Beverly Hills teenager Bill Whitney (Billy Warlock) has it all: good looks, popularity, a cheerleader (Heidi Kozak) for a girlfriend – and a bad girl (Devin DeVasquez) sniffing around. But he’s seeing a shrink about feeling disconnected from his power-dressing parents and their well-heeled friends. When an audiotape implicates his family in a sick incestuous orgy, Bill decides to investigate for the sake of his sanity. But lurking beneath the surface of his glossy suburban world lurks something far more sinister than he could ever have imagined…
Having won legions of horror fans around the world producing Re-Animator, From Beyond and Dolls in the mid-1980s, Brian Yuzna made his directorial debut with Society, a wildly original body horror shocker which has gone down in history as having one of the ickiest ‘climaxes’ ever conceived and plays like a flesh-melting horror version of Ferris Bueller meets Wall Street.
For me, this was the film to seek out when it landed in my local video store in the early 1990s, and it was just to see that outrageously inventive centrepiece. But I was hugely disappointed. Not by the SFX (which rocks) or the story (which is way ahead of its time), but by the terrible VHS print, which was all dark and muddy. So, it’s a big thumbs-up to Arrow whose specially commissioned 2k transfer looks bloody terrific – especially so in that all-important climax. I just can’t believe I’ve had to wait 25 years to see Yuzna’s insane masterpiece as it was meant to be. But it’s been worth the wait. It’s also packed with so many extras, I just want to scream: ‘Thank you, Arrow!’
Society is available in the UK on Dual Format (Blu-ray and DVD) from Arrow Films, and screens at the BFI Southbank on Thursday 16 July at 8.30pm and Sunday 19 July at 6pm in NFT2