February 8, 2016

Film Locations: Original BOARDINGHOUSE (1982) for Sale

The Hoffman House from the 1982 shot-on-video horror classic, Boardinghouse (1982)
The titular Hoffman House in BOARDINGHOUSE (1982)
It's been a slow week at Kearney Investigations. But I did find this cool Redfin listing for the original "Hoffman House"—that "10-bedroom" hotbed of love, lust, and telekinesis from the 1982 shot-on-video horror classic Boardinghouse (1982).

The original location for the horror classic BOARDINGHOUSE (1982), located at 20950 Ave San Luis, in Woodland Hills, California
The Hoffman House
20950 Avenue San Luis, Woodland Hills, California
In the late 1980's, as I encroached on adolescence, I desperately wanted what every 12 year-old boy wants: to amass an enviable library of my most fervent interests in a private place devoid of parental figures. And so, I decided to install an entertainment system in my room.

Paragon Home Video sleeve for BOARDINGHOUSE (1982)
Paragon Video VHS artwork
I pooled my allowance, and got a Betamax Player for $10 from a flea market. I figured this was a smart buy because nobody could borrow my tapes. And as a starter for my collection, my ten-buck purchase came with one sole pre-record—a garishly illustrated little number featuring an spray-brushed photo of a screaming woman being dragged into a bed. Little did I know, this Paragon Home Video release would become an obsession; an all-consuming passion that would span decades and outlive jobs, majors, friendships, roommates, and romantic partners. I've never loved anyone as much as I love Boardinghouse.

For those of you unfamiliar with art cinema, Boardinghouse is the first feature-length, shot-on-video horror film to receive a theatrical release. Have you ever seen analog video blown up to 35-millimeter? Breathtaking. Transfer it back to videotape, and you've got results Edward Lachman and an army of digital intermediate artists would lust after. And since it was the only videotape that would play in my room, Boardinghouse got quite a workout.

Theatrical release ad mat for BOARDINGHOUSE (1982)
Theatrical Ad Mat
The plot goes something like this: a telekinetic playboy named Jim with a fondness for synthetic fibers (writer/director Johnn Wintergate) inherits a split-level Mediterranean home somewhere in The Valley and advertises for “unattached and beautiful girls between eighteen and twenty-five” to move in. Strangely, within minutes, about ten broads show up to unpack their Celica hatchbacks. The ladies are a cross-section of familiar archetypes: the friendly one, the slutty one, the aspiring singer, the sexy British blond, the Asian temptress, the bookish Black schoolteacher (!?!), the socialite brat fleeing her abusive fiancée, and the shit-starting alcoholic bitch who nonchalantly accessorizes her post-punk outfits with a riding crop.

There's also a limping, wheezing ‘Nam vet gardener (also played by Johnn Wintergate), a toothpick-chewing private investigator, and the aforementioned socialite's abusive fiancée, played by Josh Brolin's stuntman Uncle, Brian Bruderlin. The horror arrives in the form of a superimposed video graphic that represents a morphing phantom; it menaces the girls whenever they sunbathe topless, or shave their legs in the shower. After 90 minutes of high school haunted house-level gore effects, wall-to-wall nudity, and more semi-obligatory music video sequences than you can shake a Boss eight-track mixer at—the evil force is vanquished when our telekinetic protagonist joins forces with his star tenant—real-life wife, singer-actress Kalassu—to defeat the superimposed video graphic by inhaling and exhaling sharply.

Rare "audience reaction" trailer
BOARDINGHOUSE (1982)

Theatrical ad mat for BOARDINGHOUSE (1982) playing with REVENGE OF THE NERDS (1984)
With REVENGE OF THE NERDS? Yes, please!
I was initially put-off by Boardinghouse because I preferred my exploitation to be of the grainy, chromatic variety. I wanted warbling sound and clumsy reel changes, and what I got was early MTV crossed with an aerobics tape. But slowly, Boardinghouse grew on me—and soon, rumors of its intoxicating properties seeped into the cul-de-sac. Within weeks, I was hosting Boardinghouse parties in my suburban bedroom. And I'd always wondered, how'd they fit so many girls into that little house?
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Unfortunately, I was a little late to the Redfin game, as the "Hoffman House" was sold on August 23, 2013 for $557K. However, I was still able to glean some facts via Redfin about this iconic location that answered a few of my childhood questions.

The original shooting/filming location for BOARDINGHOUSE (1982) - located at 20950 Ave San Luis in Woodland Hills, California
20950 Avenue San Luis, Woodland Hills, California
First off: It's not—as the toothpick-chewing private investigator character states—located at 20950 Mulholland Drive. Its actual location is 20950 Avenue San Luis in Woodland Hills, California. According to the listing, the house "is in its original condition and may require some repairs and deferred maintenance." Yes, please!

Screen shot from BOARDINGHOUSE (1982), shot at 20950 Ave San Luis in Woodland Hills, CaliforniaScreen shot featuring Belma Kora aka Selma Kora from BOARDINGHOUSE (1982), shot at 20950 Ave San Luis in Woodland Hills, California

Also, not surprisingly, it's not a 10-bedroom house. In reality, it boasts two bedrooms and one bathroom on the main floor, with an additional bedroom and bathroom downstairs "that appears to have been done without permits."
The secret, un-permitted downstairs apartment from the movie BOARDINGHOUSE (1982)
That rascally, unpredictable, un-permitted downstairs apartment.
The un-permitted downstairs apartment was featured semi-prominently in Boardinghouse, always involving a pool table. Unfortunately, I've never had half a mil burning a hole in my pocket. But if I did, I'd restore this space to its former, early 1980's glory—complete with pool table, vintage stereo, and potted plant.

Screen shot from BOARDINGHOUSE (1982), shot at 20950 Ave San Luis in Woodland Hills, CaliforniaScreen shot from BOARDINGHOUSE (1982), shot at 20950 Ave San Luis in Woodland Hills, California
And here be the legendary kitchen, where the Boardinghouse girls gathered to make breakfast, drink coffee, eat bananas in very sensual way, and gossip about their landlord, Jim—whom they would all stop at nothing to bang. I swear, if anyone rivaled Peter Carpenter in the ego department, it would have to be writer/director/star John[n] Wintergate....

The evil kitchen location from the 1982 shot-on-video classic BOARDINGHOUSE (1982)
The BOARDINGHOUSE (1982) Kitchen
.... But I digress. The kitchen was also featured in the climactic finale, when the evil force makes Pam—the shit-starting alcoholic bitch with the riding crop—rip her own eyeballs out, and toss them in a bowl of crushed ice. The only difference between then and now is, they painted the cabinets red. Pam could very well rip her eyeballs out in that kitchen as it stands today, and more appropriately—given the color.

Screen shot featuring Belma Kora aka Sema Kora from BOARDINGHOUSE (1982), shot at 20950 Ave San Luis in Woodland Hills, California
Screen shot from BOARDINGHOUSE (1982), shot at 20950 Ave San Luis in Woodland Hills, California

Then, the Redfin photographer guy decides he wants to direct a horror film of his own, and takes this weird series of corners. So many corners.

One of the many strange, horrific "corner shots" from Redfin's feature of the original BOARDINGHOUSE (1982) location spread.One of the many strange, horrific "corner shots" from Redfin's feature of the original BOARDINGHOUSE (1982) location spread.


One of the many strange, horrific "corner shots" from Redfin's feature of the original BOARDINGHOUSE (1982) location spread.One of the many strange, horrific "corner shots" from Redfin's feature of the original BOARDINGHOUSE (1982) location spread.


One of the many strange, horrific "corner shots" from Redfin's feature of the original BOARDINGHOUSE (1982) location spread.One of the many strange, horrific "corner shots" from Redfin's feature of the original BOARDINGHOUSE (1982) location spread.

I can't even attempt to link any one of these to a corresponding shot in the finished film. Maybe this one?

Mary McKinley aka Dr. Maryel McKinley alongside Josh Brolin's stuntman Uncle in BOARDINGHOUSE (1982)
Actress Mary McKinley aka Dr. Maryel McKinley and Brian Bruderlin
BOARDINGHOUSE (1982)
Nowhere in the listing do any photographs feature the entry way, the patio, the backyard, or the famous swimming pool. Seriously, the DP who shot Boardinghouse had a better eye.

Screen shot from BOARDINGHOUSE (1982), shot at 20950 Ave San Luis in Woodland Hills, California
Nicely framed shot from BOARDINGHOUSE (1982)
Check this shot out. You've got the kitchen counter, the stove range, the dining room, a window, some wood pillar things, and the entry way. Those Redfin photos just needed a good Cinematographer.

Although—I have to admit—that series of corners set my hair on end!

2 comments:

  1. I used to make my friends watch this too! I loved how one of the girls seemed to forget what her characters name was halfway through and began going by a different name.
    I'm shocked but delighted to discover that this actually played theaters. WOW!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember that, too!
      "Cindy...." "It's SANDY!" "Your name's been 'Cindy' ever since I came here!"

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