Judge David Johnson opened up a boardinghouse last week but got no renters. Maybe it has something to do with the iron maiden in his living room?
Where the rent won't kill you, but something else will.
So when I was in college a few friends and I bought a load of garbage VHS movies from a department store going out of business, crap like Monster High and Voyage of the Rock Aliens and Punk Vacation. One of the movies had a preview for something called Boardinghouse and it looked absolutely abominable—in that spectacularly low-budget '80s trash kind of way. And now, almost 10 years later here I am writing up a review on that very same movie.
Okay, that was a pretty stupid story, but something needs to be written in this space.
Facts of the Case
Try to follow me here. A guy named Jim (director Johnn Wintergate) just inherited the Hoffman House, infamous for murders that had taken place there years ago. Jim's an interesting guy. He's apparently mastered the art of telekinesis, sleeps upside down, strapped to gurney, has an insatiable libido and can't go 10 consecutive minutes without wearing a leopard-skin junk-hugging Speedo. Class-act that he is, he turns the Hoffman House into a boardinghouse and places an ad in the paper for attractive, single girls.
And of course a boatload of attractive, single girls immediately rush to fill the vacancy. What do these girls do? I'm not entirely sure. I know one of them sings lead vocals for a Godforsaken rock band and as far as I can gather the rest of them spend all their time exposing their breasts to each other, getting into pie fights and porking their landlord.
As great a life as that sounds, there's a major downside to living in the boardinghouse: a murderous spirit is on the loose, systematically slaughtering the residents. Can Jim repel the evil with the lethal combination of his psychic powers and genital bulge?
According to an interview with Johnn Wintergate included on the disc, Boardinghouse was made as a spoof on horror movies, which kinds of takes some of the fun out of watching this ludicrous movie. If they tried to play it straight, the entertainment value (i.e., laughing at it derisively) would have been higher, but knowing they consciously tried to make it awful is kind of a letdown. Not that Boardinghouse blew my mind because of its beautiful execution, but when viewed through the so-bad-it's-good lens, it's actually a pretty entertaining experience. So for the sake of the review, I'm going to call shenanigans on the whole "spoof" thing. The film doesn't have any jokes and, well, there's a rape scene and since I've never seen a spoof that could be characterized by that description, I hereby strip Boardinghouse of its right to be considered parody.
Moving right along. The acting is porn-star quality…actually, the whole film has that cheap, homegrown porno look (I was half-expecting close-ups of reproductive organs to break out at any second). Wintergate rocks as Jim the Psychic Sleazebag, though I can't rule out that the whole purpose he starred and directed in this movie is so he could film himself rolling around with topless women and cracking jokes about seeing their vaginas without getting punched in the throat. His costar (and wife), known simply as "Kalassu," plays a girl named Victoria whose primary responsibilities are to learn Jim's psychic abilities so she could team up with him at the end and make constipation faces and use their telekinesis to battle super-crappy special effects, dress in revealing costumes, repeatedly fall in water and glue on some pink spandex and belt out horrendous rock vocals. It's a lot to handle, but she's up to it. The rest of the cast consists of women who couldn't out-act a hamburger but are willing to disrobe at a moment's notice.
Finally, there's the gore and fans of schlock shouldn't be disappointed. Blood is vomited up in buckets, a hand is impaled on an icepick, some guy disembowels himself, a girl rips out her eyeballs, and another girl turns into a yak and coughs up a mouse. It's all poorly staged of course, but like everything else in this movie, it was amusing.
In its DVD form, Boardinghouse looks and sounds a hair better than VHS. Wintergate, Kalussa, Lee Christian and Jeff McCay deliver an energetic audio commentary, though I noticed it was occasionally out of sync with what was happening on the screen. Interviews with Wintergate and Kalussa and some trailers round out the extras.
"Spoof" or not, I'm convinced a night with Boardinghouse and some of your more brain-dead, masochistic friends would translate into good times.
Guilty in all possible ways, but time off for ridiculous behavior.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Code Red
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