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Review: Boarding House (1982)

Writer: Amanda By Night


For those of you unaware of who exactly to blame for the shot-on-video sub-genre, look no further than director David Wintergate who made the first SOV flick, Boardinghouse. It would be easy enough to attack the poor Mr. Wintergate for creating such an ill-conceived movement, but I’ll be damned, Boardinghouse is good stuff.

Of course, you’ll have to forgive its many faults, including the awful opening sequence, which features a very primitive word processor delegating information to the audience regarding the house in question. After a few minutes of obnoxious beeping, I thought I was through with this cheap backyard slasher, but then came the real movie, featuring Wintergate as Jim (looking like a really used up Michael Des Barres) practicing the art of telekinesis in his underwear at his office! We soon find out that Jim has put out an ad for tenants, women only no less, to live with him in his large but rather bland house. Being the 80s, which means tons of women with loose morals, the house fills up quicker than a bar on bottomless beer night. In fact, there are so many women, it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all. I ended up calling them “Blonde Floozy” and “Hot Blonde British Girl” just to separate them all.

Things are sexy, fun and pretty mild until some sort of unseen force starts slicing its way through the estrogen. Luckily, before each gory scene Wintergate threw in a hallucinogenic warning sign so we can cover our poor, virgin eyes if need be. One of the girls, Victoria (Kalassu… that’s right, simply Kalassu), an up and coming rock star (and the only girl with a discernable personality) also has the touch and during a house party, the couple go toe to toe with the menacing force, which frankly was never that menacing to begin with.

Boardinghouse is a movie that has to be seen to be believed. But be forewarned, you must have the constitution of a true horror hound with a taste for the totally absurd to watch it all the way through. Luckily, I am that person, so this was as good as ice cream on a hot summer day. I don’t think I could exactly pinpoint what was so bewitching about this mess of movie, but I laughed the whole way through and I just simply enjoyed the moxey of Wintergate. Plus Kalassu does show some real presence as an actress and a singer and gives the disgruntled audience one character to hold on to.

Since its original release, Boardinghouse has been relegated to the dusty back shelves of video stores, which is unfortunate, especially in this day and age where we’ve reached a new pinnacle of SOV madness. Few of these newer films can hold a candle to Wintergate’s extremely flawed but effervescent sleaze fest. I hope Wintergate is aware of the lunacy he’s unleashed on genre fans across the globe and I hope he’s smiling.



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