This was Brian Yuzna's first film as director, and it's still his best. My love for this thing knows no boundaries. It's such a wonderfully unique mixture of social commentary, the 90210 lifestyle and incredibly warped horror. Oh, is the horror in Society ever warped! It's always fun showing this to first-timers and seeing their reactions to what unfolds on the screen. Horror aside, the film also works as both a joke on the rich and a scathing indictment regarding their tendency to leech off of the have-nots.
Even though it's pretty clear right from the start that things aren't what they seem, there's a great sense of paranoia present in Society. Is Bill's rich family plotting against him? Are they even human? You wouldn't expect a former Baywatch star to be an alienated sort, but in the context of the film, it works. The pitch black humor works too, though there are a few more juvenile attempts at comedy (the kids on the beach) that are admittedly lame. In a way, however, they do add to the film's bizarre tone. I used to see the weirdo mother character as another pointless attempt at low-brow humor, but the more I've thought about it, she's likely there to represent a mishap through the shunt. Former Playboy centerfold, Devin Devasquez, plays her quirky daughter, Clarissa Carlyn. She's very appealing in the role, and it's refreshing to see a rich beauty portrayed as something other than an evil vixen for a change.
The climactic scenes involving the big shunt are really something to behold. Words cannot do justice to the madness of this sequence. Spectacular, glorious madness! Nope, even those words don't do it justice. The very idea is quite perverse, and the special effects by Screaming Mad George are jaw-dropping. I'd be hard-pressed to come up with another horror film that comes close to rivaling Society's climax.
I also can't go without mentioning the sinister reworking of the "Eton Boating Song" which plays over the film's opening credits. It's pure gold, and since the Anchor Bay DVD's menu has it playing on a loop, I like to leave it on the menu for a bit after I've finished the film.
Society has a never-ending charm that's impossible for me to tire of. I'd probably rank it somewhere among my top ten personal favorite horror films if I were to make such a list. I remember trekking all over the metroplex just to find a copy back on the DVD's release date (the same day Near Dark hit DVD from what I remember). Good times!