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The People Under the Stairs (1991)

R  |   |  Comedy, Horror, Mystery  |  1 November 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 22,691 users  
Reviews: 143 user | 89 critic

Two adults and a juvenile burglar break into a house occupied by a brother and sister and their stolen children and can't escape.



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2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Fool (as Brandon Adams)
Jeremy Roberts ...
Young Cop (as Joshua Cox)
Veteran Cop
Police Sergeant
Teresa Velarde ...
Social Worker
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

Plot Keywords:

house | cellar | incest | death | sadism | See All (174) »


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:





Release Date:

1 November 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Wes Craven's The People Under the Stairs  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)


$24,204,154 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Wes Craven was inspired to write this film after reading a real-life news story about burglars breaking into a house. When authorities arrived, the burglars had disappeared but they discovered locked doors with noises coming from behind. Children had been locked up inside the rooms by their parents, never allowed to go outside. See more »


When Leroy is in the kitchen talking to Ruby and Fool, the position of the map in his shirt pocket changes a few times in the scene. See more »


Fool: My name is Fool. What's yours?
Alice: [shyly] Alice.
Fool: Don't be scared. You never seen a brother before?
Alice: Never had a brother.
Fool: No, I mean a black dude. There's black folks in this neighborhood.
Alice: Neighborhood?
Fool: The neighborhood. You know, outside.
Alice: Well, that's outside, not in here.
Fool: So you get outside, don't you?
Alice: [shakes her head]
See more »


Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »


Courtesy of Southern Music Publishing Co., Inc.
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User Reviews

A Home Alone For Adults.
7 March 2004 | by (England) – See all my reviews

I found The People Under The Stairs very entertaining as it combines comedy with suspense. The Mum and Dad character were really creepy but provided the most laughs in the movie which is kind of odd in a way. The kid (who is kind of annoying) is similar to Macauley Culkin's character in Home Alone and the Ma and Pa characters are similar to the burglars from Home Alone too but instead of the bad guys invading the good guys house the good guys are invading the bad guys house. The house is cool as heck with loads of secret passages and gizmos, it's a child's dream play house! It has thrills, suspense, laughs and gore! There is not much bad to say against it but don't go in to this thinking it's a horror movie because it isn't. A darned good flick! 9/10

41 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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