The 1989 gross-out film Society has been popping up in my peripheral over the past couple of years. The unnerving patchwork DVD cover caught my eye so I decided to give it a go. It follows the story of a paranoid young man who is convinced by another suspicious kid that there is something fishy going on with his family. The further he investigates, the more danger he puts himself in. Are the wealthy people he had lived with his whole life actually who they say they are or is he just loosing his mind? He soon discovers there is weight to his theories.
The boy ends up uncovering way more than he bargained for. He is quickly chased by people trying to cover up a grand conspiracy. They need him for their grand finale. The kid doesn’t know what that means and he sure as hell doesn’t want to find out, but he also wants to fight back and put an end to their sinister plot. Society is heavy on the social commentary, mostly dealing with the elite rich, and the themes are propelled far beyond normalcy during the last half hour.
The entire film feels like it is just a vehicle to get to the last painstakingly long sequence filled with grotesquely inhuman transformations. If you are really into/bothered by body horror than this movie might knock your socks off. Though, to the average viewer Society comes off as an excuse to get dirty with practical effects. There aren’t many stone cold serious scenes to pull in anyone looking for drama. Butt then again, there is this guy…
That gif is actually a lot scarier than what the buttman truly resembles in the full scene. I was unaware at the time of viewing Society that the director, Brian Yuzna, was the same guy involved with other disgusting body morphing films including Re-Animator and From Beyond but it makes perfect sense. It would have served Society well to spread some of the climax fuckery out across the entire movie. Instead, they filled it up with terrible acting and poorly choreographed scenes.
For a movie with what the creators clearly felt was a profound moral, it makes no attempt to dispense the message subtly. When it comes to goofy and bizarre I can definitely hang, but there needs to be some substance to ground those wacky things. Society should have probably been scrapped completely but it might have had potential if it was made as a short film. If you decide to watch this film it would be wise to fast forward most of the way through to the outlandish conclusion. Raise your hand if you like loose, floppy skin!
2 body gloves out of 5