Screenplay: Woody Keith, Rick Fry
Release: Arrow Video
You had me at Re-Animator. Society is a film that I learned about through a podcast and I am so grateful for this. I am also grateful that right now we are going through a home video golden age.
After producing Stuart Gordon’s hit Re-Animator, Brian Yuzna (Bride of Re-Animator, Return of the Living Dead III) turned his hand to directing with 1989’s Society, and gave birth to one of the ickiest, most original body horror shockers of all time.
Teenager Bill Whitney (Billy Warlock) has always felt like the odd one out in his wealthy, upper-class Beverly Hills family. For some reason, he just doesn’t seem to fit in. But his sense of alienation takes a sinister turn when he hears an audio recording of his sister’s coming-out party, which seems to implicate his family and others in a bizarre, ritualistic orgy. And then there are the strange things he’s been seeing – glimpses of people with their bodies contorted impossibly out of shape… Is Bill going mad or is there something seriously amiss in his neighborhood?
Packing stomach-churning grue and thought-provoking social commentary in equal measure, Society is a biting horror satire which culminates in one of the most gag-inducing “climaxes”’ in all of horror history.
I while back I thought about starting new feature in which I highlight a boutique video label and why they are important to movie nerds. I may still do so but with the frequency which I pepper my reviews with dripping love about the labels (when applicable) and Arrow Video has done it, again.
What I found very strange in this film is that the first half was reminiscent of an episode of Saved by the Bell, really sugary but bland. Yuzna was able to turn the whole mood on a dime when Bill hears the (gross) audio recording spiraling the film into a Cronenburgian nightmare of globulous sex and excess.
This film would not exist in its current form without the work of the champions at these labels wanting to watch the movies they loved in their youth. This is evident in the picture quality as well as the stacked special features in which you will learn well more than you ever needed to know about this picture. Snag this disc sooner than later if it is up your alley as I don’t expect it to be widely available for long if they don’t opt for a new printing.
Buy it NOW from DiabolikDVD.
- Newly remastered 2K digital transfer of the film, approved by director Brian Yuzna
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
- Original Stereo 2.0 audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
- Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Brand 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
- The Champion of the Shunt – new featurette with FX artists Screaming Mad George, David Grasso and Nick Benson
- 2014 Q&A with Yuzna, recorded at Celluloid Screams Festival
- Brian Yuzna in conversation backstage at the Society world premiere
- ‘Persecution Mania’ – Screaming Mad George music video
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Nick Percival
- Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Alan Jones, illustrated with original archive stills and posters
Director: 6 – Cinematography: 7 – Edit: 6 – Parity: 1 – Main performance: 5 – Else performance: 3 – Score: 7 – Sound: 6 – Story: 8 – Script: 8 – Effects: 9 – Design: 7 – Costumes: 7 – Keeps interest: 9 – Lasting: 5