Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Brandon Adams, Everett McGill, Wendy Robie
Release Date: Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray Now Available
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
This terrifying journey from the director of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream takes you inside a demented house. Trapped inside the fortified home owned by a mysterious couple, a young boy is suddenly thrust into a nightmare, quickly learning the true nature of the house’s homicidal inhabitants and the secret creatures hidden deep within the house.
Written and directed by acclaimed horror master Wes Craven, ‘The People under the Stairs’ tells the story of a young boy named Fool whose family is being evicted from their home. When his sister’s criminal boyfriend asks for Fool’s help in breaking into and robbing the creepy house owned by the folks responsible for taking the homes of his family and so many others in the ghetto, he can’t resist. Once able to find their way into the house, they discover a house of horrors with odd noises and something living in the walls and the cellar. What’s even worse is that there appears to be no possible way out of the booby trapped home and the owners are quite clearly murderous psychopaths who won’t hesitate to put these thieves down. Now Fool must find a way out of this madhouse before it’s too late.
‘The People under the Stairs’ is a wonderfully crafted horror film and a notable entry in Wes Craven’s filmmaking career. With an eerily perfect score and complimented by spot-on performances from a number of talented actors including Everett McGill, Wendy Robie, A.J. Langer, Ving Rhames and more, ‘The People under the Stairs’ is a solid horror classic that still holds up impressively nearly two and a half decades after its initial release in 1991.
Fans of Wes Craven’s ‘The People under the Stairs’ will definitely want to make certain to pick up a copy of Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray release. While some fans will doubtlessly be disappointed in the need to double dip following Universal’s initial Blu-Ray release of the film less than a year ago, this Collector’s Edition release not only includes impressive high definition video and audio presentations, but more importantly all of the extra goodies you’ve been waiting for, including 2 Audio Commentary Tracks, Behind the Scenes footage and plenty more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below) making this a definite must own that will be worth the double dip to many fans for the supplemental material alone.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray release of ‘The People under the Stairs’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty great as a whole, delivering a nicely detailed and sharp presentation that still retains some mild grain and other natural complimentary aspects, holding up admirably during even the numerous darkly lit and/or fast moving sequences of which there are a number here, never causing anything occurring on screen to become indiscernible or negatively affected. Overall, this is a very solid high definition video presentation that should easily please fans of this horror classic.
The Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray release features both lossless 5.1 channel and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. As per usual I opted to watch with the 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack and it sounds pretty terrific. It delivers a sharp, clean and somewhat aggressive presentation throughout, utilizing all five available channels regularly in order to surround the viewer with the films eerily perfect score in addition to numerous hard hitting action oriented auditory elements such as shotgun blasts tearing up walls, plus a number of suitably creepy effects; never resulting in any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a more than competent 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack which also contributes a great deal of fun to this enjoyably creepy film.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray release of ‘The People under the Stairs’ includes an impressive collection of bonus content. Included on the release are 2 Audio Commentary tracks; the first Commentary track features writer/director Wes Craven, and the second track includes Brandon Adams, A.J. Langer, Sean Whalen and Yan Burg. The release are features a number of interviews and Featurette’s, including ‘House Mother: An interview with Wendy Robie’ (running approximately 19 minutes in length), ‘What Lies Beneath: The Effects of The People Under The Stairs’ (approximately 15 minutes), ‘House of Horrors: with Director of Photography Sandi Sissel’ (16 minutes) and ‘Settling the Score: with Don Peake’ (10 minutes). We are additionally treated to ‘Behind the Scenes Footage’ (7 minutes), a ‘Vintage Making of Featurette’ (4 minutes), the ‘Theatrical Trailer’, ‘TV Spots’, Original Storyboards and a ‘Still Gallery’.