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Jordan Peele eyes Wes Craven’s 'The People Under the Stairs' for horror remake treatment

By Benjamin Bullard
Jordan Peele

While the modern retelling of Candyman bides its time until next year for a hopeful theatrical release, Jordan Peele evidently isn’t waiting around to tackle his next horror remake project. The Oscar-winning Get Out director reportedly has his feet firmly planted to produce an updated version of Wes Craven’s 1990s creeper The People Under the Stairs.

First reported by Collider and separately confirmed by The Wrap, Peele is eyeing The People Under the Stairs for the remake treatment along with collaborator Win Rosenfeld under their Monkeypaw Productions banner for Universal Pictures. That report states  Peele “is not expected to direct the film himself,” making it the second Peele-produced remake — as with the Nia DaCosta-helmed Candyman — for which he’d hand the reins over to another director.

Universal distributed the original movie, which spun a gripping tale about a pair of desperate thieves and a young boy who learn too late that their L.A. landlords — a deranged couple who rule over a secret kingdom of housebound hostages — were probably the last people on Earth you’d want to rob. The terrors they discover at the hands of “Mommy” and “Daddy” Robeson touched off a critical reception for the 1991 film that praised Craven’s keen eye for satirizing social themes — something that seems a natural fit for Peele’s gift for socially-laced horror.

There’s no early word on whether Peele or Rosenfeld (who co-wrote the Candyman script with Peele and DaCosta) will be involved in writing the remake, nor on casting or a release date. Craven’s original movie starred Brandon Adams as Poindexter "Fool" Williams and Ving Rhames as his accomplice Leroy, with Everett McGill and Wendy Robie as Mommy and Daddy Robeson.

With the Peele-directed Get Out and Us now both in regular rotation as horror movie staples, and Peele’s Lovecraft Country recently airing its complete first season at HBO, Candyman is next up on the calendar in Peele’s scary story rotation. Following coronavirus-related delays that have now pushed the film back to a hopeful release to theaters on Aug. 27 of next year, the remake of the 1992 film stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in the lead role, with Tony Todd back to reprise his role as the vengeful spirit based on horror master Clive Barker’s short story “The Forbidden.”