A pre-Pulp Fiction Ving Rhames and a resourceful 13-year-old kid (Brandon Adams) break into the labyrinthine house of their landlord to steal a valuable coin collection – only to find themselves caught in a booby-trapped hellhole with the sicko brother and sister owners (Everett McGill and Wendy Robie) and a horde of imprisoned mutants.
The gigantic, gruesome house is cavernous and foreboding, crammed full of crawlspaces, archaic plumbing, ghoulish brickdust and crumbling plasterboard.
As with Nightmare On Elm Street, the story for The People Under The Stairs presented itself to director Wes Craven in the form of a newspaper article.
It makes for an inventive, sometimes disturbing comedy-horror that, at its best, recalls the early slapsticks of Raimi and Jackson.
There’s even a socio-economic message laid on thick like the make-up effects.
Kelly Jo Minter
Conni Marie Brazelton
George R. Parker