DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
Ultra HD
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Boardinghouse
Boardinghouse
Code Red // R // April 29, 2008
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Justin Felix | posted June 25, 2008 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Skip It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The Movie:

In the 1950s, a no budget filmmaker named Ed Wood created a series of numbingly inept films that would years later become cult classics. Awful? Yes. But there was something in the earnestness of the people involved in such clumsy movies as Glen or Glenda?, Bride of the Monster, and Plan Nine From Outer Space that endeared the movies to subsequent generations. The fact that horror legend Bela Lugosi bottomed out in these films before he passed on probably cemented the legendary status Wood's films have in some cult circles.

Watching Boarding House (or the one word Boardinghouse - depending upon what you're looking at associated with this film), just recently released on DVD from distributor Code Red, seems at times to be like a 1980's version of Ed Wood's films. In other words, Boarding House is about as bad as a movie can be.

We're talking amateur bad here.

Like, a bunch of kids armed with a VHS camera decided to make a movie for a high school film class over a weekend bad.

And yet, like a horrible train wreck, there's something strangely interesting about Boarding House. I'm not going to recommend it per se, but I can certainly see this film appealing to a small circle of cult filmgoers interested in the unusual . . . and inept.

Boarding House opens with a "Horror Vision" logo and an announcer explaining to audiences some cues in the film heralding that something terrifying will be coming on screen. What follows is a lengthy history of the titular boarding house. Its inhabitants over the years have met with grisly demises. This history is typed up on a computer (like, an old Commodore-style computer) with an omniscient narrator reading the text.

Our intrepid hero, Jim, takes ownership of the home, apparently unaware of its dark history, and advertises for roommates. Almost immediately, a bunch of nubile young ladies heed the call. Oh, and Jim, when he isn't wearing Don Johnson-style clothes and strutting around looking like a young Don Imus, apparently practices telekinesis.

For the next hour of the movie, life is just one big party at the boarding house, as people come and go, enjoying the pool or hanging out in the kitchen, dunking each other with pies. There's plenty of nudity and uninspired music. A magician shows up. So does a rock band. Occasionally, something bad happens: one of the girls gets punctured by a sharp kitchen utensil or a random character is killed and no one else notices. Someone wearing black gloves does a lot of evil things too.

It all leads to a riveting finale where the heroes and the villain stand a few feet in front of each other, breathing deeply and concentrating in a fog-filled room as they channel their supernatural and telekinetic powers. Yes, the tension in this film is positively palpable.

There isn't a shred of professionalism in this movie. Watching Boarding House is - quite literally - like watching an old amateur home movie. And while I can't recommend it, there is something to be said for the Ed Wood - style approach to things here. In the extras, the filmmakers claim they were making a spoof, although that's difficult to tell in the movie itself. If you're really interested in fringe cinema, this may be worth checking out. For most movie-goers, though, I have to say skip it.

The DVD

Video:

Well, it's hard discussing the visual quality of Code Red's release of Boarding House as it's an exercise in relativity. As we enter the Blu-Ray era, technically this looks awful. However, I'd imagine that this movie looks about as good as it can - given the clearly low videotape quality this movie was originally filmed in. The standard 1.33:1 image represents the original aspect ratio. The image is soft, and occasional tape damage is noticeable. Nighttime scenes are not lit properly and often seem impenetrable. But, in sum, I have to admit that this could look worse, considering. Cheap public domain titles on DVD taken from tape often look and sound crummier than this.

Sound:

As with the video, the sound quality on this DVD is relative. The lone audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 and represents the limitations of the source material. For the most part, dialogue is clear aside from a few outdoors scenes. The cheap-sounding synthesizer score, played over and over again, comes across fairly well.

Extras:

A current-day interview of the husband and wife team behind Boarding House, Johnn Wintergate and Kalassu, is present. It's hard to deny their enthusiasm for this project - even with the passing of 25 years. Their plan for a Boarding House 2 starring their grown-up kids is quite something. The interview runs about 13 minutes.

Wintergate and Kalassu also do a feature-length audio commentary, moderated by Lee Christian and Jeff McCay.

Finally, two brief trailers are made available for Boarding House. In addition are trailers for other Code Red DVD releases: Sole Survivor, Nightmare, Can I Do It Til I Need Glasses?, The Dead Pit, and The Chilling.

All in all, one can't complain about the extras on this disc - kudos to Code Red for producing them.

Final Thoughts:

Amateurish - in every sense of the word - Boarding House could have some appeal for cult film fans interested in early 1980s home video-style horror shenanigans or something with a lot of Mystery Science Theater 3000-style ridicule potential. If you don't fall into either of those categories, just skip this.

---------

Popular Reviews
1. The Haunting of Hill House
2. Batman Beyond: The Complete Series Deluxe Limited Edition
3. Christmas in July
4. The Return of Martin Guerre
5. Someone Behind the Door
6. Charley Varrick
7. Light of My Life
8. Seven Days to Noon
9. The Gun Runners
10. Ringu


Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2019 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use