Society (18) | Home Ents Review
Dir. Brian Yuzna, US, 1989, 99 mins
Cast: Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, Heidi Kozak
Gooey, Sticky, Wet.
I have vivid teenage memories of Brian Yuzna’s debut on its original 1989 video release. In its long awaited re-issue, Arrow Film have spoiled fans of this relatively obscure classic with a beautifully packaged home entertainment release with a generous amount of extras. The inventively oozy special effects from (impressively monikered) Screamin’ Mad George are a cornucopia of fleshy awesomeness for gore-hounds and body-horror enthusiasts.
Yuzna’s previous collaborations with director Stuart Gordon as a writer on the (equally icky) nasties From Beyond and Re-animator are also required viewing within this niche genre. It’s also of interest to note that Yuzna was jointly responsible for the Classic Disney live action block-buster Hi Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. While the former two both deliver superb B movie thrills, Society doubles up as a pretty smart satire on 80s’ yuppie culture filtered through a jet black comedic lens.
Beverly Hills teen Billy Whitney, handsome member of an elite family, captain of the football, debating team and dating the head cheerleader, should be ready to transition into a ‘contributing member of society’. However, in-between sessions with his shrink and some foreboding hallucinations, Billy has always suspected that there may be something sinister going on with his parents and sibling. After becoming privy to a recording revealing an incestuous pact between them, he quests to discover the truth. His sister has just recently ‘come out’ as a member of society herself, and what that entails is both disturbing as well as pleasing to David Icke subscribing tin-hat theorists. Suffice to say, the conspiracy among a community and the wet orgy known as ‘the shunting’ as it is revealed in the final act makes Society a bizarre, B-movie funhouse mirror of both Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut and Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man.
Society is best viewed as a perverse comedy about the subjugation of the peasantry by a ruling class that literally want to suck us dry.
Ultimately, the super rich are so different from us normal folk that they may as well be a different species. All perversions, all taboos, are embraced as the norm in the world of the high-born. As one character says: ‘it’s a matter of good breeding, really’.
There’s a huge amount of extras on this packed disc, including:
- a gorgeous 2K digital transfer of the film, approved by director Brian Yuzna in original 2.0 stereo
- an informative new audio commentary by Yuzna
- Governor of Society – a brand new interview with Yuzna
- The Masters of the Hunt – a brand new featurette including interviews with stars Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, Ben Meyerson and Tim Bartell
- distinctive new artwork by Nick Percival
Review by Mark Bartlett
Society is out now on Blu-ray and DVD.