You know you’re in for a treat when during the opening credits of a film you notice the “surrealistic makeup designer and creator” is credited as “Screaming Mad George”

The directional debut of Brian Yuzna (a man who in the very same year was responsible for the story of “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”), Society is possible one of the most out there and extreme films you’ll ever see.

Set in the excess of late 80s/early 90s Beverley Hills – back when mullet hair cuts were acceptable – Society tells the story of Bill Whitney, a 17 year old upper-class high school student who seems to have it all, but still fails to feel a part of his family and their high-society friends.

After hearing a secret recording of what appears to be his family engaged in a disgusting and brutal homicidal orgy, his suspicions can in no way prepare him for what the film leads up to.

With the odd behaviour of his family, his incredibly flexible new girlfriend (quite the contortionist) and his psychologist all too happy to prescribe him drugs, Bills world begins to collapse around him.

Brian Yuzna compared the film to Rosemarys Baby and that template is definitely there.

It’s a slow building conspiracy that everyone except the protagonist appears to be in on, with the tension gaining to improbably heights as the story reaches its concluding act.

While many will find the grotesque third act the highlight of the film, the visual teases scattered through out the film are the real eye openers that initially raise the viewers interest and in my view, retrospectively speaking, they are the most overlooked.

With all the contorted body shapes and odd insect-like noises, it’s just enough to give the viewer a glimpse into the horrors that await Bill, while retaining the interest against, which lets face it, is some pretty subpar acting.

While the likes of Billy Warlock (Society’s protagonist Bill Whitney) and Devin DeVasquez (Bills love interest, Clarissa – a girl with very few inhibitions) are perfectly serviceable, the execution does have a certain movie of the week quality about it.

The fact that the score sounds like an episode of the X-Files doesn’t really help matters here.

The real star of Society has got to be the aforementioned Screaming Mad George.  His work really sets Society apart from other body horrors and the imagination of some of the work on display here is the stuff of absolute nightmares.

society-but-head

The film is utterly bonkers and by the time it gets to the third act, Clarissa’s hair eating mother looks like Mary Poppins in comparison to some of the other characters scattered through out Bills life and that are part of the feral society.

With the poster tagline being “the rich have always fed off the poor”, it’s clear the Brian Yuzna and the team were not shying away from making some form of social commentary underneath all the blood, guts, gore and “shunting”.

It could be argued that the idea of a higher class of society behaving in such a parasitic way to the social classes beneath them, has never been more prominent. So in a way, despite the films dated appearance the message it is trying to make still resonates.

Those that enjoy their grotesque special effects, Society is a benchmark of grindhouse horror that should be sought out just for the final 20 minutes alone.

About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.