Directed by Wes Craven
Starring Brandon Adams
When this film originally opened, producers didn't screen it for critics, obviously afraid of what they would have to say about it. Ironically, when the reviews finally came out, they were more than positive. After all, this is a Wes Craven movie—and it was made just as he started catching a wave with his career.
A must for "Twin Peaks" fans, the flick stars Wendy Robie and Everett McGill (who were both in that series) as wealthy landlords who live in a dark and spooky house. When some of their poor tenants (played by child actor Adams and Ving Rhames) break into their home, all hell breaks loose.
It turns out there are "people living under the stairs" in the household. In addition, McGill and Robie are homicidal nutcases reminiscent of the psycho crew in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." A surprisingly intelligent, class-conscious and political thriller, "People Under the Stairs" marked a real upswing in Craven's work. He would follow it up with the excellent—and similarly political and race conscious—"Serpent and the Rainbow" and finally the ultra-classic "Scream."
-- Review by Lucius Gore