By now you’re probably aware that horror legend Wes Craven passed away earlier this week at the age of 76. We’ll talk more about the filmmaker’s legacy later but, prior to that, I want to take a few sentences to remember one of my favorite Craven films: 1991’s The People Under the Stairs. I revisited the pic today for the first time in probably 15 years and it’s just as bizarre, disturbing, suspenseful, and oddly funny as I remembered it being.
Starring Brandon Adams as a newly minted 13-year-old boy who gets caught up in a death maze of a house during a burglary attempt gone horribly wrong, The People Under the Stairs is rife with subtext. Whether it’s Adams’ character (aptly nicknamed “Fool”) transitioning into manhood or the tension between the haves and the have nots serving as a backdrop for the central conflict, Craven makes his interest in socioeconomic inequality clear. On top of all of that deeper meaning stuff, you also get Everett McGill running around in a gimp suit shooting a seemingly infinite number of shotgun rounds into the walls of his own house. The entire film is a fantastic mix of craft and insanity and I encourage you to revisit it, or check it out for the first time, sooner rather than later.
Recommendations aside, let’s get to this week’s Top 5: