This decision shouldn’t come as a shock to many, as Peele has been open about his admiration of this film over the years.
Back in 2017, Peele programmed a BAM retrospective titled, ‘The Art of the Social Thriller,’ where he showcased some of the movies that influenced his career, films that included ‘Candyman’ and ‘The People Under the Stairs.’
During an interview with ‘Village Voice’ in February, 2017, Peele spoke about these two films:
“Two films I’m really happy to see represented in this retro that don’t get seen enough are ‘The People Under the Stairs’ and ‘Candyman,’ two of the strangest movies I’ve ever seen.” He continued by stating, “‘People Under the Stairs’ represents, whether intentionally or not, a certain fear of what goes on behind closed doors in white homes. And it also approaches the notion of enslavement of the people they’ve got hidden under their stairs.”
Peele also spoke about the film in a 2017 interview with ‘Consequence of Sound’ while promoting his film ‘Get Out’:
“When we talk about Blaxploitation or ‘Tales From the Hood’ or ‘Leprechaun in the Hood,’ I think those fall into parody town for me. They don’t scratch my horror itch as well as something like ‘Candyman’ does or ‘The People Under the Stairs.’”
The original plot of the film told the story of a young boy and two adult thieves who break into their landlord’s house to look for a rumored rare coin collection, only to find themselves trapped in the house along with its dark secrets.
Some might be asking what Peele’s fascination with this particular horror movie is. After all, it only brought in $5.5 million its opening weekend and received mixed reviews at the time of its release.
The true allure of this film is not in the horror aspects, but the message that lies underneath the make-up and gore. Wes Craven’s film was designed to bring attention to the mistreatment of individuals that are considered lower class in society, whether it be because of the color of their skin or the contents of their bank accounts.
The movie also showcases society’s close-minded approach to the issues surrounding them. It’s best delivered in the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil message in the movie. It’s easier for people to turn a blind eye to the real issues facing the world than to do anything about them; after all ignorance is bliss.
With Peele already tackling social issues with his previous films, ‘Get Out and ‘Us,’ it’s no wonder a modern remake of ‘The People under the Stairs’ will be his next project.
Peele is set to produce the film with collaborator, Win Rosenfield, under their Monkypaw Productions banner, along with Universal Pictures, who produced the original 1991 film. It’s unknown at this time if Peele plans to be further involved in the project beyond producing. It’s unlikely that he will be stepping into the director’s chair for this film but, like ‘Candyman’, he could have a part in developing the screenplay.
Horrorfacts will be sure to report as new information becomes available.