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7.6.10

Boardinghouse (1982)


Director: John Wintergate
Starring John Wintergate ("Hawk Adley"), Kalassu
Rated R  Running time: 98 minutes
Released by Code Red

Boardinghouse's big claim to fame is that it was the first shot-on-video film to get a theatrical release. Oh, what I wouldn't have given to see the look on theatergoers' faces while watching this one.

My friends, this isn't one of those movies that is "so bad it's good." No, this monstrosity falls into the "so bad it's surreal" category.

The man responsible for this abomination is writer/director/composer/and star John Wintergate (as "Hawk Adley"). He plays Jim, a guy with poofy blonde hair who loves wearing European-style bikini briefs, colorful tank tops, and frequently practices his extraordinary telekinetic abilities in the bath tub. So Jim decides to buy an old boarding house that has been vacant for years. Seems that the place was the scene of several murders that occured when the previous owners mind power experiments went haywire. Knowing this, Jim realizes that there is only one thing he can do: move in and fill the house with as many single and attractive young women as possible.

Shower scene goes bad courtesy of a monster pig head hallucination 
Writer-director-star-mastermind John Wintergate looks surprised
The lovely ladies of Boardinghouse kickin' it by the pool

So this bargain basement Hefner does just that, and in no time the house is occupied by a gaggle of ladies wearing short shorts and teased hairdos. But all is not well in permland. Weird stuff begins happening. People start dying. Pig heads replace real heads, mice and guts get barfed up, socks get levitated, gardeners start leering, briefs are worn, and psychic powers are unleashed in a colored lightbulb finale where people point at each other and yell.

Boardinghouse, with all of its scenes of Wintergate cavorting by the pool, in the living room, on the beach, and virtually everywhere else with scantily clad group of bad actresses, has the look and feel of an early 80's porn film. However, instead of graphic intercourse we get flying bars of soap, magic shows, ancient synth music, and makeup effects that could have come from Halloween Express. We are warned of bad things to come by the state-of-the-art "Horrorvision" effect - which is a black gloved hand wiggling around in front of a psychedelic background, or sometimes as a blobby silhouette of a ghost. Or something like that.

It's bad. Real bad.  So bad that at times, you are certain to wonder if you are really seeing what's happening on screen. In that respect, there are viewers who may find some entertainment in cracking jokes about the onscreen shenanigans. Everyone else, well, consider yourself warned.

Code Red have done an amazing job on this disc, possibly more than it really deserved. There are trailers, an interview and a commentary track with mastermind John Wintergate and his wife/co-star Kalassu. In the interview, Wintergate insists the film was an intentional comedy, but a producer (or maybe the distributor) wanted the movie to have a harder edge in line with the slashers that were popular at the time. I find this a little hard to believe, but I'll take Wintergate's word for it. He seems like a nice enough guy, and his commentary and interview are the most entertaining parts of the disc.

A sequel is supposedly in the works. God help us.

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