Blu-ray: Society (1989)
Billy (Billy Warlock) doesn’t really fit in with his rich family, his Mom and Dad prefer his sister, so he resorts to seeing a psychiatrist to try and make sense of his feelings of not fitting in. Hearing a tape recording of his sister’s coming out party, he believes that something very strange is going on; is he going mad? Are they all aliens?
The infamous Society, long praised as one of the more ‘weirdly disgusting’ horrors of the 80’s because of its now legendary ‘shunting’ scene. Watching Arrow’s re-release of it I was quite surprised at how very retro it is, most horror films in truth reflect what’s going on socially and politically at the time of its making, and Society is chock full of Reganite power, padded shoulders and smarmy rich people. Billy Warlock was a genius bit of casting, here we have Michael J Fox’s could-be all American brother, handsome and sporty and part of a rich family, yet he’s an everyman, a nice guy, a virgin who only when his blonde bimbo girlfriend refuses to put out does he awkwardly fancy a society ’Bad Girl’ (Playboy’s Devin Devasquez).
There’s a strong undercurrent of incest, which actually turns into a full in-your-face YES, this IS incest throughout the film (society can only breed with itself to stay pure), and of course, the ‘shunting’, which at the time was very shocking, but now seems rather tame and quite tongue in cheek. That’s the core of the film, this is no horror, it’s a black comedy of social commentary about the haves and have not’s. Watching it I could imagine it being remade in Britain now, starring most of the British government. A really top notch satire that unfortunately rings true today, despite the satin and shoulder pads.
I haven’t seen the full limited edition package for this movie, but have seen photos and it looks like the usual amazing quality, full on great package from Arrow. Every time I watch an Arrow release I’m always delighted about the package of extras that come with all their discs. This is exceptional. The film itself looks beautiful, and the extras are again, thorough and ENTERTAINING. Seeing Screaming Mad George now is fantastic, and the documentaries with Brian Yuzna and the cast are great and give a really in depth view of the making of the film. Billy Warlock may be getting on, but he’s still gorgeous.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS:
- 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
- Limited Edition Digipak packaging featuring 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
- Society: Party Animal [Limited Edition Exclusive] – the official comic sequel to Society, reproduced in its entirety in a perfect-bound book
Review by Tina (co-host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films.