After breathing new life into The Twilight Zone and Candyman, Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions banner has set its sights on another classic horror property ripe for the reboot treatment. According to a recent report from Deadline, Monkeypaw has tapped Doom Patrol scribe Ezra Claytan Daniels to pen an updated version of Wes Craven’s 1991 classic: The People Under the Stairs. Daniels himself confirmed the news on Instagram, writing: “I’m still pinching myself.”
Universal Pictures — which distributed the original — is on board as co-financier, with Peele and Win Rosenfeld set to produce. Not much else is known about the project right now, though we have a nagging suspicion it might be the mystery Monkeypaw-backed title slated for a wide theatrical debut on September 27 of next year (Peele’s fourth directorial effort will follow on Christmas Day).
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Jordan Peele to produce reboot of Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs
Redolent of Craven’s early classics like The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes, The People Under the Stairs revolves around ordinary characters who find themselves terrorized by murderous sociopaths living on the fringes of society. More than that, though, the movie also serves as “a merciless and thoroughly gruesome depiction of class warfare and gentrification; a parable of racial injustice told through the nightmarish lens of a children’s fable,” as described by Film School Rejects in 2021.
“When I first read The People Under the Stairs, I was struck by the mixture of horror and satire,” cinematographer Sandi Sissel said during a 2015 retrospective interview with Filmmaker Magazine. “It was also interesting that Wes wanted to do a film with African-American actors as the good guys pitted against the evil slumlords. I must admit that on the first reading I missed a lot of the references to horror and instead read it as a narrative.”
Craven — who passed away in 2015 at the age of 76 — previously attempted to reboot the film as a television series on SYFY about a decade ago. Teased as “a contemporary Downton Abbey meets Amityville Horror,” the show was going to be written by Michael Reisz (Unforgettable). While the small screen iteration obviously never yielded any fruit, we wouldn’t be surprised if Daniels uses Craven and Reisz’s scrapped ideas as a jumping off point for his own screenplay.
Looking for more horror in the meantime? Head on over to Peacock for Five Nights at Freddy’s, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, The Void, The Turning, Terrifier, Apollo 18, Night of the Living Dead, The Exorcist III, The Black Phone, and more!