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creatures behind the walls (1991) | Ahead of Jordan Peele’s remake, meet Wes Craven’s social terror

The phrase “there has never been a better time to be a fan of comic book superheroes than right now” could very well correspond to the horror classics. The Halloween franchise is going really well (thank you) with the recent Halloween Kills. Chucky doll got a new TV series. Candyman’s Lair also had its reboot this year, and a new Panic debuts in January 2022. Joining this party will soon have the union of two great minds in the horror genre: Wes Craven and Jordan Peele. The aforementioned Candyman Legend (2021) was a very welcome rephrasing of a concept that was itself very representative. Behind the reboot, a name closely associated with these issues: filmmaker Jordan Peele, responsible for Run! (2017) and Us (2019). It was potato, Peele and Candyman seemed to be born for each other.

Following this line, a year before the release of The Mystery of Candyman (1992), which delivered a very representative horror production filled with very thrilling social issues was none other than Freddy Krueger’s father and Ghostface himself: Wes Craven. And guess what, again, Peele continues with her Midas twist on a project that has her face completely. After a few mishaps with possible remakes over the years, with the endorsement of creator Wes Craven, and a series that would be broadcast on the same SyFy channel (responsible for the brand new Killer Bone series) being put on the back burner, which taking over the project is Jordan Peele, promising to stay in line with what he did in the new Candyman, while honoring the original product.

Representative and social terror, Creatures Behind the Walls by Wes Craven will turn 30 in 2021.

The People Under The Stairs, in the original – something like “The People Under The Stairs”) was released on November 1, 1991, and has just completed 30 years of its 2021 debut. Celebration time for all fans of this cult par excellence, fans of the late Wes Craven (deceased in 2015) and moviegoers who appreciate the works of one of today’s most creative directors, the prestigious Jordan Peele. Everything the filmmaker touches ends with a special flavor, and Peele has become one of those artists we always look forward to seeing in his next endeavor. With him on board, any re-imagining instantly piques our interest. And his choice of that film, say, lesser known or less loved by Craven, but no less memorable, was not for nothing.

Written, directed and produced by Wes Craven, here the filmmaker, as has been said, creates perhaps his most poignant film with the most messages between the lines. Yes, Craven has created horror icons and some extremely salable merchandise like Freddy Krueger and Ghostface, but the villains here are more real and can be read as a great social analogy. The story takes place in a poor part of town, in a working-class neighborhood, where we follow the protagonist, the 13 year old boy Pointdexter Williams, aka “Fool” (Fool), role of Brandon Quintin Adams – a child well-known actor at the time. Her mother is bedridden, her older sister has dependent children, and they have to pay the rent at the risk of being evicted from their dilapidated apartment in an even more chaotic building – a portrait of the ghetto (or our slums).

The boy “Fool” (Brandon Quintin Adams) is the hero of this macabre adventure of Wes Craven.

Much like the recent Korean series Round 6, in which desperate people with no other option agree to play deadly games in order to receive a cash jackpot, the little fool sees no other option to save his family from eviction. than to fall in the direction of the end of the lips. de Leroy, his sister’s friend, role of Ving Rhames. Politicized, he tells how the owners of Fool’s apartment know exactly what his family’s fate is, but they don’t care. As another character in the film, Grandpa Booker (played by veteran Bill Cobbs) puts it, the Robesons, these owners, are involved in real estate speculation and intend to evict the residents of the building who own it. to sell it (so do not make improvements on purpose).

Yes, Creatures Behind the Walls even before revealing fictitious “your monsters” features its very real monsters, which stand out far more than any fantasy. We have seen how Craven continues the political commentary of his film. It is the old class struggle, rich against poor, that South Korea has carried out so well in its latest blockbusters. To spice up his speech even more, the poor and dangerous neighborhood is full of black characters, just like the boy in the lead. And the owners, the incredibly wealthy Robeson family, are white.

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Social drama and class struggle are at the heart of the terror, which is why Jordan Peele tried to re-shoot.

Fool’s desperation therefore makes him accept Leroy’s proposal, that is to say to break into the house of the cruel owners and to rob them. However, this is where we will get the first plot point. As in The Dark Man (2016), the invaded house will soon become the last place in the world these invaders would want to be. This is the formula for “Home invasion”, a subverted film about the home invasion. The thieves will quickly become the victims we seek, once all the madness behind the walls of this grisly house is revealed.

Wes Craven drew his ideas for his films from real (or surreal) situations, which eventually inspired him. For The Nightmare Hour, it was a true story about Asians going without sleep for fear of not being able to wake up. In Scream, written by Kevin Williamson, the inspiration came from a real massacre promoted by young people in the United States. And here she came from another home burglary investigation. After police arrived at the scene, the thieves had fled, but authorities found locked doors in some rooms, where the owners of the house kept their children, never letting them out.

The “creatures” in the title are just children kidnapped, abused and tortured by their “parents”.

In the plot of the film, the ambitious owners of the building who plan to evict the inhabitants without worrying about people, only money, are an incestuous couple of brothers called only “father” and “mother”. These lunatics, of course, are the real depraved and rotten humans in history. These are the big bad guys, an analogy to the powerful entrepreneurs of the world – the so-called 1% who keep the wealth. Craven also wanted to draw a big parallel with America at the time. Adding even more to their stereotype of cruelty, the duo keeps children and young people, children of incestuous relationships who were born misshapen, or simply stolen from the neighborhood, locked in their basement, raised like animals, for whom the perverse patriarch gives flesh humans as food. These are the creatures behind the title walls and at first glance the film’s monsters, especially given their grotesque appearance.

As in The Goonies (1985), in which the Lazy monster ends up being the tragic and abused hero, here the saying “appearing can be misleading” also comes into play, while “the creatures” are in reality the victims of a couple above suspicion. When they are denounced for their grotesque acts, the couple receives the police at their home over tea and cookies. The authorities take care to protect their rights, “good citizens”, while the “scum” of the neighborhood, black and poor, are quickly discredited and discredited.

“Mother” and “Father”, the villains in the film, are an analogy of the rich and powerful, who don’t think of people, but only of financial gain.

For roles of demented antagonists, Wes Craven turned to David Lynch’s cult series Twin Peaks, which was currently on air and in its prime. There is a connection between Creatures Behind the Walls and Twin Peaks that most may not have realized. On the show, actors Everett McGill and Wendy Robie played Big Ed Hurley and Nadine Hurley, also a duo, shall we say. Craven loved the chemistry between the two so much that he was inspired to incorporate them both into his film to perform this unique and slightly more psychotic performance. A curiosity, always centered on the casting, is that the two Oscar-winning actress Hillary Swank starred for one of the roles of the film, the “creature” Roach (or Cockroach in translation), one of the young people who help Fool and has his tongue cut out. Although he is a male in the film (played by actor Sean Whalen), in the screenplay he was written to be male or female, depending on the hired actor. Swank didn’t get the role, but three years later he will star in Karate Kid 4.

Creatures Behind the Walls has a lot of great ideas between the lines, but the result ends up feeling unsubtle and extremely cartoonish and over the top. Well, let’s not forget that this is a genre film, but it works like a critic. Wes Craven’s “social drama” and class struggle disguised as a horror flick turned out to be a box office success despite mixed reviews and little resonance – it’s increasingly being rediscovered as a cult these days. -this. The great critic Roger Ebert, for example, called it “forgot me at the funeral”. Despite this, the film paid for itself on its opening weekend and with a budget of $ 6 million, it raised $ 31 million worldwide for Universal Pictures. In its debut weekend, it remained at the top of the charts at # 1 for most viewed movies, eclipsing stiff competition from blockbusters such as Highlander 2 – The Resurrection and Billy Bathgate – The World At Your Feet.

As such, Jordan Peele’s re-imagining, possibly more focused on some realism, is welcome and promises to update this timeless story for today. Time passes, but all does not change.

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