31 Days of Horror, day 21: Society
categories: 31 days of horror
First order of business: in case you missed it yesterday, I shared all of 2020’s 31 Days of Horror in one long blog post! It had previously debuted elsewhere, so you may have missed it. You know, two years ago. Secondly, I shared a very on-the-nose Halloween ensemble!
Society is one of those movies that have been on my radar for as long as I’ve remembered seeing it on the horror movie shelf at Blockbuster, but I’d never really been intrigued enough to watch it in those days, and as time went on, it was just forgotten. A friend messaged me about it on Instagram the other day, asking if I’d heard of it or seen it, and all of a sudden, I was brought back to those Friday evenings, scouring the shelves for the most lurid VHS covers, and I reflected on all the times I had passed it over. Now’s the time, I thought!
Many horror blogs on the internet will have you believe that Society is a MUST-SEE for a “true horror movie fan.” I don’t know about that.
The long and short of it is that rich, privileged Billy is plagued with strange fears and paranoia with regard to his well-to-do Beverly Hills family; despite the fact that he seems to have everything going for him, he feels increasingly alienated and a deep unease that under the glossy veneer of the respectable folk in his family and their well-bred connections, something terrible lurks in wait. There’s a lot of typical 80s humor and gratuitous boobage and for the most part, it seems like an overly drawn-out joke that’s getting old before it’s getting funny…but then you get to the last ten minutes of the film. Then the squelching begins.
This is a bizarre offering that has garnered cult-movie status and reviewers often note its surreal nature and the element of satire that runs through, and while I don’t disagree, I also think that those aspects (which we may tend to think of in terms of “elevating” the story being told) are squashed by a really poorly written story and characters that don’t make a damn bit of sense. There’s a scene in which Billy is hanging out with his new romantic interest and she asks “How do you like your tea? Cream? Sugar? Or do you want me to pee in it?” WHAT! And what is even UP with that girl’s MOTHER? She’s cuckoo bananas and looks, as several other folks have observed, like she wandered in from a nearby John Waters set.
What I do find extra funny is that casting people from all five of the major mainstream daytime soaps (AND Baywatch) saw Billy Warlock in this strange little low-budget b-movie and thought “yeah, that’s our guy! Yessir, that’s our A.J. Quartermain right there.”
While I did not love this film, of course it goes without saying that I loved everything about this background character and her high volume, towering tresses. Alas, this goddess and her shocking locks were not assigned a single line. Someone on Twitter suggested that her companion in this scene was the Encyclopedia Britannica kid, hee hee!
Society is available for viewing on Amazon Prime.
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