Society was the first ever legal 18-certificate film I saw at the cinema, on my 18th birthday in fact, April 14th 1990, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It takes the idea that when you’re in your teens the one doubt you might have from time to time is that there’s something going on and your insecurities make you wonder whether your parents are real, or are they some breed of robot, or something worse, or was that just me?
Well, it can’t be just me because high-school jock Bill Whitney (Baywatch‘s Billy Warlock) gets these fears, only they turn out to be perfectly realised and, courtesy of special effects from the appropriately-named Screaming Mad George, it turns out that the Society his family want Bill to join is the kind that has parties where everyone uses the ultimate lubricant that bonds their bodies together like plasticene (see the “Butthead” on the front cover), which naturally scares Bill half to death.
Talking of death, when friends of his get a little too close to the truth, that’s where they’re headed, and in a world where he can’t trust anyone, you have to ask, just who the fuck is that fat woman walking around who Billy bumps into frequently?
All of the cast act in keeping with the film, but none of them stand out amongst the rest and since none of them have gone on to star in any number of films I’ve seen since there’s nothing more I can add about them, but at least they made their mark in this excellent movie.
Are Billy’s psychotic fears for real?
The print is clean with little or no defects and is presented in the original 1.85:1 widescreen ratio and is anamorphic, although it can look a little soft at times.
The sound is plain Dolby Surround, and is okay when it needs to be but never really stands out. Some good squelchy noises though.
The extras are rather on the thin side, sadly, starting with a 2-minute trailer in anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen, although looking slightly cropped top and bottom because it was a 1.85:1 film and nothing wider. There are filmographies for the director Brian Yuzna, Warlock and Connie Danese.
The mayor on his day off.
More pages of text come from Mark Kermode’s Film Notes and Brian Yuzna’s Production Notes.
Add to this, the Tartan Terror Trailer Reel, a collection of six horror films also on the label, and that’s your lot. The recent Region 1 DVD contained an audio commentary from the director.
There are no subtitles, sparse chapters at 16, and a few seconds of the Society chant on the main menu, which soon grates as it goes round and round. Still, at least the film looks good.
Ted’s favourite song was Diana Ross’ Inside Out.
Running time: 95 minutes
Cat no: TVD3388
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 (Dolby Surround)
Disc Format: DVD 9
Director: Brian Yuzna
Producers: Keith Walley
Screenplay: Woody Keith and Rick Fry
Music: Mark Ryder and Phil Davies
Bill Whitney: Billy Warlock
Nan: Connie Danese
Dr Cleveland: Ben Slack
Milo: Evan Richards
Clarissa Carlyn: Devin DeVasquez
Jenny: Patrice Jennings
Blanchard: Tim Bartell
Jim: Charles Lucia
Shauna: Heidi Kozak
Petrie: Brian Bremer
Ferguson: Ben Meyerson
Mrs Carlyn: Pamela Matheson
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.