life is actually a skilled guitarist. Along with his brother Michael, "The Bacon Brothers" have released over a half-dozen albums, some to acclaim, and occasionally tour and/or play live in support of these endeavors.
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Contrary to popular belief and the accepted myth, hypnosis is not like it is portrayed on TV. No hypnotist can make you bark like a dog or cluck like a chicken if you don't want to. It's more of a very relaxed state in which a skilled hypnotist can reach recesses of your mind and help you recall details of memories that you would have otherwise forgotten. Anytime you see on TV where someone says a keyword and someone else clucks like a chicken is absolutely fake and false - it's just not how it works. In fact most of the time most patients know that they are under hypnosis but just feel as if they are in a very relaxed state and very subjective. It's a very different experience than what you see in the movies and on TV.
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Tom's electric guitar (visible during the bath scene leaning against a wall) is a brown sunburst Les Paul Studio Standard.
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Kevin Bacon, Illeana Douglas and Kevin Dunn were also in the Jennifer Aniston movie "Picture Perfect" together.
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The children's TV program where Samatha appears on the TV while Jake is watching on the bed is called Lidsville which aired on ABC from 1971-1973.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

During the hypnosis session, Kevin Bacon is told to imagine a movie theatre where everything is painted black (walls, chairs, everything but the screen). Later, during the rape scene, a stereo plays the Rolling Stones song "Paint it Black", performed by Gob.
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The bar front used in the block party scene is not a real building. It was lit in a parking lot on Evergreen and Milwaukee Avenues on the near north side in Wicker Park, right off the Damen (Blue Line) El stop. Also, the Old Style sign hanging in front of the bar is how many bars in Chicago look, but most of the time the sign reads "Old Style On Tap".
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The movie bears certain similarities to The Sixth Sense, released the same year, but similarities are even greater to two 1980 movies, The Shining (where both son and father see spirits) and The Changeling. Tom (Kevin Bacon) seems to be channeling Jack Nicholson's climactic madness in the scene where Tom argues with Maggie about his digging, which is very similar to Nicholson's harangue of Shelley Duvall in The Shining. With the Changeling, the connections are even closer: both movies involve a murdered child whose ghost cries out for revenge. In addition, the villain in The Changeling was played by Melvin Douglas. In Stir Of Echoes, Douglas' granddaughter Illeana Douglas plays Lisa the hypnotist.
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Liza Weil, who plays the babysitter who wanted to find out what happened to her sister Samantha, actually has a sister named Samantha in real life.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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