The terrifying childhood that inspired the story of ‘The sixth sense’

The terrifying childhood that inspired the story of ‘The sixth sense’

By Alberto Cano.- It cannot be denied that M. Night Shyamalan He has had a very varied career as a filmmaker. Among his works we find comedies such as The first friends, fantastic fables like The girl from the water, anime adaptations like Airbender: The Last Warrior or science fiction tapes like After Earth, but if there is a genre that has defined his career, that has been the horror thriller.

It was in 1999 that he became an undisputed master of horror and intrigue with The sixth Sense, a film that was not only an undeniable success at the box office, grossing $ 672.8 million worldwide, but it completely redefined horror patterns and set a precedent imitated countless times in subsequent years. With such success it was no surprise that Shyamalan became an eminence in the industry, one of the most sought-after and admired directors in Hollywood and going on to direct other major projects such as The protégé, Signals O The forest, but what few know is that the filmmaker owes such success to experience a terrifying episode.

The Sixth Sense Poster (Touchstone Pictures)

To know this story we must take a look at the DVD extras of The sixth Sense, where, in a video piece, Shyamalan analyzes the influences of his career and talks about a traumatic past as the starting point of this horror thriller that took him to the top.

While acknowledging that his first two films, Praying With Anger and The first friends, were influenced by his identity as an Indian and by his experience as a student in a Catholic school, The sixth Sense He was because of all the fears he faced as a child.

“In each movie you want to tell a little about who you are, a part of your life”Shyamalan declared. “My first film was about going to India and learning about my heritage and the second was about my experience in Catholic school 10 years later. This was about being scared in my childhood all the time.. He told me: “Don’t go out of there, don’t go to the room, don’t go down the stairs, that’s terrifying…”. Everything really scared me. I was a very shy child and the fear of what is in the other room or at the end of the hall was terrifying “.

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In fact, in this intervention Shyamalan gives the example of how the prologue of The sixth Sense was inspired by a terrifying event that he lived through when he was little, in a chilling photograph that his father showed him when one day when he got home with his family, he found the door of his house open.

“This is an example of what I consider fear. One day I went with my family to the mall, we got home, we parked in the driveway and the front door was open. It is night and the car stops and everyone is silent and I say ‘what?’ ”, the director began by explaining.

“I was probably like 12 or 13 years old and the front doors were wide open. My father acted as if someone had entered the house. We were all silent and he, for some reason, comes into the house like he’s Rambo or something. But he comes in and I was scared to death. I was very scared”, he continued relating.

Shyamalan finally explains that the door was open because his dog got stuck and it ended up being opened by the wind, but his father instead of giving him this explanation took the opportunity to scare his son, showed him a photo of a terrifying person and deceived him by saying that it was someone who was waiting for him sitting next to his bed. The director admits that this image tortured him for a long time, being his clear inspiration for designing the beginning of The sixth Sense.

“He comes out and says there was no one there, just Adam who got stuck in the door and it was blown open by the wind. But he said “wow, you know what was really scary? ‘I just got this picture of a crazy person sitting on the edge of the bed waiting for me.’ I had forever nightmares and Vincent’s scene in The Sixth Sense was about someone coming home and there is someone waiting for you there.. Those kinds of images tortured me for a while. “, he recounted.

For those who do not remember, Vincent was one of the patients whom the Dr. Malcolm Crowe, the main character played by Bruce Willis, he had tried in his past. During the prologue we saw how Malcom returned home to enjoy a peaceful evening with his wife, a moment that was interrupted when Vincent, naked and armed with a gun, sneaks into his house and turns the romantic moment into a nightmare when shoot Willis character. This was the starting point of The sixth Sense, and everyone who has seen the film will already know what consequences it has in the shocking final twist that elevated Shyamalan as a master of the horror thriller.

And it can be said that the director owes his success to this terrifying childhood. In fact, when he started walking away from terror with tapes like The forest It was when critics and the public began to turn their backs on him, not regaining prestige until he re-entered childhood trauma with The visit, another nightmarish story where a family situation as everyday as the visit to the grandmother’s house ends up becoming a traumatic ordeal for its young protagonists. Clearly also influenced by the childish images he maintains, such as the amount of makeup his grandmother put on and the false teeth his grandfather put on and took off in front of him (geeksofdoom).

And it seems that in these terrifying personal traumas the director finds the perfect formula to captivate the audience, since after the failures of blockbusters like Airbender and After Earth the director made nearly $ 100 million at the box office with The visit, a film that only cost him 5 million, left him high profits and was key to return to address other types of stories such as Multiple O Glass (Cristal).

Shyamalan was always influenced by his life when telling his stories, as was the case with Signals, dealing with issues such as faith and fatherhood, as well as the fear of old age and the passage of time that The visit and his new movie.

And it is that the filmmaker returns to theaters with Weather, a movie that is also presented as a nightmare story. In it, he tells us how a family sees their paradise vacations turned into a complete hell after discovering that the place where they are is making them grow old in a matter of seconds. The reviews have been quite divisive, as can be seen in the low 55% of positive reviews it has obtained on websites such as Rotten Tomatoes, although the vast majority of previous reactions that were read on social networks assured that it is a new director’s masterpiece.

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The terrifying childhood that inspired the story of ‘The sixth sense’