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Written and directed by Wes Craven, The People Under The Stairs was originally released in 1991. Now making its Blu-ray debut courtesy of Arrow Video, we take a fresh look at this horror comedy classic.


When a kid nicknamed "Fool" (Brandon Quintin Adams) is roped into a burglary with Leroy (Ving Rhames) to prevent his family from being evicted, he stumbles into far more than he bargained for.  With the rumour of gold coins to be found, they cunningly plan to rob their own landlords. However, in addition to being complete lunatics, the residents also have an abused daughter named Alice (A.J. Langer),  a ferocious dog and people living inside their actual walls!


Played by Everett McGill and Wendy Robie, the psychotic couple are heavily armed, have an incredibly dark past and somewhat of a leather fetish. When it becomes clear that Fool cannot escape, he has to use his wits (and countless hidden passageways) in order to survive their house from hell.


The film has aged surprisingly well, and is complimented by a great soundtrack that really ratchets up the tension. There is also an underlying political subtext about different societal classes throughout.


Packed with comic violence and a Wes Craven sized portion of scares, The People Under The Stairs remains essential viewing and a lot of fun. Fool puts it best when he exclaims "Your father is one sick mother". Brilliant!


Bonus features include an audio commentary with Brandon Quintin Adams, the original theatrical trailer, plus new interviews with Wes Craven, A.J. Langer, Sean Whalen and Jeffrey Reddick. It even comes with a collectible booklet and reversible sleeve art.

Review by: Sarah O'Connell

Review Date: 3rd November 2013

The People Under The Stairs


Rating out of 5:

Review Format:


People Stairs