Entries in John Wintergate (1)


Can Your Mind Handle It? BOARDINGHOUSE (1982) Review

In the year of 1985, a movie by the name of Blood Cult was released, with its entire advertising campaign claiming it was the “first shot-on-video horror movie made directly for the home video market.” This statement couldn’t be any more false. First of all the first SOV horror movie made for the home video market was a 1983 ultra low-budget surreal horror movie called Sledgehammer, and that wasn’t even the first SOV movie! The first SOV was actually released in some theaters, and was released in 1982. That movie is a little glimpse of sheer insanity entitled…


Boardinghouse (1982) Review

The film opens with a painfully outdated computer text crawl (complete with beeping noises) explaining how the Hoffmans, leading experts on telekinesis, were killed in their house and their child was sent to a mental hospital. Several years later, Jim buys the house and turns it into a boardinghouse for “unattached, beautiful women 18 and over.” However, someone or something begins to pick off the girls in increasingly horrific ways. Is the house possessed? Or is it Jim, using his powers of telekinesis for evil? Or is it his new girlfriend, who his also telekinetic and angry about all the girls throwing themselves at Jim? Or is it something else entirely?

Hoo boy…where do I even begin with this one? This is easily one the most insane, nonsensical, poorly written, poorly made slasher movies I have EVER seen. This literally looks exactly like a home movie, from the amateur acting to the usage of every effect available on the camera they used to capture this insanity on film (or cheap video, rather). John Wintergate, the director/writer, also stars as Jim, but I knew that was director before I even looked it up online. Know how? Why else would John Wintergate put in dialogue for the women like, “Oh…you’re soo sexy!” as they caress Jim’s chest in the hot tub? Yeah…I also figured out he wrote it as well!

While the effects are terrible, the gore in this movie is great. There are plenty of intestines and eyeballs being popped out, people getting stabbed, brains being melted, hands being obliterated by garbage disposals, etc. There’s plenty of nudity as well (at times it does feel like a cheap porno that you find in a small cardboard box while you clean out your neighbor’s garage). No suspense, only two or three interesting/memorable characters, yada yada yada LET’S GET TO THE GOOD STUFF!!!

Alright…now let’s talk about what makes Boardinghouse memorable. Well, to begin with, the film employs gimmick that I imagine is parodying the old William Castle films: Horror-Vision! Basically, this tells you that if you have a weak heart or are “easily frightened by shocking gore,” cover your eyes and ears when an image of a black glove appears on screen or when a cheap synthesizer noise is played. Of course, this gimmick is hardly used in the movie (it is used a few times, but is dropped later on in the movie).

The whole telekinesis angle is done to hilarious effect (apparently, you trigger telekinetic powers by inhaling and exhaling as loud as possible), especially when it culminates with a big “telekinesis battle” in the end. And it’s awesome in the stupidest way possible. There’s also a random dream sequence where a girl is chased around by an evil force and gets assaulted by really fake looking skeletons! One girl’s face turns into a pig and she coughs up a mouse. Wintergate’s character sits on a desk in tighty-whities and makes hilarious faces as he exercises his telekinetic abilities. There’s also a cheaper-than-cheap video effect of a ghost, a live band, and a scene where the creepy gardener goes up to one girl (who’s in the hot tub topless) with a chainsaw, she stands up, begins staring at him and gnashing her teeth, and the gardener walks away in fright. Genius*.

This may or may not sound as hilarious as it actually is, but once you actually see it and combine it with the SOV look, you get the best unintentional comedy of 1982. It’s VERY hard to believe this nonsense was released to theaters, but it was. I can’t explain the strange power Boardinghouse has, but for some strange reason, my eyes never moved from the screen and my mind went into a sort of dreamlike state, where I had no perception on time, rationality, or just the outside world in general. It’s that kind of movie. For several, long years, Boardinghouse reveled in obscurity and acted as a “mystery” tape of sorts. Where did this movie come from? What was this director thinking? That is, until Code Red put this out on DVD, complete with commentary and interviews with Wintergate himself! Unfortunately, that DVD is now OOP and fetching collector’s prices, and I do not have a copy, unfortunately, so the origins and making of this movie still remain a mystery to me. And you know what? I’d prefer to keep it that way.

The Verdict: Boardinghouse is a surreal and oh-so-poorly-made SOV flick whose nonsensical moments add up to a seriously demented good time.

Score: 6/10


*Think I’ve spoiled everything Boardinghouse has to offer? Dead wrong, my friend.