Triskaidekafiles

Triskaidekafiles is a love letter to cheesy cinema from the 80s and 90s, with the occasional dip into other eras.  if you're a fan of MST3K, Elvira, Joe Bob Briggs, or just bad horror movies in general, Trisk is the place for you.

Boardinghouse (1982)

BOARDINGHOUSE

WRITER: Screenplay by Jonema

DIRECTOR: Johnn Wintergate

STARRING: Hawk Adley as Jim Royce/Gardener

Kalassu as Victoria

Alexandra Day as Debbie Hoffman

Joel Riordan as Joel Weintraub

Belma Kora as Sandy

Mary McKinley as Cindy

Tracy O'Brian as Suzie

Rosane Woods as Gloria

Cindy Williamson as Pam

QUICK CUT: A man inherits a home and turns it into a boardinghouse for a lot of ladies. Sexytimes and wackiness ensues, as he teaches them about life, the universe, and everything.

THE MORGUE

Jim - A businessman who works in technology systems, and also a bit of a ladies man. His plan to turn the new house into a boardinghouse is not about making money. He’s also into new age betterment, and telepathic powers

Victoria - One of his new tennants, a singer, and taken with her new landlord.

Pam - Victoria’s chief rival in the music business.

Cindy - A young woman on the run from an abusive relationship, who comes to stay with Jim and the girls to get herself together.

Debbie - A young woman who comes late to the party, but they find room in their hearts and lives for the shy girl who likes to dig in the garden.

The (Boarding) House That Dripped Blood

The (Boarding) House That Dripped Blood

TRISK ANALYSIS: Welcome back, Triskelions! This was the movie I wanted to do last time, and once I get into it, you will understand why I swapped it and Slaughterhouse. Boardinghouse has two versions, a regular 90 minute or so long cut, and a director's cut that is TWO HOURS AND 30 MINUTES LONG. I could have just done the short version, sure, but there are REASONS to do that longer cut, and I just could not slog it through when I was trying to decide which movie to do first.

But I can't put it off any more...well, I COULD, it's my damned site, but I suffer for my art, and your entertainment, so grab a drink, take a pee, and get comfy. This is gonna be a long ‘un. Well, maybe not for you, dear readers, since there’s a LOT I am gonna skip over.

The movie opens up with an amazing "Horror Vision" warning for anyone who might have a heart condition, to cover their eyes and ears whenever a certain sound is heard, or they show a flexing black glove. Me, I say that's our drinking game.

I am such a sucker for this sort of stuff. It is such a great throwback, and way to entice the audience, and warn them of upcoming horrors.

Boarding House
Starring John Wintergate
I remembuh, I remembuh…

I remembuh, I remembuh…

From there, we get a LOT of computer text explaining previous horrific events in the titular soon to be Boardinghouse, but it's such a horrible way to deliver exposition...

At least they do cut sometimes away from the text to show us the murders, so it's not a total waste, and a good way to build up the lore.

Because otherwise, who will know what evil lurks in the Hoffman house?

The Shadow knows!

The Shadow knows!

After all that, we FINALLY meet the star, writer, and director of the movie, the nephew of one of the previous owners, who has been left the house in their will. And thus the plot begins.

But oh, the true wonderment of this movie begins, as it fade cuts every couple of seconds to another part of the scene, or sometimes the SAME part of the scene! When it's not dissolving or wiping instead. Oh yes, this movie breaks out ALL the gimmicks, and does not stop using them. Boardinghouse never met a scene transition it didn’t like.

We also get introduced to the gardener that comes with the house, as part of the will. He's an old army buddy of Jim's uncle, and he stays with the house as a reward for helping them during the war. He's weird, he's off putting, he's threatening, and he is totally the killer.

Meanwhile, we visit a hospital where a patient is being taken care of...until they make their nurse hang herself, and an orderly tears his own guts out, letting the Hoffman kid escape.

That took guts.

That took guts.

We spend a lot of time with Jim sitting mostly unclothed in his office, while he hones his own mental powers, and ohgod, this movie has a lot - A LOT - of new age woo in it. But at least he'll be ready for any future battles on the psychic plane.

Finally we get to meet the girls that Jim has invited to live in his house, and that doesn't sound creepy at ALL, does it? Single man renting rooms to a bevy of babes? And most of them are largely forgettable, save for the obvious lead, Victoria, played by Jim's wife.

Oh, there IS a subplot with one of the girls, with an ex lover trying to hunt her down after she left him. I'll float around this plot a bit when it comes up, or the PI is around. It’s one of the few storylines the movie bothers with.

IT’S OVER NINE THOUSAND!!

IT’S OVER NINE THOUSAND!!

That's when another girl shows up, Debbie, who is a shy quiet type, but she might be too late, because all the rooms are rented. THE HORROR. But there is ONE room, a child's room, with all the stuff still left in it from some of the previous owners, because why would you clean up before renting out rooms?

Fortunately, the room is fine for her, and she takes it, because it's better than nothing, and she doesn't need much space.

Also since I haven't brought it up in awhile, STOP STOP WITH ALL THE CUTTING AND WIPING AND FADING!

This movie's editing makes an MTV music video feel languidly paced.

It’s a living!

It’s a living!

I don't remember how much of this is in the original cut right now, but this middle part of the movie starts to lag, as everyone just kinda sits around the house, gets to know each other, swims in the pool, and we just kinda...wait.

It's at least got dribbles of weird stuff happening, like bleeding walls, girls seeing their faces change into monstrous forms in the mirror, and the ever present Jawa lurking around. But you can tell they're just kinda waiting for stuff to happen.

This movie is VERY stream of consciousness, with less of a plot, and more like just flowing from one moment to the next. The theatrical cut is thankfully far more focused and less of that, but even then...

Someone needs to put her face on…

Someone needs to put her face on…

Blah blah blah, more sitting around the pool, changing light bulbs, creepy gardener, sleeping with tenants...it has been far too long since I've seen a gloved hand warn me that I might have a heart attack.

Oh right, the PI subplot. He pays off some girls to be mean to him and shove him out of a car, so he can inveigle his way inside, and look around.

He checks out things, investigates the girl he's been hired to find, and makes the mistake of going upstairs, which is explicitly against the the rules.

So why did you become a landlord…?

So why did you become a landlord…?

In fact, it's so against the rules, that he is told to go upstairs so get his wet clothes upstairs and heeeey.

But this DOES lead to the most amazing fight ever. This confrontation leads to him trying to punch Jim, who easily uses his mind and body control to dodge, shove Harris into the pool, all with that same amazing editing we've seen so far.

Seriously, the never ending visual assault is almost - ALMOST - worth this slog.

But anyways, the force living in the house doesn't want Harris to leave, so makes sure to electrocute him and hide the body.

Scooby Doo Meets the Giallo Ghost

Scooby Doo Meets the Giallo Ghost

There are SO MANY useless plot points in this. Victoria and Pam have this rivalry, with scenes that make NO SENSE, Jim's buddy Joel who just shows up to forget his lines, and more besides.

Meanwhile, the girls have noticed Jim is a bit weird, and I don't mean his creepy lurker vibe. I mean his listening to mind control tapes. So they send Victoria in to swipe some of his tapes and find out what the deal is.

And the movie dives deep into the land of woowoo pyramid power that it has been dancing around so far. I roll my eyes, but I do also kinda love that it at least has some lore and mythology behind it.

Some cops come by for some reason, I guess to investigate the missing PI, and Carl is an old friend of Jim's. I kinda really like him. He's got this effortless charm to him that pours off screen.

They don't find anything except for some pot, and Carl does his best to cover for his old friend. They make plans to get back together at the party they mentioned three hours ago...

So yeah, the middle act/hour of this SERIOUSLY lags yes, but finally Victoria has a nightmare, and a hand bursts up out of her bed, and that's the sign things are finally gonna start happening. There's a bit more to get through, but at least I feel like we're back on track.

Vicky also sounds like a monkey as she screams, and I think they just had one they kept replaying.

HEY DEBBIE WANNA CHECK OUT MY NEW CHAINSAW AND HOCKEY MASK??

HEY DEBBIE WANNA CHECK OUT MY NEW CHAINSAW AND HOCKEY MASK??

Finally, the guy who hired the PI shows up to confront Cindy himself, and oh yay, an extended flashback to her rape. That's what this movie needed!

The two head upstairs to talk, so much for that rule, and there JUST so happens to be a gun laying around, because that's safe. He yells at her a bit, then leaves.

So whatever the force is in the house messing with people, it moves the gun around and badly shoots at Cindy. Huh, I guess guns DO kill people. Or they could, since it missed, but leave me with my joke dangit.

You shout MY HAIR!!

You shout MY HAIR!!

Jim rushes in to 'comfort' her, and they head down to the beach so he can do exactly that. This seems normal.

He starts babbling more about his philosophy and opening your mind, and even dares to mention Yuri Gellar...who is a known faker and cheat. But hey!

But long past when this scene gets interminable, the giallo ghost shows up, clocks Jim in the back of the head with a rock, and makes Cindy's brain melt out her nose.

Me trying to comprehend this movie.

Me trying to comprehend this movie.

Jim wakes up, after Cindy has walked off into the ocean, and he thinks nothing of it, because he finds a note. Which doesn't explain someone attacking him, but oh well!

The party draws ever closer as the band arrives to set up, and Victoria does some vacuuming in this THRILLING HORROR MOVIE...and everyone else heads out for dinner. But at least there's more monkey screaming.

Later that night, the peeping jawa shows up and takes Victoria's cat, and I SWEAR TO THE PHOENIX IF YOU HURT THE KITTY...

Just floatin’ an egg in the air like it’s normal.

Just floatin’ an egg in the air like it’s normal.

Victoria gets in a mess, Jim tosses her in the shower, and they have sex, so that is THREE tenants the landlord has slept with. Oh, and while they're fuckin', the cat gets hammered. =|

After some more spinning of wheels (There's still a party coming, right??) Victoria discovers her cat, thinks Jim killed it, and storms off. She is upset for all of three seconds, and returns to sing at the party, FINALLY.

The party kicks off, the cops show up, but Carl isn't there for pleasure; he has questions about the disappearance of Cindy.

While Carl is outside taking notes and conducting interviews, the force makes him take out his gun, shoot a girl, and then himself. And no one hears it amidst everything else.

This is not how you clean a gun, Carl!

This is not how you clean a gun, Carl!

On top of that, the obvious red herring of the gardener is finally killed off. Pam starts freaking out, and storms off to the kitchen where her eyeballs fall out into the mashed potatoes. Mmm, these are a little lumpy.

Meanwhile, Deborah is making out with Victoria's manager, people finally start noticing things are going horribly wrong, and Jim and Vicky head inside.

And this is when the movie takes a very sharp left turn down WTF Boulevard.

Those ain’t grapes!

Those ain’t grapes!

Because when our two leads rush inside, they find Debbie having a bad hair day, murdering the manager, and she's one of the forces causing all this trouble.

She's actually the daughter of the Hoffmans, the previous owners, and learned all these mind powers from her dear old dead. She's doing all this, because this is her house, and how dare anyone else ever live in it?

The trio stare at each other with much intent, and breathe heavily at each other, until as Jim puts it, she is 'scattered across the universe'. As one does.

This is the worst fight between Professor X and the Shadow King I have ever seen.

This is the worst fight between Professor X and the Shadow King I have ever seen.

And Jim gives one final eyeroll, trying to say she wasn't evil, she is just misunderstood, and how she's perceived. Oh please fuck off with this woowoo forgiveness nonsense.

The movie could have ended there, but Debbie shows up at an agent's place, wanting to make a movie, or something. Whatever. Is it over?

TRISK ASSESSMENT

Video: Considering this is shot on video, one of the first in fact!, it has that kinda look to it. But the transfer is decent enough for that level of things.

Audio: Honestly, not half bad. The synth sounds are nice, especially the horror related ones, and I even started digging the music.

Sound Bite: “We ought to be more careful who we rent to...”

Body Count: Not BAD, but for how LONG the movie is, it needed more, especially in that long middle. Especially since the first few are backstory.

1 - 4:30 minutes in, and a dude dies CHECK NAME IN FILE?

2 - Woman loses her hand in garbage disposal.

3 - Sherri hangs herself.

4 - Orderly tears his guts out

5 - Harris electrocuted with hair dryer.

6 - Cindy suddenly starts bleeding out

7 - That monster killed the cat. =|

8 - One of the girl's gets ice picked in the neck by Victoria, at least in a dream.

9 - Cop gets mind controlled to shoot one of the ladies.

10 - Then he takes his own life.

11 - The gardener can't be the killer when he gets stabbed in the chest

12 - Pam tears out her own eyes

13 - Man has a brain hemorrage and his eyes bleed.

Best Corpse: I love Pam’s eyes bulding out, it’s done well, and with lots of blood.

Peak Corpse: WOW does it take them forever to realise things are going wrong, and it’s not until Carl kills a girl.

Blood Type - B+: For a small indie production, the gore is top notch, and it is not shy about tossing the blood around.

Sex Appeal: Lots of boobs, lots of showers, lots of sex, and Jim spends half the movie in his underwear.

Drink Up! Every time Jim sleeps with one of the tenants.

Video Nasties: Here is just a random chunk of movie to show off the editing of this nightmare.

Movie Review: Hmm. There is a plot buried in this somewhere, I think. Although like I said, it is also very stream of consciousness. Which suits the story, what with the mental power stuff. But setting aside the pacing of the director’s cut, it’s not a bad movie. The gore is good, the kills are creative, there is an unsettling nature to it, and it’s trying to be creative, both in its structure, and its use of horror. The ‘when you see/hear this’ gimmick is cool, and works in context, although I think they used it at bad times once or twice. The regular cut is arguably the better movie, as its more focused, without losing much of the stuff we came for. But the wild editing style is almost completely lost in the shorter version. I wish there was a middle ground where they got to the story, but kept the endless stream of wipes. THAT would be something. I give the regular cut three and the director’s cut two floating eggs out of five, just for the pacing.

Entertainment Value: While the director’s cut is long and slow, I do recommend seeing it at least once. But if you want to just see the movie and be done with it, watch the regular theatrical cut. It has most of the good stuff, loses none of the weirdness, and gets to the goods for your enjoyment. And I DO enjoy this movie, definitely the regular more than the director’s cut. But fast forward is also my friend. It is a strange little movie that feels out of time and exists in its own universe. Four out of five peeping jawas. Utinni!