This week on episode 37 of the Shock Waves podcast, we had on very special guest Javier Gutiérrez, the director of RINGS, now in theaters. The discussion jumped around to various aspects of his career – from his early short films, to his impressive debut BEFORE THE FALL, to all the abandoned projects in between his first feature and now RINGS.
Among the many surprising features he was attached to, there was the long-in-development remake to THE CROW, as well as a new take on Brian De Palma’s musical masterpiece PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, but the most surprising was that Gutiérrez was set to helm an update of THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS.
Towards the end of his life, Craven was revisiting the prospects of remaking a lot of his early properties. He’d succesfully produced the remakes for LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and THE HILLS HAVE EYES. Nick Simon, the director of THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS which Craven produced, had his sights set on potentially remaking SHOCKER, and it was rumored Craven wanted to reboot THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS.
It turns out, Wes Craven was the first person to reach out to Javier Gutiérrez after the success of BEFORE THE FALL, and THE PEOPLE remake was the project they worked on, which was a dream for Gutiérrez as he grew up a big fan of Craven’s. On the podcast, the director admitted he preferred the raw, early films of his filmography as opposed to the dark humor that was prominent in Craven’s latter films. Considering how humorous PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS was, I had to ask if his proposed remake would’ve followed that tone.
“Mine was more like the movie FREAKS,” Gutiérrez explained. “I was pushing for a darker film. If you let me do it, I will go very dark! So, it was not funny at all, but it would’ve been pretty cool, I thought.”
He admits, “We didn’t get too far, because there were problems with the rights. They were shared by Universal and it wasn’t going to work, so I started to work with Jonathan, Wes’ son, on another project. But I wanted to do that (film) pretty badly!”
There are plenty of fun tidbits in the conversation, including how he met with THE CROW creator James O’Barr to discuss a dark remake more in line with the original comic book. Listen to the episode, embedded below for your convenience!
While you’re at it, check out this fun behind-the-scenes clip from the special features of Scream Factory‘s Blu-Ray release of THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS!