Friday, 8 November 2013
Blu-Ray Review: The People Under The Stairs
Some 22 years after its big screen debut, Wes Craven's The People Under The Stairs is, sadly, more relevant than ever. Here, child abuse and the plight of the disenfranchised come under the spotlight as class warfare erupts behind the locked doors and windows of what can only be described as a house of horrors.
Arrow Video's Blu-ray has robust colours and plenty of detail, even in dimly lit scenes which benefit hugely from a HD picture. There are several instances of edge enhancement, but these can be attributed to the fact that Universal supplied the HD master and no blame for these isolated glitches can be laid at Arrow's door. On the extras front, the excellent High Rising Productions (Calum Waddell, Naomi Holwill)have worked hard on a quartet of featurettes:
Fear, Freud And Class Warfare
This features Wes Craven talking about his film, revealing the idea came to him from a newspaper report concerning a couple who kept two children locked in their house. Craven also chats about the challenges of working with children, and declares 'People' to be one of his most unfettered personal works.
Behind Closed Doors
A 13 minute interview with A.J. Lang who recalls the connection she made with Craven, and also Wendy Robie who remains a close friend.
Silent But Deadly
A 14 minute interview with Sean Whalen who recalls what a great time he had playing the little rebel in the house, and the experiences of what was his screen debut.
Underneath The Floorboards
A 9 minute piece featuring Jeffrey Riddick, who chats about the impact of Craven's film and declares Wendy Robie to be his favourite character.
Fans of Brandon Adams' performance will be delighted by the inclusion of a commentary track, which is beautifully moderated by Calum Waddell. Adams proved extremely difficult to track down, but his memories of working with Craven and McGill(a personal hero, even at Adams' tender age) amongst others made the effort worthwhile.
The People Under The Stairs is out now on, and represents a good solid addition to Arrow's increasingly impressive catalogue.