Black October: The People Under The Stairs

October 3, 2011

Many years later, Roach would complain about not even having a fire.

So after I watched The Woman, I went back and watched Offspring, its sort-of-predecessor, and realized how poorly produced it actually is. Not that it’s a bad movie. But with the same writer, the same lead actress and the same themes, Lucky McKee brought Jack Ketchum’s concepts to life in The Woman far better than has ever happened before.

That’s what a good director does. Whether Wes Craven is a good director is up to you, I suppose, but one of my favourites of his is The People Under The Stairs. I saw it again this weekend because my kid wanted to watch something scary and saw Human Centipede on Netflix and said “Whoah, can I watch that,” and I said “Go play Lego for a while.” In the end, I let the little horror junkie watch People Under The Stairs with me, and hey, we had a blast.

I forgot how much goofy fun this movie is. It has its violent moments, and there are some bad words thrown around, and there’s just a tiny hint of something sexual, but for the most part, it’s a strange and surreal flick about an old house and the various long-held-captive zombie-like creatures who live in its walls and cellar … the people under the stairs. And we have, of course, Mommy and Daddy, the landlords, who are so over the top they make Flowers in the Attic look like The Brady Bunch.

  • PLOT: Fool, a ghetto kid whose family, like many others, is about to be evicted just as his mother is dying and needs an expensive operation, is convinced by Ving Rhames, who wears a dashiki, that they should steal a rare coin collection from their landlords. These folks live in a decaying old mansion in the middle of the ghetto, so Fool dresses up like a cub scout and tries to decoy the landlady so Ving and his partner can rob the house. But the landlords are onto them, and have a few traps set … traps that have been used for generations to bring people to the house and keep them there … sometimes for food. Meanwhile, a pretty girl named Alice lives upstairs and has never been outside, and a boy named Roach lives in the walls.
This is a gloriously stupid movie. It’s flawed, it’s faulty and it’s, pardon me, foolish. But it’s fun, and it’s the kind of horror flick you can show a kid without worrying that it’ll warp his mind, which is why Human Centipede won’t be played in our TV room anytime soon. It’s been more than a year and I’m still getting over that one. Craven, though, took a gruesome concept and made it human, creating a horror movie that the whole family can enjoy, as long as nobody has issues with watching a guy eat Ving Rhames’ lower intestine. “No, man, I’m far from okay.”


  1. manonmona reblogged this on Espacio de MANON.

  2. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who loves this film. 😀

  3. I loved this film too… I’ve seen it at least 10 times.

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