Blu-ray Movie Review – Society (1989)

Society
Directed by Brian Yuzna
Courtesy of Arrow Video & MVD Distribution
Original Year of Release: 1989
Blu-ray Release Date: June 9, 2015

society

I’ve been waiting for SOCIETY to hit Blu-ray for many years now. I first saw the film on VHS way back in 1991, when I was a sophomore in high school, and I loved every gory minute of it. But then it fell off the face of the Earth, and I couldn’t find a copy of it anywhere. I hoped it would not be lost to obscurity. Thankfully, the fine folks at Arrow Video and MVD teamed up to give this classic its due, and the result is a superb Blu-ray set that should top every Must Have List for 2015.

If you are not familiar with SOCIETY, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Arrow Video:

IT IS A MATTER OF GOOD BREEDING. REALLY.
After producing Stuart Gordon’s hit Re-Animator, Brian Yuzna (Bride of Re-Animator, Return of the Living Dead III) turned his hand to directing with 1989’s Society, and gave birth to one of the ickiest, most original body horror shockers of all time. Teenager Bill Whitney (Billy Warlock) has always felt like the odd one out in his wealthy, upper-class Beverly Hills family. For some reason, he just doesn’t seem to fit in. But his sense of alienation takes a sinister turn when he hears an audio recording of his sister’s coming-out party, which seems to implicate his family and others in a bizarre, ritualistic orgy. And then there are the strange things he’s been seeing – glimpses of people with their bodies contorted impossibly out of shape… Is Bill going mad or is there something seriously amiss in his neighborhood? Packing stomach-churning grue and thought-provoking social commentary in equal measure, Society is a biting horror satire which culminates in one of the most gag-inducing “climaxes”‘ in all of horror history. Limited edition digi-pak packaging includes a comic book.

If you have never seen this film, you are in for a visual treat. It features practical effects that pushed the limits of technology for its day. This is really saying something, and you will truly appreciate the effort the production team put in when you see them. Some are just downright vomit-inducing.

SOCIETY is shot well and looks great onscreen. This is due in part to the 2k digital transfer that director Brian Yuzna personally approved. The HD is excellent, and the film looks like it could have been shot yesterday. The sound is solid as well, giving us the original 2.0 uncompressed audio on the Blu-ray. I was wondering how that would stack up to the 5.1 surround sound audiences are used to these days, but my doubts were unfounded; the sound is great and is a perfect companion to the HD picture.

The acting is top notch as well, with Billy Warlock giving a great performance as the lead. He is supported by a slew of talent, including Patrice Jennings, who plays his sister, Jenny; Ben Slack, who portrays Dr. Cleveland; David Wiley, who shines as Judge Carter; and Ben Meyerson, who plays the jerk Ferguson. The whole cast does a fine job of working together, and the results pay off onscreen.

The special effects in SOCIETY are superb. There’s plenty of crazy gore to go around, too. In fact, there are literally roomfuls of it. You’ll have to watch the film to understand what I mean, but let’s just say you probably won’t want to eat prior to watching the film.

SOCIETY is a major win for me, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone who is a fan of horror and/or gore. This bizarre trek into the surreal will have you chuckling and cringing, and it is a good bet you’ll never look at the rich the same way again. In addition to amazing packaging (see the picture above for the cover), this Blu-ray also features:

* Newly remastered 2K digital transfer of the film, approved by director Brian Yuzna
* High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
* Original Stereo 2.0 audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
* Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
* Brand new audio commentary by Yuzna
* Governor of Society – a brand new interview with Yuzna
* The Masters of the Hunt – a brand new featurette including interviews with stars Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, Ben Meyerson and Tim Bartell
* The Champion of the Shunt – new featurette with FX artists Screaming Mad George, David Grasso and Nick Benson
* 2014 Q&A with Yuzna, recorded at Celluloid Screams Festival
* Brian Yuzna in conversation backstage at the Society world premiere
* ’Persecution Mania’ – Screaming Mad George music video
* Limited Edition Digipak packaging featuring newly-commissioned artwork by Nick Percival
* Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Alan Jones, illustrated with original archive stills and posters
* Society: Party Animal [Limited Edition Exclusive] – the official comic sequel to Society, reproduced in its entirety in a perfect-bound book

The film will be released next week, so make a note.

MSB

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