Wes Craven's The People Under The Stairs really struck chords with audiences when it was first released in 1991. Since then, this movie has been discovered by newer generations that have come to appreciate the sheer fun and horror that this movie conveys while still telling an all-too-true tale of the class system in America. Scream Factory ignites the video with a new 4K image that looks amazing and the same DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix to boot. The bonus features are still worth watching, but nothing is new for this release. Highly Recommended!
The People Under The Stairs is one of those rare films that continue to be great and poignant even after three decades have passed (Has it really been that long?). Debuting in 1991 Wes Craven, the Nightmare on Elm Street creator himself, wanted to tell a story about the class system in America and how it unfairly treats a majority of its citizens. Being Wes Craven, the director added some excellent horror tropes in this narrative along with some truly funny comedy that walked a fine mixture combining both ingredients. The results netted the studio and its creators more than five times its budget, which is odd, given that it has almost no star power with bizarre sequences involving S&M and scenes of brutal torture and gore.
What made this movie stick out to other people besides an adult-only crowd is its main protagonist in Fool (Brandon Adams of The Mighty Ducks, Moonwalker, and The Sandlot fame) is a kid about eleven years old who takes on a mess of scary, adult situations. It's through his eyes that these insane and chaotic characters are viewed, which gives the pure craziness of what's happening around him feel more like an adventure, more so than life or death until certain moments in the movie take place. No matter what the case is, The People Under The Stairs is still a ton of fun thirty-two years later that still rings true with the atrocities of landlords and the class system - all told by the guy who delivered Freddy Krueger to the world.
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Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
The People Under The Stairs rents its way to a new 4K + Blu-ray package via Scream Factory. The two discs are inserted into a hard black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. Unfortunately, the cardboard sleeve and the case come with the same artwork, which is the movie poster artwork with the skull over the house. The new artwork for the Blu-ray is not available here. There is no insert either.
The People Under the Stairs comes with a brand new 2160p UHD transfer with Dolby Vision and is an upgrade from the previous Scream Factory and Arrow Video releases. The colors are more natural and vibrant this time around. The sunny exteriors reveal green leaves in the neighborhood streets and clear blue skies above. Inside the two houses though are mostly dank, dark, and old that is ripe with browns, off-whites, and dark reds. The Dolby Vision elevates those white balances and brown colors with the reds to make it look even more amazing than before. Inside the walls of the house, Christmas lights pop brightly, which is a nice addition to the color palette. The black levels are inkier this time around with no crush or murky shadows. The gimp suit looks elegantly wonderful here with the right amount of silver buttons that cover it from head to toe. Skin tones are more natural as well.
The detail is vivid and sharp, thanks to the Dolby Vision in the darker scenes. Those nighttime sequences and dark corners of the rooms inside the house are livened up a bit with those steely black levels that look better than ever before. Closeups reveal beads of sweat, the gory practical effects of decomposed bodies, muscles, and tissue, along with individual hairs, facial pores, and more. Wider shots of the house capture all of the debris from dust and other particles of blood and gore. The textures in the wardrobe, especially the leather gimp suit look incredible. There are no major issues with banding, aliasing, or heavy noise. And the filmic nature of the movie is kept intact with its wonderful grain.
The audio portion here comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 option as well as a DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo mix. This sounds like the previous tracks were imported over from the Blu-ray here.
The People Under the Stairs is still an excellent film that mixes both horror and comedy together in such a wonderful way. The performances by everyone involved are pitch-perfect. The video and audio elements are both the best they've ever been and the extras are all worth watching even though there are no new additions. That being said, whether or not this is already part of the collection, this 4K Scream Factory Edition is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for the amazing extras and technical merits.