The People Under the Stairs
|The People Under the Stairs|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Wes Craven|
|Produced by||Shep Gordon
Stuart M. Besser
|Written by||Wes Craven|
A. J. Langer
|Music by||Don Peake
Graeme Revell (additional orchestral music)
|Edited by||James Coblentz|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
The People Under the Stairs is a 1991 American horror comedy film written and directed by Wes Craven and starring Brandon Adams, Everett McGill, Wendy Robie, A. J. Langer, Ving Rhames and Sean Whalen.
Leroy, his associate Spencer, and Fool sneak into the Robeson's household by using Spencer to pose as a municipal worker. The Robesons leave the home shortly but Spencer doesn't return. Fool and Leroy, break into the house to find Spencer, and find his dead body and a large group of strange pale children in a locked pen in a dungeon-like basement.
The Robesons return and Fool flees while Leroy is shot to death by Daddy. Fool runs into another section of the house, where he meets Alice. She tells him that the people under the stairs were children who broke the "see/hear/speak no evil" rules of the Robesons. The children have degenerated into cannibalism to survive and Alice has avoided this fate by obeying the rules without question. A boy named Roach whose tongue was removed also evades the Robesons by hiding in the walls.
Fool is discovered by Daddy and is thrown to the cannibalistic children to die. However, Roach helps Fool escape but succumbs to his wounds. As he dies, he gives Fool a small bag of gold coins and a written plea to save Alice. Fool reunites with Alice and the two escape into the passageways between the walls. Daddy releases Prince into the walls to kill them. Fool tricks Daddy into stabbing Prince and he and Alice reach the attic where they find an open window above a pond. Unfortunately, Alice is too afraid to jump and Fool is forced to go without her. He promises to return for Alice.
Fool finds out the gold he has is enough to pay his rent and for his mother's surgery. He also finds out that Mommy and Daddy are brother and sister coming from a long line of crazy inbred people. They started out as a family that ran a funeral home selling cheap coffins for expensive prices, then they got into real estate. Making a lot of money the family got greedy and the greedier they got the crazier they got. Fool vows to help right the wrong.
Mommy attempts to kill Alice but the cannibal children charge on her. Daddy finds Fool at the vault, where Fool sets off the explosives, which demolishes the house and causes the money to blow up through the crematorium chimney and into the crowd of people outside. Daddy is killed in the explosion and Alice and Fool reunite in the basement. Meanwhile, the people outside claim the money distributed by the blast, and the freed children venture into the night.
- Brandon Adams as Poindexter "Fool" Williams
- Everett McGill as Man / "Daddy" / Eldon Robeson
- Wendy Robie as Woman / "Mommy" / Mrs. Robeson
- A. J. Langer as Alice Robeson
- Ving Rhames as Leroy
- Bill Cobbs as Grandpa Booker
- Kelly Jo Minter as Ruby
- Sean Whalen as Roach
- Jeremy Roberts as Spencer
The film opened at the #1 spot at the box office, taking in over $5.5 million that weekend, and stayed in the top 10 for a month until early December. The film went on to gross over $24,204,154 domestically (U.S.) and $7,143,000 internationally, bringing its worldwide total to $31,347,154.
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The People Under the Stairs has received mixed reviews from critics. It currently holds a 59% 'rotten' rating on movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on 22 reviews. Austin Chronicle wrote, "this is the work of the Wes Craven we came to admire".
Craven at one point said he would like to remake the film along with The Last House on the Left and Shocker. However, after the release of the 2009 remake of The Last House on the Left, news of a remake fell dormant until 2015, when it was announced that Craven was developing a People Under the Stairs TV series for the SyFy Channel.
Universal Studios Florida incorporated some of the film's plot as well as the house into a haunted house several times for their annual Halloween Horror Nights event. It is also featured on the drive-in movie screen in the Twister...Ride It Out attraction.
- "THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 1991-11-18. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
- The People Under the Stairs at Box Office Mojo
- "Weekend Box Office: 'People' Tops a Lackluster Bunch". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
- "The People Under the Stairs – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- Baumgarten, Marjorie (8 November 1991). "The People Under the Stairs". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- Craven's new flick
- Hollywood Reporter: Wes Craven Developing 'People Under the Stairs' TV Series for Syfy
- Entertainment Weekly: Wes Craven rebooting The People Under the Stairs as show for Syfy
- "Event Report: Wes Craven Double Feature at The Aero / Talks My Soul to Take and Scream 4". DreadCentral.
- The People Under the Stairs at the Internet Movie Database
- The People Under the Stairs at AllMovie
- The People Under the Stairs at Box Office Mojo
- The People Under the Stairs at Rotten Tomatoes