Kyle Cubr reviews “Boardinghouse” for Cine-File Chicago


John Wintergate’s BOARDINGHOUSE is an interesting slice of grindhouse horror. One of its most striking features is its unique look, aided mostly by the fact that it was first shot on video and later blown up to film, leaving a dulled and murky color palette whose effect is akin to someone who has had one too many whiskeys. The film wears its influences on its sleeve—THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, HALLOWEEN, and HOUSE ones are the most obvious. Wintergate’s film is pure exploitation and exemplary of the late 70’s/early 80’s slasher genre—from the gratuitous use of scenes featuring women showering to the poorly implemented use of ‘Horror Vision’ to indicate something violent is about to occur. Having written, directed, and played not one, but two exaggerated roles, Wintergate takes a self-serving, almost masturbatory, approach to this low-budget slasher, preferring almost exclusively style to substance. Teetering on the ‘so bad it’s good’ scale of films, BOARDINGHOUSE is a rarely publicly seen work of gore that borders on the pornographic and one whose outlandish parts certainly make up for its paper-thin whole, but damn, if it’s not fun.

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