The People Under The Stairs Review by Tony Roca

Hello Freaks! I’m baaaaack. I hope you’ve all been up to no good! I’m taking a break from my VS reviews for the 25th anniversary of a little film you may have heard of. This is my review of a classic Horror film, Wes Craven’s 1991 masterpiece-


So grab a beer and some popcorn and enjoy!
“Sometimes in…is out”. This film is pure FUN. Craven obviously has a wonderful sense of humor. While this film is absolutely a Horror/Comedy, the characters are rich and their personalities shine from the moment they appear on screen. I think that quality is unique to TPUTS. Although technically a 90’s film it has that 80’s film feel among the likes of The Goonies. The camera work is wonderful and  the film manages to have a tense feel but remain almost light emotionally.

The sets in the film are brilliant. The house itself becomes a character and it’s apparent a lot of thought went into the design. All of the hidden spaces and trap doors and slides and folding
staircases are used perfectly and even give the viewer a sense this could be a real house…the one the kids avoid on Halloween.

TPUTS is a wonderful story of both revenge and redemption that paces itself well, keeps you on
the edge of your seat and gives you an amazing underdog to cheer for. Every character in the film is established quickly and you understand them and care about them so quickly it’s amazing. I think Craven’s writing really shines in this film.

A few interesting things about the film..

The house interiors were used in Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake. The movie only describes
the two antagonists as Mom and Dad, but at one point in the film when the Mom is attacked we hear her yell out “Eldon” to Dad. Hilary Swank auditioned for the role of “Roach” which was written for a male or female. The role ultimately went to Sean Whalen. It is  his debut film and at the time he was playing the 15 or 16 year old character he was 27.

Final Thoughts:

At the end of the day this is a fun horror comedy. I feel it gets a lot of negative criticism from people who take it too seriously. it’s meant to be cartoonish and campy. The acting is meant to be a bit stereotypical and over the top. What it really is is a beautifully written and directed late night popcorn flick. You’ll laugh, you’ll jump, you’ll groan and roll your eyes…and you’ll fucking love it.

I am giving The People Under The Stairs four and a half out of five stars. Now, as always I have knives to sharpen and bodies to dispose of. I’ll catch y’all later.

Oh, and your step.

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