I remember seeing Society when I was youngster in the early 1990s, I think it was on terrestrial British TV and I stayed up late with my parents to see it. I'm sure my dad never did approve of me watching it - well, I was barely 12 years old and it did have gory gooey alien orgies in it!

I eventually caught up with it again a couple of years ago when I bought a French low budget DVD. Unfortunately it had burnt-on French subtitles, it was Non-Anamorphic, and wasn't the cleanest of prints. One thing's for sure, I wasn't as disgusted by it as I was as a whippersnapper. Now Tartan Grindhouse (why Grindhouse!?) has done it again, a new uncut release for you fright fiends out there.

Society is set in Beverly Hills where all the guys have rosy cheeks and wear blazers, girls are slender and wear nothing, and jocks run wild. Bill Whitney (Billy Warlock) is a member of a rich respectable family but he feels out of place. His parents disapprove of what he does, they don't like his friends, they praise his sister Jenny (Patrice Jennings) more than him, and they seem not to care so much about him.

Bill becomes paranoid, he is positive he was adopted. He tries to tell people but of course no one believes him. He begins to see and hear strange things - Jenny's skin moves by itself, squelching noises are heard throughout the house (remember this is a Brian Yuzna film), and he believes he's imagining it all.

Things become clearer when a fellow student (David Blanchard played by Tim Bartell) lets him hear a tape. David has bugged Bill's family with a microphone and we learn some really disturbing events. His family are having incest orgies; we can hear screams, and disturbing noises. Bill gives the tape to his doctor (played by Ben Slack) but things go from bad to worse. The doctor doesn't believe him and the tape has been edited over, David dies in a convenient "road accident", and his parents are unnaturally calm about the death. Hmmm�

In the meantime he meets a beautiful brunette Clarrisa (hotty Devin DeVasquez), he has it off with her and her body becomes distorted during the bed wrestling. Wait a minute, did that really happen? Bill, again, thinks he's seeing things! Her behemoth of a mother is also introduced to him, she doesn't speak, and coughs up a hair ball - that's nice! This strange pair are actually helpful later on the film.

The setting in the film is tense, who can Bill trust? Everyone acts strangely and have that rich I'm-better-than-you aura about them. The only person he can have faith on is his friend Milo (Evan Richards), he proves his loyalty in later scenes.

The plot thickens with more conspiracy that leads to the ultimate conclusion (or should I say orgy!). The whole community are involved! This has to be one of the most memorable scenes in 80s horror, it has to be seen to be believed. Body melting effects, heads become arses ("butt head!"), bodies become twisted, we hear that yucky squelching sound, and the Screaming Mad George effects are believable and horrible.

The film ends with some bad jokes and an open door, perhaps Yuzna will make a sequel one day? This time called: "El Sociedad Part 2" - surely to be a big hit in Spain?

Society is regarded as a classic, but I have never been too fond of it. Sure, I'm delighted to have a beautiful looking print in my collection, but I don't think I'd watch it too often. Don't get me wrong, it has all touches of a 80s horror. The music is bad and dated, the hair styles are terrible, and the ambience is very corny - all positive in my book. Oh and don't forget the dress sense - yuck!! But I just find the film a little out of my taste.

Yuzna does an awesome job at creating the yuppie-class setting. He also succeeds in what I think he aimed to do: introducing the idea of another dominant species, a superior society that dwells with the upper class. Yuzna crafts a collective and political theme to the plot relating to reality - how the rich think they are better than the rest of humanity:

"A different race from us, a different species, a different class, you're not one of us."

Bill's parents in the film are genuinely dislikeable. They are too clean and impeccable, however - the chisel-chin father (Charles Lucia) is pompous, his mum (Connie Danese) wears fur and horrible pink tracksuits (ok, so I don't like the late 80s dress sense!), to top it off, she is patronising. I really was hoping they'd meet their demise - oh well!!

The DVD is a bog standard affair, however the 1.85:1 anamorphic print is clean, crisp, and�well�perfect! The stereo sound is fine but the score is a tad boring, although I liked the effective touch of classical music during the final orgy scenes. Extras include a trailer and the same set of trailers for "Phantom Carriage" that were on the Tartan DVD of "Bride Of Re-Animator".

For acquired tastes but Society is still a winner. One thing is for sure, I can now get rid of that cheap French DVD!

Review by: Broonage.

Released by Tartan Grindhouse
Region All - PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review