Tuesday, March 8, 2016

"Society" (1989) d/ Brian Yuzna

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Despite the phenomenon of hipsters' hot mustachioed air romanticizing the eighties, it was a decade with just as much suck as any of the others in recent history. Despite being completed in 1989, Brian Yuzna's Society, his directorial debut and the subject of our focus tonight, was shelved until 1992. Despite having a place in the Top 100 lists of what looks like a significant amount of horror fans today, Society can also be considered a horribly dated, overly long,  mostly unfunny reminder of all the embarrassing clothes, hairstyles, synth-driven shit pop, and attitudes that those of us who endured all ten years of that inane decade in person have been trying to forget (for the most part) for thirty-plus years. One man's half-checkered Chess King sweatshirt is another man's pair of Stars n' Stripes bellbottom dungarees, I suppose...

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In the eighties, I had little trouble achieving very similar trajectory with mine own fizz.
Bill (Billy Warlock) is discovering that he's unlike the other members of his immediate Beverly Hills family unit, choosing to come off like a down-to-earth poor man's Charlie Sheen rather than putting on airs of snobbish, affluent detachment. His high falootin' parents seem to favor his snooty sister, Jenny (Patrice Jennings) over him, often to uncomfortable-as-a-Penn-State-shower-with-Sandusky levels. His feelings of alienation lead him to the couch of resident head shrinker, Dr. Cleveland (Ben Slack), with whom he confides a feeling of having been adopted, relating a freaky contortionist vibe while stumbling in on his sister's shower, and later an audio cassette culled by her teen stalker ex, Blanchard,  from her "coming out party", which sounds more than a little like an incestual feeding frenzy initiated by his parents (!) that degenerates into a debutante dick down (Zingers like "First we dine, then we copulate!" can be heard by all).

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The room was empty as I staggered from my bed, I couldn't bear the image racing through my head...
Meanwhile, Bill's been keeping his vapid blonde cheerleader/girlfriend, Shauna (Heidi Kozak), in the dark about a not-secret-in-the-least crush he's developed on the dark, mysteriously malleable Clarissa (Devin DeVasquez), who, by the looks of it, beats Shauna on Kama Sutra expansion points alone. Her weirdo mother seems to have developed a taste for human hair, for some reason. He's also bullied on the beach by a preppy crew of Biff's and Chad's, who dangle an invite to an upcoming exclusive party of theirs over his head like a savory doggie treat. At least, until Blanchard dies in a car accident, and an invitation to the very party he'd been desperately trying to get into, inexplicably arrives in the mail. It's right about here that the film speeds into a lengthy, noxiously disgusting climax that shouts, "This is not Ferris Bueller's Day Off!". Needless to say, it's something you're going to have to experience for yourselves at least once before you die. I'll say that much.

"Ahuhuhhuhhuh...shut up, Beavis...dumbass."
Yuzna, who produced the original 1985 cult classic, Re-Animator, also directed two Re-Animator sequels, two "The Dentist" movies, the fourth Silent Night, Deadly Night sequel, and the third Living Dead sequel, so he's obviously not opposed to hooking a hulking, fragrant cheese wheel to a film projector reel, in fact he's made quite a career out of it, to date. This one's just not one of my favorites. That said, I certainly appreciate the iconic, unsettling effects work of Screaming Mad George on display here. The level of queasiness he achieves with it on this film is impressive, indeed. Though it isn't a cup of tea I'd ever regularly sip at, I could see others easily having a greater fondness for it than I do. One Wop.

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Four double dipped pre-orgy blotters might have been overdoing it, slightly.
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