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Blu-ray Review: Scream Factory’s ‘The People Under The Stairs’ (Collector’s Edition)


Scream Factory is back with another tremendously, spine-tingling release with Wes Craven’s ‘The People Under The Stairs.’ Originally released in 1991, the film had just the right creep factor to propel it toward cult status and has amassed a dedicated fan following over the years. The flick focuses in on a 13 year-old boy known as “Fool,” played by Brandon Adams (Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, The Mighty Ducks, The Sandlot), whose family has fallen on hard times. In a pinch to pay for his sick mother’s operation, it doesn’t take much persuading from his friend Leroy (Ving Rhames), a local burglar, to break into their rich slumlord’s house to score the treasure rumored to be hidden inside. However, once the have entered the mansion, Fool and his accomplices quickly discover the nightmarish world of the homeowners; a sadistic brother and sister duo known simply as “Man” (Everett McGill) and “Woman” (A.J. Langer) — one of horror’s creepiest couples. It doesn;t take long to find out they are hiding much more than a few dirty little secrets.

'The People Under The Stairs'
‘The People Under The Stairs’

While Fool travels through the twists and turns of the mansion, he encounters a young girl, Alice, who he thinks is the pair’s daughter. Over the years, the couple has spent their time trying to raise the perfect child, to no avail with a succession of kidnapped boys to no avail. After each botched attempt at child rearing, each of their victims’s suffer a similar fate with the removal of their eyes, ears and tongues. These discarded children are then sent to live in the couple’s sealed-off basement and fueled on a steady diet of mutilated meter readers, wayward census takers and pesky door to door salesman (They’re good eatin’!). It becomes a race against time for Fool to find a way out of this little slice of hell on Earth, locate the treasure he seeks, rescue Alice and the people under the stairs and, most importantly, settle the score with the insane homeowners.

‘The People Under The Stairs’ has always been a film from Wes Craven’s arsenal that has stood out to me. The film offers an adventurous tale paired with some over the top performances for a campy vibe that still delivers some of the scare factor we all crave. Everett McGill and Wendy Robie turn in genuinely disturbing performances that jump from the screen and are rounded out by Brandon Adams’ work as Fool. From a technical point of view, the transfer and sound on this release are solid and did not disappoint. In typical Scream Factory fashion, this release features reversible cover designs featuring new and vintage artwork for the film and includes a matching slipcover. With this release, Scream Factory hasn’t skimped on the extras as the release offers up some awesome bonus features in the form of two great feature-length commentaries, retrospective interviews and more.

Be sure to check out a full list of the extras below, along with the trailer for the film.

‘The People Under The Stairs’ (Collector’s Edition) hits Blu-ray on August 11th from Shout Factory.

‘The People Under The Stairs’ Blu-ray 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)