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Label:
Name: SHOUT! FACTORY
Number: SFY15951BR

THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS (1991) (BLU-RAY)
Starring:  Ving Rhames, Everett McGill, Wendy Robie
Directed By:  Wes Craven

"Wes Craven's most satisfying movie." – San Francisco Chronicle

Wes Craven, the director of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, takes you on a terrifying journey inside the most demented house on the street. Trapped inside a fortified home owned by a mysterious couple, a young boy is suddenly thrust into a nightmare.

The boy quickly learns the true nature of the house's homicidal inhabitants and the secret creatures hidden deep within the house.

Starring Everett McGill (Twin Peaks, Dune), Wendy Robie (Twin Peaks), Brandon Adams (The Mighty Ducks), Ving Rhames (Piranha 3D, Mission: Impossible), A.J. Langer (Escape From L.A.) and Sean Whalen (Rob Zombie's Halloween II, Hatchet III), The People Under The Stairs will grab you when you least expect it… and never let go.

Bonus Features
Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Wes Craven
Audio Commentary With Actors Brandon Adams, A.J. Langer, Sean Whalen And Yan Birch
House Mother - An Interview With Actress Wendy Robie
What Lies Beneath - Interviews With Special Make-up Effects Artists Greg Nicotero, Howard Berger And Robert Kurtzman
House Of Horrors - An Interview With Director Of Photography Sandi Sissel
Setting The Score - An Interview With Composer Don Peake
Behind-The-Scenes Footage
Vintage "Making Of" Featurette
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Still Galleries (Original Storyboards And Official Stills)

RUN-TIME: 103 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
COLOR: Color
LANGUAGE: English
REGION: A
RATING: R
CLOSED-CAPTIONED: No
SUBTITLES: English

  
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Posted by Mark Turner on July 28, 2017 2:06 PM
AND YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD BAD NEIGHBORS

If nothing else director Wes Craven always seems to bring to the table something interesting that we have never seen before. With each movie he’s made over the years he’s always made something unique when it came to horror films. Having done movies like THE HILLS HAVE EYES, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW and then SHOCKER, fans of Craven in 1991 were waiting to see what he would come up with next. They weren’t disappointed when he released THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS.

Youngster Fool (Brandon Adams) is a kid with far too many problems for someone his age. His mother is ill with cancer, his sister may be working the streets to keep them alive and the owners of the building he lives in want to evict him and his family no matter what their problems are. Then his sister’s friend Leroy (Ving Rhames) offers him an out. Leroy tells him that the owners of the apartment building are wealthy and he plans on burglarizing their home. He just needs someone Fool’s size to help.

Leroy, his friend Spenser and Fool scope out the house to see about getting in. Fool poses as a Boy Scout raising money but the owner of the house (credited as “woman” with Wendy Robie in the role) tells him to go away. Spenser then poses as a gas company inspector who worms his way into the house only to not come out again. When Leroy and Fool see the owner drive away in her car they break into the house.

All does not go well as they are first set upon by a guard dog. Once they get past that and start checking out the house in search of hidden gold coins Leroy has heard of, they start to find out this house is not what it appears to be from the outside. The windows are barred from the inside to start with. The front door has a doorknob that is electrically charged. And within the walls of the basement there are people, if that’s what you can call them, living in the darkness. Fool finds them along with the body of Spenser just as the owners return home.

Leroy is soon down for the count as the two owners (woman now accompanied by man played by Everett McGill) start to track down Fool. Earlier we were witness to them dealing with their “daughter” (A.J. Langer), a young girl frightened of doing the wrong thing that would set them off on her. Now she tries to help fool along with her friend Roach (Sean Whalen), one of the people under the stairs who escaped and who man has been trying to catch and kill for some time now.

As man tries to track down Fool and Roach things become apparent that this is no ordinary house. Trap doors, secret passages within the walls, hidden closets where man changes into an S&M leather suit to wear while searching for them with his shotgun all help to increase the creepy factor on screen. Just who these people are and what they’ve been doing isn’t completely revealed until the end of the film. Does the treasure actually exist? Are these people really as evil as they appear? And what about the people under the stairs? All is revealed before the credits roll.

This may not be the greatest film that Craven ever made but it did offer some scary moments, some skin crawling sequences and a different take on what could have been more of a haunted house type film. Instead he presents something completely different than what we’ve been exposed to before and that is always an exciting thing to see in a horror film. All aspects of movie making are on well done display, from set decorating to make up to acting. No one shines brighter than the rest but McGill and Robie, having just come off of TWIN PEAKS as a married couple there as well, have some of the scariest and funniest lines in the film.
As is always the case with Shout/Scream Factory releases this is probably the best version of this blu-ray release that we will ever see. Not only are we presented with a crystal clear picture presentation the extras are formidable for a movie that’s this old. Audio commentary from Craven, another from stars Brandon Adams, A.J. Langer, Sean Whalen and Yan Birch, an interview with Wendy Robie, interviews with Greg Nicotero, Howard Berger and Robert Kurtzman of KNB Effects (this was one of their early projects), an interview with director of photography Sandi Sissel, an interview with composer Don Peake, behind the scenes footage and of course the theatrical trailer. Just getting through the extras will take some time and all are well done and interesting, especially the KNB portion.

If you’ve never seen the movie then you can’t call yourself a horror fan. If you saw it once and remembered it then you’ll want to see it again. If you’re a die-hard horror of Craven fan then you’ll want to clear a spot on your shelf for this release. And if you’re just in the mood to watch something that is both creepy and scary then give this one a watch. You won’t be disappointed.

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