The People Under the Stairs (1991)

R  |   |  Comedy, Horror, Mystery  |  1 November 1991 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 22,709 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.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Shocker (1989)
Comedy | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

After being sent to the electric chair, a serial killer uses electricity to come back from the dead and carry out his vengeance on the football player who turned him in to the police.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Michael Murphy, Mitch Pileggi, John Tesh
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An anthropologist goes to Haiti after hearing rumors about a drug used by black magic practitioners to turn people into zombies.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Bill Pullman, Cathy Tyson, Zakes Mokae
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

On the way to California, a family has the misfortune to have their car break down in an area closed to the public, and inhabited by violent savages ready to attack.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Suze Lanier-Bramlett, Robert Houston, John Steadman
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A pair of teenage girls are headed to a rock concert for one's birthday. While trying to score marijuana in the city, the girls are kidnapped by a gang of psychotic convicts.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Sandra Peabody, Lucy Grantham, David Hess
New Nightmare (1994)
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A demonic force has chosen Freddy Krueger as its portal to the real world. Can Heather play the part of Nancy one last time and trap the evil trying to enter our world?

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Jeff Davis
Swamp Thing (1982)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

After a violent incident with a special chemical, a research scientist is turned into a swamp plant monster.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Louis Jourdan, Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Wise
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

This film is set in Amish Country, at a local farm, where a woman's husband is mysteriously killed by his own tractor!

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Maren Jensen, Sharon Stone, Susan Buckner
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.7/10 X  

A group of bikers, heading to a race, become stranded in the desert and find themselves fighting off a family of inbred cannibals who live off the land.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Tamara Stafford, Kevin Spirtas, John Bloom
Deadly Friend (1986)
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Paul Conway and his mother Jeannie Conway travel to a new town where Paul will join the local university invited by Dr. Johanson. They bring the robot BB that was developed by Paul, who is ... See full summary »

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Matthew Labyorteaux, Kristy Swanson, Michael Sharrett
Cursed (2005)
Comedy | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

A werewolf loose in Los Angeles changes the lives of three young adults, who, after being mauled by the beast, learn they must kill their attacker if they hope to change their fate to avoid becoming werewolves too.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Christina Ricci, Jesse Eisenberg, Portia de Rossi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. When the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won't lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
Scream (1996)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Attempting to cope with her mother's murder, Sydney and her horror movie-obsessed friends are stalked by a murderer who seems to have a hard time letting the past go.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette


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 neighborhood there is one house that adults whisper about and children cross the street to avoid. 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?


Scenes from this movie are shown on the Twister Ride at Universal Studios Orlando. The Twister Ride at Universal Studios allows the guest to experience what it would be like to be in a real tornado or "Twister" which destroys a mock city street during the ride. On the Twister set there are various structures such as buildings, vehicles, and a gas station to include the Galaxy Drive-In theater set. As the Twister Ride unfolds, and before the set is torn apart by the simulated tornado conditions, the Galaxy Drive-In plays scenes from "The People Under the Stairs". An attendants managing the ride confirmed this information, and said they couldn't get the rights to show the other movies listed on the Galaxy Drive-In sign which are "A Night of Horror", "The Shinning", and "Psycho". See more »


When Fool is climbing inside the chimney (just before him and Alice descend down and hit Mommy), you can see the brick chimney wobble as he climbs in. See more »


Fool: [Leroy is attempting to pry a door open with a crowbar to enter the house and find Spencer, who did not return after entering the house] Listen Leroy, this breaking and entering might not be so smart. It's the first day of my thirteenth birthday... could be unlucky.
Leroy: Thirteenth birthday is unlucky anyway. Too old to get tit, too young to get ass... fucked either way.
See more »


Referenced in Book of the Senseless (2015) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"Burn in hell"
23 September 2008 | by See all my reviews

I don't know how I found out about this movie to be honest. I think I was just really bored one day and bought it at a video store. But, I'm glad I did.

The movie is both funny and creepy, and personally I couldn't stop watching. It was quite interesting.

Story is simple but actually quite complex at the same time (if that makes any sense). 3 burglars (2 gangsters and a kid) from the slums break into the house of the landlords of a big apartment building, and become trapped inside and face the horrors that await them.

The best performance was definitely Brandon Quintin Adams as Fool, the 13 year old boy who breaks into the house with the 2 other criminals, Leroy (an early but great performance by Ving Rhames) and Spenser (Jeremy Roberts). Everett McGill and Wendy Robie played a good, insane couple, Daddy and Mommy. And Sean Whalen was really good as Roach, the main child from the basement who lives in the walls.

With a good mix of comedy, horror, and great characters, traps, atmosphere, People Under the Stairs should be part of any Horro lover's collection.


7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Racist movie? psyclone72
An Allegory about American Capitalism and Racism negritude
Best line alx3
B-movie horror suggestions CrescentRoses
This is THE movie that scared me as a kid. slausages
Twin Peaks? howelljl90
Discuss The People Under the Stairs (1991) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: