In every neighbourhood there is one house that adults whisper about and children cross the street to avoid…
“Fool” may be a streetwise kid, but he makes a decidedly bad decision when he agrees to assist a family friend in the robbery of their landlord’s imposing homestead. What begins as a routine break-in soon begins to take a sinister turn as the would-be robbers find themselves trapped inside and face-to-face with the terrible secrets which lurk within the building’s walls – and under the stairs…
Presented in 1080p 1.85:1 AVC MPEG-4 encode, this is a new high definition transfer by Universal Pictures and I must admit I was surprised at how good this looks on screen.
Detail is great throughout the movie, especially during close-up shots of characters, for example the unshaven faces or the wrinkles on faces really show some great definition. There is some slight grain present, with some dirt specks on the print, which I’m thankful have been left intact as it adds that little bit extra to the print in my opinion. Skin tones look natural with in general colours coming across as natural looking as they can be, showing little signs of digital noise reduction. Black and darker levels are good, keeping a good level of detail in the darker scenes of the movie. Slight motion blur, but nothing too distracting.
The transfer is very solid to say the least, and considering the film is over 20 years old the Arrow Blu-Ray of ‘The People Under The Stairs’ looks great.
Arrow have provided one track on the disc, original English PCM 2.0 audio.
One thing I’ve come to appreciate since doing these reviews is that I much prefer the original LPCM 2.0 audio as it tends to sound more genuine, whereas a lot of the time I find if a new 5.1 track has been made a lot of the track sounds forced and un-natural. I don’t know how ‘The People Under The Stairs’ would’ve faired with a new 5.1 mix, but I am certainly glad that Arrow have included the original 2.0 audio. The sound effects are great and sound realistic coming from the front speakers, creaking floorboards and slamming doors sound very good, with a good balance being kept throughout the movie. Dialogue comes across clear and natural never sounding forced, nor does it ever become overpowered by the score or sound effects from the movie.
Optional English and English hard of hearing subtitles are also included on the disc.
Whilst not a standout track, the PCM audio will be more than enough to please fans of the film.
As usual, Arrow bring an absolute wealth of extras to the plate.
* Audio commentary with star Brandon Quentin Adams (Fool), moderated by Calum Waddell – Considering the age of Brandon when he filmed his role in ‘The People Under The Stairs’ he does a decent job of providing as much information as he can about the movie. It would’ve been nice to have had a commentary with him and Ving Rhames, or better still Wes Craven.
* Fear, Freud and Class Warfare: Director Wes Craven discusses the timely terrors of ‘The People Under the Stairs’ (24 mins, HD) – A good interview with the movies director, where Craven explains how the film is loosely based on a true story and goes into some detail on the production of the film.
* Behind Closed Doors: Leading Lady A.J. Langer remembers ‘The People Under the Stairs’ (13 mins, HD) – A decent interview with Langer, where she talks about her experience on making the film, how she felt about rewatching the film with her husband and how she prepared and practised for the stunts that she performed herself in the film.
* Silent But Deadly: Co-Star Sean Whalen on ‘The People Under the Stairs’ (13 mins, HD) – Sean Whalen speaks openly about his filming experiences and how Craven made him wear a prosthetic tongue to stop him from speaking in the midst of filming to not ruin scenes and having to start over.
* Underneath the Floorboards: Jeffrey Reddick, creator of The Final Destination series, recalls the lasting impact of ‘The People Under the Stairs’ (9 mins, HD)
* Original Trailer
Also included is a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film accompanied with stills from the movie. The sleeve for the DVD is reversible with one side featuring the original artwork and another side sporting brand new artwork by Stephen R. Bissette.
A fine selection of extras from Arrow that is bound to please all fans of ‘The People Under The Stairs’ and Arrow fans alike.
Another one of Arrow’s releases that I had never seen but being directed by one of my genre favourites, Wes Craven, I was looking forward to watching ‘The People Under The Stairs’. I hadn’t heard much about the film, but my time working in a DVD store a few years ago the thing that immediately struck me was the original cover art. This was something that I remember from the UK DVD and was one of those cover arts that always made me want to buy it and watch the film.
Having this land on my door step was a pleasant surprise, meaning I could now watch one of the horror movies that has been on my ‘To Watch’ list for a long time. I didn’t end up enjoying it as much as I did ‘Deadly Blessing, but having said that it is a very good Wes Craven film that I will definatly watch again.
‘The People Under The Stairs’ is another Craven film that is often overlooked, especially by the younger horror generation of today in particular due to the ‘Scream’ franchise and because of everyone’s favourite ‘Freddy Krueger’. It’s a horror film that I urge every horror fan to seek out and watch as whilst it’s not overly scary, it’s a decent horror movie and if you’re a fan of Wes Craven then I’m sure you’ll like ‘The People Under The Stairs’. The sub-text of keeping kidnapped children locked in your basement, especially with events that happen in the world today, adds a little more realism to the film than perhaps it did when the film was first released.
Arrow have done yet another fine job in bringing ‘The People Under The Stairs’ on Blu-Ray, with a good AV package and a very healthy set of extras, this is sure to please the huge fan base that this movie has.