Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1980s Society (1989)

Society (1989)

A bizarre fable that starts like a TV soap opera but soon darkens into a disturbing horror thriller about an idyllic Beverly Hills community where something is subtly skewed.

Handsome teenager Bill (Billy Warlock) feels uncomfortable with his affluent peers, but the usual teen insecurities take on a more sinister aspect when his sister’s ex-boyfriend Blanchard (Tim Bartell) plays him a clandestine audio recording of her ‘coming out’ party which suggests perverse incestuous sexual initiation – but when Bill’s shrink later plays the tape back to him, he hears only innocuous conversation.

How does this connect with the exclusive teen clique of rich kid Ted Ferguson (Ben Meyerson) or Blanchard’s death in a road accident? Is there a dark conspiracy, or is Bill losing his marbles?

First-time director Brian Yuzna is happier with the sly humour and clever plot shifts than with the appropriately iconic but sometimes dramatically unconvincing cast.

He nevertheless generates a compelling sense of paranoid unease and shifts into F/X overdrive for an unforgettable horror finale – still one of the most shocking in cinema – a kind of La Grand Bouffe for SFX nerds with added fart gags and death-by-fisting.

The make-up technician was called Screaming Mad George. Says it all, really.

Bill Whitney
Billy Warlock
Devin Devasquez
Evan Richards
Ted Ferguson
Ben Meyerson
Charles Lucia
Connie Danese
Jenny Whitney
Patrice Jennings
Shauna Heidi Kozak
Heidi Kozak
Dr Cleveland
Ben Slack
Judge Carter
David Wiley
Tim Bartell
Brian Bremer
Marie Claire
Conan Yuzna
Mrs Carlyn
Pamela Matheson
Sergeant Burt
David Wells

Brian Yuzna