Do you ever feel like you don’t fit into society? Like everyone around you is just a little odd or weird? Bill Whitney thinks so. In fact, Bill see’s there’s nothing wrong with him and that there’s something wrong with society. From the politicians that make our laws, the cops that sign our tickets, to even our very own family members. Could Bill be right or just losing his mind?
Society is a 1989 body horror film directed by Brian Yuzna, the producer of Re-Animator and director of the 1990 sequel Bride of Re-Animator. Society was actually a two part contract deal Yuzna made where he was given the green light for two films. Society being the first and Bride of Re-Animator being the second. Although, Bride of Re-Animator was released first while Society wasn’t released until 1992. The film stars Billy Warlock, and Devin DeVasquez. The amazing effects of this film were created by special effects guru Screaming Mad George, who has worked on major films like Big Trouble Little China, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, and Bride of Re-Animator.
We follow a teenager named Bill Whitney, a boy of a rich family living in Beverly Hills. He’s got the looks, the car, the girlfriend and he’s very popular at school. But something seems off with Bill. He doesn’t seem to connect with the high-end elites. He doesn’t fit in anywhere, especially his family. He goes to his therapist where he shares his feelings of mistrust towards his family. He’s having nightmares where his family are engaging in lewd acts together. The therapist tells him that they’re merely dreams and not real. Later Bills sisters ex-boyfriend gives him a recording of his family that substantiates his speculations. From there Bills mistrust and paranoia reveals a secretive and nightmarish world.
1989’s Society is an insanely jacked up movie and has one of the most disturbing and gross last twenty minutes of any movie ever made. It is one of those films that people are very familiar with because of these last thirty or twenty minutes. I assume that these twenty minutes have been seen more than the actual movie itself. Seriously, I’ve talked to people about this film and they have absolutely no idea what the movie is about nor have they actually seen the entire film. However, they’ve seen the ending and will talk forever about how messed up it is. Kind of like the airport level in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 or the sewer scene in Stephen Kings It. I find these kinds of moments in books or movies really interesting in how people react to them. We place all of our opinions and criticism into this one moment when not really seeing the big picture. If you’ve seen this one moment in the movie and not the entire film, then it’s really hard or fair to translate what you’re seeing. So I guess I can try to explain it.
Billy discovers that the Beverly Hills elites are all apart of a secret society of creatures that get together for these crazy orgies and feed on lower class people. His parents, the therapist, the powerful judge and even the cops are all in on this. Now, when I say orgy, I don’t think it’s exactly what you think when thinking of things associated with… uhh this is making me feel sick. These rich people aren’t really people. They’re a different species of something that can distort and stretch their bodies. They look human but they aren’t human like you and me. They pile together naked and feed on their victims. Turning the humans flesh into a gooey substance in which they role around in like pigs and commit acts of unimaginable proportions. So yes, it’s completely disgusting, unbelievable and awful to see. But there is a point, at least I think so.
The movie deals with the idea of being “high class.” Getting to this level of wealth and status that makes us bigger than everyone else. It’s a curse we all deal with. Some of us bust our balls our entire lives so we can feel fulfilled by the amount of “things” we possess. Or by the position of power we hold. We want the lavish cars, big houses and wealthy friends with powerful connections. But that life is disgusting and this last scene just compiles it in one giant crescendo. Some us will never be in that class and there’s nothing we can do to get there. But the movie gives us the idea that “why would you?” When you become rich or high class, you can become a monster. Something that feeds on people you deem lower than yourself. The worst thing of becoming a monster, is that you join a club of monsters. They’re spiteful people plagued on feeding from the misery of others. Rich yuppies, politicians and activists are all in this group. They don’t care about the common person, they just want to gorge themselves in a sea of lust and control. Like the ancient Greeks in their circle of overeating and vomit, these people have set themselves apart of the rest of society.
It is a statement on how the wealthy feed on others and conspire together like sick creatures. I don’t really agree with the metaphor but that’s what you basically get with the movie. I do see the film as a cautionary tail of a man caught up in a world of want and desire to be rich and powerful. But denying the transformation of being a gross monster. There are more important things like love and friendship, something demonstrated through Bills relationship with Clarissa. You know what, this movie is deep. So you’re gonna have to watch it yourself to get a bigger understanding of what it all means. I’m also sick and tired of thinking this broad right now.
It’s not at all a scary film, in fact it’s kind of cheesy. Which is something done on purpose. The cheese factor sets a good tone for the film. Not like most horror films with gritty, blood soaked setting. It’s Beverly Hills California during the 80’s. It’s the central hub for rich moronic yuppies. People that wear pastels, love marble floors, count their black friends, wear clothing only one time and think of being invited to chic dinner parties. It’s that lifestyle that sets the horrific tone. Accompanied by this crazy “eton boat song” theme just adds to the gross depictions. The film isn’t really bloody, just a great paranoid thriller with an insanely detailed climax. The effects for the last twenty minutes are amazing, some of the best you’ll ever see of the Bronze Age of horror. Everything is realistic and very detailed. I still can’t wrap my head around how Mad George made this possible. The acting is kind of sub-par and the dialogue is awkward. I think this is done on purpose to extend that douche Beverly Hills persona. But I really like this film and think of it often. Whenever I feel like I’m not good enough and that I need to make more money. That I should strive to be a higher class or be a part of that group of turds that drink expensive water and get their ass holes bleached. I think of this film and say “Ugh, those people are monsters!” That’s why I’ve chosen it for Horror Movie Marathon 2018.