We gave it a B
Wes Craven, director of the original Nightmare on Elm Street, takes on the Appalling Family in The People Under the Stairs. A good-hearted young black teen nicknamed Fool (Brandon Adams) is enlisted in a scheme to rob a moldy, labyrinthine house owned by evil slumlords (Everett McGill and Wendy Robie, fresh from their roles as Ed and Nadine in TV’s Twin Peaks and weirder than ever). After his accomplices are brutally dispatched, Fool is made privy to the house’s many secrets, including the movie’s title characters, who resemble Peter Pan‘s Lost Boys as reimagined by H.P. Lovecraft. People is a bizarre fairy tale that never loses its sly intelligence even when fulfilling its gross-out quota. Collector’s tip: Save this tape, because it smells like the start of a whole new series.