The People Under The Stairs Blu-ray Review
“The People Under The Stairs” is one weird movie.
With his family on the verge of eviction, a young boy (Poindexter AKA Fool) decides to collaborate with two adults on a job to rob the landlords in order to pay the bills. Alas, Fool and company picked the wrong house to rob as the two landlords (known simply as Mommy and Daddy) are completely deranged to say the least. Not only does the murderous couple have a vicious killer dog and a daughter that they kidnapped, but they also have young disfigured people trapped in their cellar, walls, and under the stairs. Will Fool be able to escape the clutches of these evil people or will he become a permanent member of their twisted household?
Written and directed by legendary filmmaker Wes Craven, “The People Under The Stairs” is a truly demented horror film that opts for laughs instead of scares. From start to finish, Craven’s 1991 film leans heavily on black comedy which is a somewhat puzzling choice considering the content involves child abuse, torture, murder, and kidnapping. Still, there’s no denying the fact that it’s a bold and original genre piece that would almost certainly never get made today
As unique as ‘Stairs’ may be, however, the plot is rather tedious. Most of the story simply involves Fool running around the house or crawling through the vents. At one point, Fool even comes BACK to the house!
Cast wise, there’s a lot of familiar faces here including Ving Rhames, A.J. Langer, Brandon Adams, and Wendy Robie (all of whom give good performances). The real scene stealer though is Everett McGill (who is perhaps best known for playing Big Ed on “Twin Peaks”). McGill gives a gloriously over-the-top and out there performance as the psychotic Daddy. In my humble opinion, his performance single handedly makes the movie worth watching.
Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? The disc contains a decent hi-def transfer that is an improvement over the DVD, but expect to see dirt specs and a sometimes fuzzy picture.
Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? An impressive and lively track that takes advantage of every piece of audio.
* “The People Under The Stairs” theatrical trailer and TV spots.
* Separate interviews with actress Wendy Robie, DP (Sandi Sissel) and composer (Don Peake).
* Original storyboards, a still gallery and a vintage making of featurette.
* “Behind-The-Scenes Footage”- A 6 ½ minute collection of set footage.
* “What Lies Beneath”- 15 minutes of interviews with KNB effects team members Greg Nicotero (of “The Walking Dead” fame), Howard Berger and Robert Kurtzman. Loads of stories here.
* Commentary by moderator Michael Felsher and filmmaker Wes Craven. Craven chats about how the film came about, the film’s ideas and themes, and more.
* Commentary by cast members Brandon Adams, A.J. Langer, Sean Whalen and Yan Burg. There’s a lot of dead air here. Stick with the Craven track.
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