People Under the Stairs

The People Under the Stairs

classified 18

Hell Is Other People


Please note: This was screened in Feb 2020

Wes Craven
Brandon Quintin Adams, Everett McGill, Wendy Robie
102 mins, 1991, USA
Primary language

A timeless American nightmare, horror master Wes Craven’s early 90’s sly, satirical shocker The People Under the Stairs was a modern-day fable in which the rich were literally feeding off the poor.

When young Fool (Brandon Adams) joins a pair of neighbourhood burglars planning to steal a legendary hoard of gold coins from the old dark house of his family's greedy and uncaring landlords (Everett McGill and Wendy Robie, of Twin Peaks fame), he discovers a disturbing scenario. Once inside he finds Rottweilers that go for the throat, mutilated children lurking beneath the stairs, and while maniacal Robie invokes the wrath of the Lord, a wigged-out McGill rampages in leather fetish gear, firing a shotgun at the brats in the walls. Trapped with the couple’s stepdaughter Alice (A.J. Langer), who has been spared any extreme discipline by her deranged parents, can the pair escape before it's too late?

Performing a bitter postmortem on the ‘80s Reagan era of sharp divisions along class and racial fault lines, The People Under The Stairs presents the ruling class as overlords of a subhuman kind, brilliantly encapsulating a decade in America where the rich got richer and the poor got deader.