Aki Vs. Evil – The People Under the Stairs

When watching movies, context matters a lot.

Spoilers.

Fool (yes, Fool, or that’s what his Tarot-loving sister calls him) is a kid who gets involved in a burglary with two older gentlemen in order to get money for an operation for his mother and pay the rent. Things don’t go well. The house turns out to be fortified and full of traps, which kill Fool’s accomplishes and Fool only survives by being small enough to fit into small spaces and with the help of a kid who has been hiding in the walls for a while. The house is owned by a couple (actually siblings), who have been kidnapping children and imprisoning them in the cellar when they misbehave (and eating them). Fool not only needs to get out himself, but he also needs to save everyone involved.

Weirdly enough, the couple/siblings are played by Everett McGill and Wendy Robie, who were also a couple on Twin Peaks, which originally came out around the same time. Apparently Wes Craven wanted them specifically for this reason.

Anyhow, I watched this the day I first heard about the McCloskeys pleading guilty on misdemeanor charges after pointing guns at protesters on the street next to their house. While I’m not claiming McCloskeys were kidnapping and eating children, there is a similar whiff of white privilege. McCloskeys are both personal injury lawyers and based on their house they have plenty of money. Otakukart estimated a networth of $50 million, although it seems just to be guesswork. With that kind of money you can get away with things. Not only that, the Mark McCloskey has leveraged the publicity around this incident into a senate candidacy. (It would also seem from the images that the couple is more interested in practicing their Second Amendment rights than actual use of guns, as they seem to lack any sort of training with those things.)

Similarly, the couple in this movie are rich and thus the police are not very wary of them. The police actually do search the house, but they don’t do it very thoroughly. Although, there’s a weird amount of them for the case they were there for. I would assume that if there was an actual report of child abuse, it would be a social worker with maybe a patrol car for support. Here we see a detective (I guess) and at least three other officers. The couple distacts them by simply being quaint. They also bring out guns quite often, but are not very good with them.

Anyhow, the couple are scions of a long line of landlords. They’ve amassed a huge fortune in gold, which they keep on amassing further by using any possible excuses to kick out tenants in order to build office buildings on the land which becomes vacated this way. According to an older man, the family had become more and more crazy with greed with each generation. Which is a notion that we could talk about more in society. Why do we allow inheritances? Sure, there’s a long tradition of them, but why not, as a society, just take that wealth and use for our communal purposes. This is what happens in the movie…. sort of. Fool finds a cache of gold coins, which gets blown up and the locals, who had gathered outside to confront the couple on their business practices, are able to collect them and hopefully use them for something good. Well, at least they’ll use it for their own good, and as they are poor, it will at least remove problems from their lives, which is a win.

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