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The People Under the Stairs (1991)

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ON DISC
Two adults and a juvenile break into a house occupied by a brother and sister and their stolen children. There, they must fight for their lives.

Director:

Wes Craven

Writer:

Wes Craven
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Popularity
4,079 ( 1,044)
2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brandon Quintin Adams ... Fool (as Brandon Adams)
Everett McGill ... Man
Wendy Robie ... Woman
A.J. Langer ... Alice
Ving Rhames ... Leroy
Sean Whalen ... Roach
Bill Cobbs ... Grandpa Booker
Kelly Jo Minter ... Ruby Williams
Jeremy Roberts ... Spenser
Conni Marie Brazelton ... Mary
Josh Coxx ... Young Cop (as Joshua Cox)
John Hostetter ... Veteran Cop
John Mahon ... Police Sergeant
Teresa Velarde Teresa Velarde ... Social Worker
George R. Parker George R. Parker ... Attic Cop
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Storyline

The People Under the Stairs is the story of a young boy (Fool) from the ghetto and takes place on his 13th birthday. In an attempted burglary (along with two others) of the home of his family's evil landlords, he becomes trapped inside their large suburban house and discovers the secret of the "children" that the insane brother and sister have been "rearing" under the stairs. Written by chinagirl

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In every neighbourhood there is one house that adults whisper about and children cross the street to avoid. Now Wes Craven, creator of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" takes you inside... See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for terror/violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 November 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Wes Craven's The People Under the Stairs See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,522,250, 3 November 1991, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$24,204,154
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The tape recorder playing a skewed version of "Now I Lay Thee Down To Sleep" is a nod to Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Nancy said the proper prayer before she prepared to meet Freddy Krueger in her nightmares. The prayer is also spoken in Craven's first film The Last House on the Left (1972), and the Craven film title My Soul to Take (2010) is directly taken from the last line in the prayer. See more »

Goofs

When Fool is in the bathroom and the father pokes his head through the door (after firing a rifle at it) turns to Fool who smashes a concrete slab on his head. The blood mark in on the father's right temple, but he was clearly hit in the middle. See more »

Quotes

Fool: [Leroy is attempting to pry a door open with a crowbar to enter the house and find Spencer, who did not return after entering the house] Listen Leroy, this breaking and entering might not be so smart. It's the first day of my thirteenth birthday... could be unlucky.
Leroy: Thirteenth birthday is unlucky anyway. Too old to get tit, too young to get ass... fucked either way.
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Soundtracks

DO THE RIGHT THING
Written by David 'Redhead' Guppy & Markell Demont Riley (as Markell Riley)
Performed by Readhead Kingpin & The F.B.I.
Courtesy of Virgin Records, Ltd.
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User Reviews

 
I liked it
6 October 2004 | by kameleonttiSee all my reviews

Many people dislike this movie but it's good enough for watching, if maybe not several times then at least once. "Don't damage the face", says Mother and leaves Father to punish Alice for being a bad girl. That's it, I'm hooked to the screen. First time I saw this movie I missed the beginning but it works well without it. Actually you can skip the background story with the financial problems and society issues and stick to the horror - and it's comical side. I specially liked the kid called Roach, who had his tongue cut out for bad words. Alice was also great, a shy little girl that tries to be nice for Mommy and not soil her pretty dress, though she feeds the basement people and guides Fool around when the time comes. When you watch a doll being pulled away from you on a string, you must follow it... Find a candle in the darkness. You know you must get out but the door is locked. The only way out is upwards.

There is a lot of nice visual stuff like the old bathroom or running inside the walls and the light drifting in from bullet holes. Mother and Father live in a fantasy where children are supposed to be pretty and behave. Now a few decades ago that was reality, but they are pulling it over the edge by mutilating their children and locking them in the basement if they're naughty. I recall that the kids weren't really theirs but kidnapped from around the area. Many people writing down the plot have misunderstood it somehow. It is quite poor but in this case it's not supposed to be a main attraction. I bet the writer came up with the idea of a sick mother and burglary in order to get money for medical treatment only after inventing the main idea about the house and the brother and sister living together as a couple, herding a bunch of insane children. Well they must have some reason to get Fool into the house, so why not...


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