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The People Under the Stairs (1991)

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Two adults and a juvenile break into a house occupied by a brother and sister and their stolen children. There, they must fight for their lives.


Wes Craven


Wes Craven
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2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Brandon Quintin Adams ... Fool (as Brandon Adams)
Everett McGill ... Man
Wendy Robie ... Woman
A.J. Langer ... Alice
Ving Rhames ... Leroy
Sean Whalen ... Roach
Bill Cobbs ... Grandpa Booker
Kelly Jo Minter ... Ruby Williams
Jeremy Roberts ... Spenser
Conni Marie Brazelton ... Mary
Josh Coxx ... Young Cop (as Joshua Cox)
John Hostetter ... Veteran Cop
John Mahon ... Police Sergeant
Teresa Velarde Teresa Velarde ... Social Worker
George R. Parker George R. Parker ... Attic Cop


The People Under the Stairs is the story of a young boy (Fool) from the ghetto and takes place on his 13th birthday. In an attempted burglary (along with two others) of the home of his family's evil landlords, he becomes trapped inside their large suburban house and discovers the secret of the "children" that the insane brother and sister have been "rearing" under the stairs. Written by chinagirl

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In every neighbourhood there is one house that adults whisper about and children cross the street to avoid. Now Wes Craven, creator of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" takes you inside... See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for terror/violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

1 November 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Wes Craven's The People Under the Stairs See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,522,250, 3 November 1991

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Actor Sean Whalen who played Roach was 27 years old when he played the part of at least supposedly a 15 or 16 year old boy in the film. See more »


Kneepads visible on Alice when she falls from the ceiling and attack the Woman. See more »


Woman: What's a mother to do? Lazy brat sits in her room all day, sewing dolls. Children misbehaving in the basement! And one in the wall, doing his business God knows where. You kids will be the death of me... the death of me.
See more »


Referenced in Be Kind Rewind (2008) See more »


Written by David 'Redhead' Guppy & Markell Riley (as Markell Riley)
Performed by Readhead Kingpin & The F.B.I.
Courtesy of Virgin Records, Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

Wes Craven's masterpiece favorite horror film of mine - Home Alone only for adults I love it to death!
26 October 2016 | by ivo-cobra8See all my reviews

Wes Craven, the director of The Serpent and the Rainbow and Shocker, locks you inside the most terrifying house on the street. The People Under the Stairs (1991) is Wes Craven's masterpiece along side A Nightmare on Elm Street, New Nightmare, Scream, Shocker and The Serpent and the Rainbow. This is a Home alone for only adults. I wish I would see this movie as a child, but sadly I haven't. I never knew about this movie or that it exists. I just realize something Home Alone 2: Lost in New York copied the scene from this movie. When Kevin throws a brick on Marv that scene was copied from this movie in which Fool throws a brick on man's had in the attic. This is a horror comedy that it is well acted, well written and really incredible awesome! I love this film to death! I own it on Blu-ray in my collection and I still love it. This is a great horror movie. Very creative and interesting story line along with characters that are very interesting, at times, very comedic. This movie is one of Craven's best I highly recommend this.

This film is in my top 10 Wes Craven favorite movies and it is my fifth favorite movie from Wes Craven that I love it to death. Starring Brandon Adams who played Jesse Hall in The Mighty Ducks 1 and 2 movies. Everett McGill from Silver Bullet and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory. I saw this on demand and I thought it was well played out although the parents were just plain freaks in their own way. The story line was just excellent and the settings gave it more of an eerie feel to it, although the children were an excellent addition, the whole beginning scenes really didn't need to be in there.

Plot: Two adults and a juvenile burglar break into a house occupied by a brother and sister and their stolen children and become trapped. Trapped inside a fortified home owned by a mysterious couple brother and sister, a young boy is suddenly thrust into a nightmare. The boy quickly learns the true nature of the house's homicidal inhabitants and the secret creatures hidden deep within the house.

I love the story, the idea from richer vs poor, you have a lead that it is a kid Brandon Adams is the star and the hero of the film. That is very unique, it is very unique. In every neighborhood there is one house that adults whisper about and children cross the street to avoid. Now Wes Craven, creator of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" takes you inside.

I love this movie to death: It is different than Home Alone. A young boy breaks in to a house by the landlords to steal the golden coins to support his poor family including his dying sick mom with his partner/ sister boyfriend Leroy (Ving Rhames) unaware the house is full of booby traps and no one get's out, no one ever has. Fool has to fight for his life while it is impossible to get out of the house because he is locked from inside. You have full of booby traps, monsters in the basement, ugly mad dog and two psychos in the house chasing fool which is scary. I think Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) would s**t in his pens, if he would be in this house. A.J. Langer is absolutely gorgeous, awesome in this movie seriously she is so beautiful and gorgeous that my jaw drop.

I love the scene in which Leroy defends Fool and shouts to Fool "run Fool" when brother and sister killed him with a shot gun. It also has a heart. Another scene that I love is after Fool escapes from the house later he learns the secret about the landlords, he comes back to the house for Alice who he gave her a promise. The characters, especially the main hero are decent written by Wes him self.

This movie is intelligent and really brilliant. You have to put brains in this movie, because it is so intense. Brandon Adams was fantastic as the main hero Fool. Everett McGill as the psycho brother was great and creepy in a lethal, while Wendy Robie was a great psycho sister in the house.

I also love the music song Do The Right Thing by Redhead Kingpin And The FBI. Wes Craven directed this movie perfectly. His script was perfect and the direction locations were fantastic in the movie. Wes Craven for me was a master of horror and I miss him so much. The People Under the Stairs is a classic horror film and I really do wish I would have watch it as a child.

R.I.P. - Wes Craven (1939 - 2015) I really miss you and thank you for all the Freddy movies, thank you for all horror franchise and movies like are: A Nightmare on Elm Street, New Nightmare, Scream, The Serpent and the Rainbow, Shocker and The People Under the Stairs. Thank you for all your work Wes. I love you so much I wish you could done more horror movies, I really love them.

This movie get's my perfect 10/10 for been one of my favorite Wes Craven horror movies of all time.

The People Under the Stairs is a 1991 American horror film written and directed by Wes Craven and starring Brandon Adams, Everett McGill, Wendy Robie, A. J. Langer, Ving Rhames and Sean Whalen.

10/10 Grade: Bad Ass Seal Of Approval Studio: Universal Pictures Starring: Brandon Adams, Everett McGill, Wendy Robie, A. J. Langer, Ving Rhames, Bill Cobbs, Kelly Jo Minter, Sean Whalen, Jeremy Roberts Director: Wes Craven Producers: Shep Gordon, Wes Craven, Marianne Maddalena, Stuart M. Besser, Dixie Capp, Peter Foster Writer: Wes Craven Rated: R Running Time: 1 Hr. 42 Mins. Budget: $6.000.000 Box Office: $24,204,154

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