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Hoff’s Horrorfest Presents: THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS!

September 4, 2015

Hoff's Horrorfest Presents: THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS!

Hoff’s Horrorfest is a monthly show at Brit Pack (2nd floor, 34 Pell St., Manhattan) featuring stand-up comedy from Hoff Matthews and a guest performer, followed by a horror movie screening. It’s free and BYOB. This month’s installment will be at 9:30pm, Friday, September 25th.

This month’s guest performer: Rojo Perez

This month’s movie: The People Under the Stairs (1991)

I don’t have to tell most horror fans, or even most non-fans, how important the late Wes Craven was to the genre: From Last House on the Left to A Nightmare on Elm Street to Scream, he probably helped reinvent scary movies more times over than any other director. After he passed away on Sunday I knew I wanted to show one of his films at this month’s show; the only question was which one. Since Horrorfest tends to be a good context for stuff on the weirder end of the spectrum, I settled on one of Craven’s most off-beat movies: 1991’s The People Under the Stairs.

Fool (Brandon Quintin Adams) in The People Under the Stairs

Fool (Brandon Quintin Adams) in The People Under the Stairs

Despite what the posters would have you believe, The People Under the Stairs is not about a giant floating skull but rather a young LA ghetto resident named Fool who breaks into the home of his seemingly whitebread landlords, the Robesons, and finds a covert dungeon of murder, cannibalism and incest. It’s a film that self-consciously flips horror conventions upside down: The characters who would normally be seen as monstrous or marginalized are the heroes, while the most “normal” figures are the ones you’ve really got to be afraid of. And this was seven years after the huge mainstream success of A Nightmare on Elm Street; by 1991, Freddy Krueger was killing people through video games in his fifth sequel and presumably earning his creator bucketloads of royalties doing so, and yet Craven was still pushing boundaries rather than resting on his laurels. The fact that this ambitious and hugely entertaining movie counts as one of his minor works says a lot about what an impressive career Wes Craven had.

My guest this month will be Rojo Perez, a terrific comic who’s performed many times on my other show, HP5000, and whom I’m very happy to have on this one. It’s gonna be a good time, as always! See you on the 25th!

–Hoff

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