The Thomas W. Phillips Residence from “The People Under the Stairs”Oct 11th, 2012 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
In his comment on my Milbank Mansion post, fellow stalker David, from The Location Scout blog, also informed me that directly across the street from the Beckett house (which I blogged about yesterday) was another famous movie location – the Thomas W. Phillips residence, which was featured extensively in The People Under the Stairs. And even though I had never seen the 1991 horror flick, since we were right there and since I was gearing up for my annual Haunted Hollywood postings, I figured I might as well stalk the place. And I am so glad that I did, because its façade is seriously sinister. The residence looks like a real life haunted house and it is not hard to see why Wes Craven chose to feature it in The People Under the Stairs.
The Thomas W. Phillips residence was constructed in 1905 by the architecture team of Sumner B. Hunt & Abraham Wesley Eager. Hunt was also responsible for designing The Ebell of Los Angeles (an oft-filmed at locale that I have yet to blog about) and the Southwest Museum of the American Indian in Mt. Washington. Thomas W. Phillips, who had commissioned the construction of the three-story Craftsman-style abode, was one of the original founding residents of L.A. You can check out a photograph of the dwelling from its early days here. As you can see, not much has changed in the 107 years since it was built. Love it!
In real life, the massive abode, which was deemed a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1991, boasts 8 bedrooms, 4 baths, a whopping 7,707 square feet of living space, and a 0.40-acre plot of land. Besides being a filming location, according to a February 1999 Los Angeles Times article, the residence also belonged to actress Butterfly McQueen (aka Scarlett O’Hara’s maid in Gone with the Wind) at one point in time.
The Thomas W. Phillips residence was used quite extensively in The People Under the Stairs as the home where Man (Everett McGill), Woman (Wendy Robie) and Alice (A.J. Langer) – and, of course, the people under the stairs – lived.
In the movie, the residence was said to be the Robeson Funeral Home, which was established in 1896.
All of the interior house scenes were filmed on a studio lot, though, and not inside of the actual Thomas W. Phillips residence, which you can see some photographs of here. And yes, the dwelling does have a very large – and very spooky – basement in real life, much like its onscreen counterpart.
Thanks to The Official Halloween Message Board, I learned that the kitchen of the Thomas W. Phillips residence stood in for the Myers’ kitchen in Rob Zombie’s 2007 Halloween re-boot. Unfortunately, I could not find any great photographs of the real life kitchen online, but you can sort of see it here and here.
The Thomas W. Phillips residence also appeared in the background of both the Season 2 episode of Lie to Me titled “Darkness and Light” . . .
. . . and the Season 3 episode of Brothers and Sisters titled “Going Once . . . Going Twice.”
The abode also popped up in 1989’s The Immortalizer and 2000’s The Convent. And while I could not find copies of either of those movies with which to make screen captures for this post, you can see some on The Location Scout blog here. And while IMDB states that the house was also used in the 1998 video Witchcraft, I could not find a copy of the production with which to verify that information.
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Big THANK YOU to David, from The Location Scout blog, for telling me about this location!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Thomas W. Phillips residence, aka The People Under the Stairs house, is located at 2215 South Harvard Boulevard in the West Adams District of Los Angeles.