Slasher Hunt 2018 and 2021: BoardingHouse (Slasher // Video) DVD Review + 2021 Blu-ray Review (AGFA + Bleeding Skull!)

Boardinghouse is one of those films that you see once and will never ever forget. Slasher // Video did a great job with their DVD, but AGFA + Bleeding Skull! wanted to top what they did, and they do with certain caveats.  

Studio: Slasher // Video (DVD)
            AGFA + Bleeding Skull! (blu-ray)
Release Date: October 21st, 1983 (theatrical) 
                        October 27th, 2015 (DVD) 
                        October 26th, 2021 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 1 hour 27 minutes 57 seconds (theatrical)
                   1 hour 38 minutes 41 seconds (home video cut)
                   1 hour 38 minutes 8 seconds (Psycho Killer cut)
                   2 hours 37 minutes 45 seconds (director’s cut)
Region Code: FREE (blu-ray)
                        Region 1 (DVD)
Picture:480i (1.33:1 Aspect Ratio) (all versions except theatrical cut)
                1080p (1.85:1 aspect ratio) (theatrical cut)
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 (DVD versions)
            English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 (blu-ray versions)
Subtitles: English SDH (blu-ray)
Slipcover: Yes (blu-ray version only)
Digital Copy: No
Starring: John Wintergate, Kalassu, Lindsay Freeman
Written by John Wintergate
Directed by John Wintergate
Rating: R (Nudity, some language, and horror violence) (theatrical) / Not Rated (Nudity, language, and horror violence) (Director’s Cut, Psycho Killer Cut, Home Video Cut)

So here are my thoughts on the brand new BOARDINGHOUSE blu-ray from AGFA + Bleeding Skull:

Disc one opens up with the movie’s original theatrical cut, taken from a theatrical print. For those you don’t know: BOARDINGHOUSE was the first shot-on-video movie to be made and to be shown in theaters. To show a movie like this, they had to transfer the video to film. Think about that for a minute. BOARDINGHOUSE was shot on consumer-grade VHS and then transferred from VHS to film. That just blows my mind. It feels like going to the movie theater to watch someone’s home movies. I love it! So, this movie was then cropped from its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 to a more theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. I honestly wondered why they did this back then. I guess there weren’t that many films being shown in 1.33:1. I don’t know though. Studios were always rereleasing films into theaters, so theaters would have known how to screen something in an aspect ratio different from the normal 1.85:1 and 2.35:1. Ok, so the movie is cropped but it’s not that bad. Many of the shots feel a lot tighter, but it doesn’t look bad cropped like this. Since this was taken a film print, there are going to be imperfections and there are. It is clear that no clean up work was done whatsoever, but this isn’t a problem here. Actually, had they cleaned this picture up, it would have look ten times worse. The movie also feels more like a movie than the other versions of this movie do. Sure, it was shot on video, but by them transferring it to film and putting it in a theatrical aspect ratio actually make it look like it was shot on crappy film stock instead of being shot on video. It’s actually amazing that it looks this good. Of course, the video imperfections like doubling up picture and almost no fine detail at all, so don’t expect those to be fixed by it being on film. I actually love this transfer as it looks exactly how I imagine it would had I seen this on 42nd Street in the 80s.

This is the theatrical version of the film which is different from the main version that Slasher//Video put out a few years ago. It looks like the theatrical cut is much shorter than the home video version, but as to what is different, I don’t know. I can tell you that the home video version looks a lot worse than the theatrical version. The framing is opened up back to 1.33:1, but it just looks worse. I guess the film grain helps hide a lot of the imperfections. The mono audio sounds perfectly fine here with no complaints from me. 

On the special features side we get a partial commentary track with AFGA + Bleeding Skull’s Joseph A. Ziemba and another from two of the actors who appear in the film.  We also have the above mentioned Home Video Cut of the film. The movie’s original theatrical trailer, taken from a 2K scan is next and it looks great. Finally, we have 14 minutes of home video trailers and tv spots for BOARDINGHOUSE

Disc 2 give us “The Psycho Killer Cut” of the film. This version is only 38 seconds shorter but it apparently shuffles around scenes, but doesn’t add or subtract any. This is the worst looking of the three transfers with colors fading in intensity throughout. I love that this version is included here. What isn’t included is the Director’s Cut of the film that was included on the Slasher//Video dvd. That version ran an hour longer than the theatrical cut of the film, but was not the preferred version of this author as it added nothing but runtime to the movie. The audio for this version of the film is fine. It gets the job done.

On the special features side, we get an extra film, SALLY & JESS, which was made by the BOARDINGHOUSE filmmakers in 1989 and then never released. This film is so unknown that it isn’t listed on SALLY & JESS was shot on film and transferred from a 16mm answer print, so it looks pretty damn good. The lossless audio sounds fine as well. The film itself isn’t anything special although I wouldn’t feel good calling this “family film” like the filmmakers do. It is much more of a drama that will bore and possibly frighten children. We then get a commentary track from Kalassu, John Wintergate, and Sean King as well as footage shot on the set of SALLY & JESS Six music videos from Kalassu and John Wintergate finish out this very nice package. 

My thoughts on BOARDINGHOUSE as a movie have remained unchanged, but watching it in its theatrical version has changed my feelings on how to watch the film. This version has the film transfer which makes the movie a lot easier to watch. It also makes it feel much more like a low-budget film shot by Fred Olen Ray than a shot-on-video movie. 

Now, what’s missing from previous releases of BOARDINGHOUSE? A lot apparently. There was a Code Red dvd from 2008 that contained an audio commentary with John Wintergate, actress/composer Kalassu, moderated by Lee Christian and Jeff McCay, along with an introduction from John Wintergate as well as an interview with Wintergate and Kalassu. There are also two trailers for Boardinghouse but I think those are included on the blu-ray in the Home Video Trailers and TV Spots section on disc 2. 

The stuff missing from the 2013 Slasher//Video release is much more substantial. Missing is a 2013 Q&A with director/actor John Wintergate and actress/composer Kalessu, behind the scenes/music video B-roll, some 33⅓ Teeth Magazine interviews, a still gallery, the original film intro (although this included in the theatrical version of the movie), and an alternate ending.

That is just disc one. Over on disc two is the director’s cut of the film along with the audio commentary from Wintergate, Kalassu, and Jesús Terán that accompanied it. There is also a phot gallery, a demo reel for something called “The Phantom”, and a piece where Wintergate and Kalassu forget that they made a film called Terror on Tour and marvel at the footage they are shown. 

So, if you in the market for a version of BOARDINGHOUSE which version should you get? The blu-ray is pretty stacked with a film transfer of the theatrical cut along with a previously unreleased version of the movie. On top of that you get a whole other film with it’s own special features, so this would be the version to get. I will say that if you really want special features about BOARDINGHOUSE, then the Slasher//Video version is the way to go. If you must own everything BOARDINGHOUSE, then there are two dvds and a blu-ray version to get if you want all of the special features. 



Disc 1: Theatrical Version (1h 38m, SD, 1.33:1)

Original Film Intro (1m 33s, SD, 1.33:1) Same opening as the film proper, but with no narration, only computer beeps.

BoardingHouse Original Trailer (48s, SD, 1.33:1)

Alternate Ending (4m 31s, SD, 1.33:1) Adds an explanation to the ending of the film as well as an open ending.

Rare Trailers, TV Spots, and Voice-Overs (25m 53s, SD, 1.33:1) We get a few trailers, a number of TV Spots, and a few voice-overs (with only a blank screen)

2008 Interview with Johnn and Kalassu (23m 13s, SD, 1.33:1) The couple covers the making of the film.

Q&A with Johnn Wintergate, Kalassu, and Jesus Teran (15m 10s, SD) More of the same only this is a more recent interview.

Behind the Scenes/Music Video B-Roll (15m 15s, SD, 1.33:1) Most of the footage is silent save for a loud hiss.

33 ⅓, Teeth Magazine- Interview (14m 48s, SD, 1.33:1) Text-based interview with white letters against a black background. Very hard to read.

BoardingHouse Photo Gallery (9m 22s, SD) Songs from the film play as the gallery auto plays.

Disc 2: Director’s Cut (2h 36m, SD, 1.33:1)

Commentary with director and star Johnn Wintergate, actress Kalassu, and Jesus Teran of Slasher // Video.

Lightstorm Photo Gallery (14m 43s, SD) Some of the band’s songs play as the gallery auto plays.

“The Phantom” Demo Reel (9m 5s, SD, 1.33:1) The movie employs a video effect that kind of looks like the Neighborhood Watch burglar. This effect shows up periodically during the entire film. This is nine minutes of the effect being sampled in different colors.

Terror on Tour Revisited (6m 40s, SD) Talk of the film that Johnn and Kalassu appeared in before making BoardingHouse. Jesus Teran shows them some footage from the film and they forgot that they even appeared in the film.

“Break It Off” Live (4m 17s, SD, 1.33:1) Song from the party scene in the film is played live.

O My Love (4m, SD) Song audio, no video. Static image.

“Stop Fooling Around” Music Video (3m 11s, SD, 1.33:1)

“The Raven/Break It Off” Music Video (3m 13s, SD, 1.33:1)

“Love Starved” Music Video (3m 5s, SD, 1.33:1)

Teeth- Live in Europe, 1981 (3m 3s, SD, 1.33:1)

All in all, this is a pretty good selection of special features, much more than I would have expected. While there are no interviews with anyone else that worked on the movie, Johnn and Kalasu do a great job of giving us a lot of information about the making of the movie. The second disc focuses much more on the couple’s band and songs than the movie itself. This isn’t too bad as the much they make is pretty decent. We also get the director’s cut of the movie which is something that has been rumored to exist for a long time.


This 2-disc special edition comes to us courtesy of Slasher // Video.

Both discs are REGION 1


BoardingHouse was shot on video and thus can’t really be judged the same way a movie shot on film would be. While technology exists to fix damage to the film, there is no tech that fixes problems with video. This means that anything wrong with the video is there for all time. With BaordingHouse being shot over 30 years ago, the movie isn’t going to look it best. The picture looks ok at best with everything appearing onscreen as they were supposed to. There is some video noise and artifacting going on, but that is par for the course for movies that were shot on video. I think that if a film print had been found (the movie was transferred from video to 35mm film and shown in theaters) there could have been a better result, but this is what we have and it isn’t all that bad.

The same goes for the sound. Any distortions found on the track can be attributed to it being shot on video and the age of the source material. The sound is mostly good with said distortions being found every so often.

The Hoffman house has what one would call "a haunted history". Shuttered after a series of mysterious deaths in the early70's, it is ten years later and Jim Royce (Hawk Adley, Terror on Tour), a relative and clairvoyant, has reopened his inheritance as a boarding house for young women. But Beware... the dark forces are not to be trifled with. Murder and mayhem soon return and no one, and we mean NO ONE, is safe.
BoardingHouse was one of, if not the first, shot on video horror movies. Filmed in 1981 and released in 1982, the movie has its charms. The movie has a “by any means necessary” attitude and you have to admire any movie with that kind of spirit. I can't tell you how many movies I have seen that are nothing more than a means to make money. The filmmakers here are really trying their hardest to make a good movie but they fail at almost every turn. That doesn't mean that the movie isn't entertaining. The movie makes no sense, has some of the funniest unintentional laughs, and has a killer whose identity will be obvious to anyone who has seen a movie. None of the actors are any good and the effects are puzzling at best. I had a great time watching BoardingHouse but this is not a movie you can recommend to anyone. If you like slasher movies and/or cheesy bad movie then BoardingHouse will be right up your alley.


The dvd, from Slasher // Video is nice. The picture and sound quality are what you expect a shot on video movie to be. The special features fare better. The inclusion of the long sought after director’s cut is a nice inclusion as are the trailers and TV spots. The music videos are ok, but the songs are catchy. I would recommend this to anyone who is trying to fill out their slasher movie collection and bad movie buffs.


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