The People Under the Stairs (Craven 1991)

The People Under the Stairs (Craven 1991)

This episode brings us out of the haunted house, possession mini-series. One of the films by Wes Craven that has solid bones, and such a strange execution. This was especially an outlier at the time for featuring black cast members as leads. Along with Candyman (Rose 1992), these films attempt to bridge the geography between urban and suburban, and addressing differential black and white experiences at the time.

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The People Under the Stairs (Craven 1991) – please watch the film before listening!
Candyman (Rose 1992)

TOPIC INDEX – The People Under the Stairs (Craven  1990) (times are approximate) 

0:35 – Introductions
5:50 – Movie discussion begins
6:30 – general thoughts and history
8:15 – ahead of its time on issues
12:20 – the issues addressed
13:30 – urban vs suburban geography of horror
23:30 – reversing the stigmatization of hegemonic vs deviant groups in horror
27:00 – the threat is now from inside the home
29:00 – compared to later haunting films
33:00 – inequality motivating the plot
35:30 – ideology vs execution of the film
42:50 – complaints
46:00 – historical context of the genre

50:45 – Grading the film using the Collective Nightmares Evolving Rubric of Social Responsibility

56:30 – how we would improve the film
1:05:00 – context within the genre

Related Episodes

The Comedian (Harris 2019)
Get Out (Peele 2017)


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“Horror films are our collective nightmares.”

Episode 85

horror, podcast, sociology, moving, suburbs, haunting, neoliberalism, neoliberalization of cancer, nuclear family, hegemony, police, labeling, neoconservatism, sexual deviance, sex negative, urban, race, Reagan, Bush Sr, racism, scapegoating, threat is inside, inequality, greed, chase scenes, Wes Craven, blackness in horror, gentrification, geography,