I had the usual quips to say about “The People Under The Stairs”, but I wanted to make sure something was understood first. This film was a genre slam on the Reagan era and how it started the modern neocon war on the lower classes. While Everett McGill and Wendy Robie are credited as Man and Woman, listen to their vocal choices and physical appearance. They are meant to evoke Ronald and Nancy Reagan. On the surface, they are the rich slumlords of the local neighborhood. Underneath the cover, this duo works a kidnapping ring that steals and mutilates kids.
That is when they’re not ripping off the ghetto, killing the poor and using the police to do their bidding. In that sense, the film feels ahead of its time. But, I also have a tiny George Romero in the back of my brain screaming that it’s just about horror and nothing else. Well, there’s a difference between Romero and Craven. Craven always tries to go big picture and slightly intellectual.
The problem with using horror to study social issues is that it becomes easy to dismiss. It’s a film where Everett McGill looks like Rich Little doing Reagan. He’s also dressed up in a gimp suit while defending his secret gold room with a shotgun. Wes Craven knows how to entertain, but does he need to do anymore than that? I didn’t think so as a kid and I’m pretty sure that I stand by it now.
The Blu-Ray comes with interviews, featurettes, commentaries, trailers, TV spots and more for the special features. The A/V Quality is pretty sharp. The DTS-HD mono track is cleaner than anything I’ve heard before. The transfer showed signs of damage at the start, but evened out into a nice clean reminder of horror from the early 90s. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.
Release Date: 8/11/15