Jordan Peele has no shortage of original horror ideas (see: Get Out and Us), but he’s also great at identifying older properties that could benefit from a modern approach. While we eagerly anticipate the arrival of Nia DaCosta’s Candyman, it seems Peele’s just added another 1990s horror favorite to his do-over list.
As Collider reports, that film, if the photo up top didn’t already give it away, is Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs, which came out in 1991 amid the director’s creatively intriguing “post-Nightmare on Elm Street, pre-Scream” era (it pairs well with 1989's Shocker, if you’re in the market for a double feature).
The People Under the Stairs—about a kid (Brandon Adams) who breaks into the formidable Los Angeles home of the greedy landlords who’re evicting his family from their apartment, only to discover greed is just one of their vices—tells a multi-layered story of gentrification, class warfare, capitalism, racism, and child abuse.
But it’s also, somehow, a satire, thanks to campy lead performances by Wendy Robie and Everett McGill (who also played a very different sort of married couple around the same time on Twin Peaks), as well as being legit grotesque and terrifying. In other words, it’s the perfect story for someone like Peele, who enjoys digging into social issues while also scaring the pants off his audience. (Did you watch Lovecraft Country?)
Craven, who passed away in 2015, had once been working on a People Under the Stairs TV series, though Collider notes this new version will offer its own take. Though Peele likely won’t direct this one, it’s not yet known if he and Monkeypaw Productions partner Win Rosenfeld will assist with the script, as they did with DaCosta’s Candyman. Also not yet known: when we might be seeing this latest remake heading into theaters.
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