Society (1989) Review

Happy Halloween! I decided it was time to bring this lovely post over to my own blog as it was lacking in shunting images. I don’t often review old favorites from before I started blogging but did this one for a fun blogathon over at Silver Screen Serenade (original post HERE). Enjoy!

Society (1989)

Directed by Brian Yuzna

Starring: Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, Evan Richards, Ben Meyerson

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Its plot follows a Beverly Hills teenager who finds his wealthy parents are part of a gruesome cult for the social elite.


My Opinion:

Here we go: I’m now going to talk about a film that all movie bloggers over a certain age should know well as I’m sure we all caught it on cable late one night & went “what the fuuuuuck?!?” (I know this was my experience with it). This is back in the days before the Internet was around to spoil a movie’s surprise ending for us before we had a chance to see it. You still had the occasional blabbermouth who might ruin a movie for you but it took a lot longer for word-of-mouth to travel back in the late 80s/early 90s and, although I think I saw this film a while after it was released, I’d managed to avoid hearing ANYTHING whatsoever about it. So imagine my surprise when I started watching a movie I’d not heard of on cable late one night that had that cute Billy Warlock in it. Yes – I’m talking, of course, about the 1989 film Society. For those who have somehow avoided seeing this one, there’ll first be some MINOR SPOILERS and then I’ll give another warning before giving MASSIVE SPOILERS regarding the crazy ending.

So, Billy Warlock plays a boy who is popular but just doesn’t seem to fit in with his rich family & their high society friends. Well, that seems pretty normal… who really gets along with their family? And rich people are wankers.

The movie is pretty boring at first & goes along really slowly with some dodgy acting. It felt kind of like an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 or Baywatch (which, hey – Billy Warlock was also in!). So I was getting ready to turn the channel & see what else was on when a couple of weird little things happened from out of nowhere.

Things like this:

And this:

Yeah – I think it was the “boobs on the back” thing that made me stick around. So some more stuff happens, blah blah blah… I still can’t really remember much of this movie until its ending – I don’t think anyone can. Then, after an hour of boredom, we get to the last half hour of this thing and WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED?!?! Shunting, that’s what! SHUNTING! What the fuck is shunting? I’ll tell you what shunting is! Now is your chance to turn back if you’re at all intrigued and want to see this movie spoiler-free. MASSIVE SPOILERS and NSFW images to follow………………
Billy Warlock comes home to find his family and their high society friends all engaged in shunting: a big orgy-looking thing where they’re all melting into each other & feeding off poor people. Like this:

And Billy Warlock’s mother & pretty sister have turned into this (the sister is the crotch):

And his father has truly become a butthead:

But it gets even BETTER. There is a way to defeat these high society bastards & escape so that you don’t end up being their next meal. I’ll keep that a surprise in case you still wish to watch the movie at this point but here’s a little preview. I think it’s one of the greatest moments in cinematic history:

I have to say I really kind of love Society – it must be my favorite film that I don’t actually own. I should change that… I was a big fan of Cronenberg’s The Fly for a good few years before seeing Society (like, was kind of obsessed with it & watched it over and over again when my mom wasn’t around to yell at me for watching nasty stuff) and I think, between these two films, I was kind of turned on to the body horror genre (I did a top ten of my favorite body horror movies HERE). Don’t get me wrong – Society is NOT as good as a Cronenberg film (and it’s not meant to be) but I can guarantee that anyone who saw it at the time hasn’t forgotten the final half hour. It may be super tame by today’s standards but that’s fine by me – nothing beats the cheesy special effects of a good 80’s body horror film. It’s a genre I still wish to explore more than I have – does anyone have any good recommendations?

My Rating: 7.5/10

Happy shunting, everyone!

My Top Ten Body Horror Movies


This list wasn’t easy to create as it was hard deciding what movies I consider to be part of the “body horror” subgenre. While researching this to get an idea of what movies most often tend to be considered body horror, I also managed to see enough gory images to last me a lifetime. Yikes. Guess my love of the David-Cronenberg-style of body horror is pretty tame & mainstream stuff!

First of all, I’ll give you Wikipedia’s definition:

Body horror is horror fiction in which the horror is principally derived from the graphic destruction or degeneration of the body. Such works may deal with decay, disease, parasitism, mutation, or mutilation. Other types of body horror include unnatural movements, or the anatomically incorrect placement of limbs to create “monsters” from human body parts. David Cronenberg, Frank Henenlotter, Brian Yuzna, Stuart Gordon, Lloyd Kaufman, and Clive Barker are notable directors of this genre.

I totally agree with the directors listed by Wikipedia – their films are the exact ones I’ve always had in mind when I’ve heard the term “Body Horror”.

Here’s a boring, rambling bit that no one has to read: It’s become a little joke with my hubby that my top ten lists often come with rules that exclude the Alien series of films (for the record, I think the first two films are pretty much the greatest things ever created & they’d top every list if I always included them). Such as, I don’t count them as “horror” so always say they don’t count in any “horror” lists that I do. Well, I’m once again not including Alien/Aliens as, while what happens to the body falls into the “body horror” definition, the body horror aspect is not the main focus of those films. The one other questionable one is John Carpenter’s The Thing and I went back & forth on whether to include it. The body horror is focused on much more than in the Alien films but it’s once again not the main focus. Plus, it seems too good to be included with the likes of the other movies on my list. Well, I’ve included it mainly so people don’t yell at me but it means it’s my number one by far. 😉

What I’ve Not Seen:

I’ll also point out that I’ve of course only seen a handful of “Body Horror” movies so, if I’ve not seen them, they won’t be on the list. I had wanted to do a body horror week but just haven’t had the time to get anything watched for it other than Cronenberg’s Shivers & Rabid. Maybe next October – I can always update this list! Most films in this genre are really too gross for me (I like my gore old & quite fake-looking) but the two I had really hoped to see before making this list were Altered States & Tetsuo: The Iron Man. So don’t ask why they (and the Alien films) are not on the list!!!!! (Someone will as no one reads these damn intros). 😉

**Edit to say I’ve now seen Altered States as of September 2017. My review is HERE. It doesn’t quite make my top ten (it’s not actually “body horror” enough). And I’ve now seen Tetsuo: The Iron Man, which also doesn’t make this list. Review HERE.

Enough blathering! Here are MY Top Ten Body Horror Movies counting down to my favorite:

10. TIE: From Beyond & Re-Animator

9. Basket Case

8. TIE: The Brood & Scanners

7. Night Of The Creeps

6. Videodrome

5. eXistenZ

4. Society

3. Slither

2. The Fly (1986)

1. The Thing (1982)

Honorable Mentions:
The Evil Dead
The Toxic Avenger
Altered States
Tetsuo: The Iron Man

I’ve Not Seen:

Society (1989) For April Fools At Silver Screen Serenade


Cara over at Silver Screen Serenade is running a great guest series this month where fellow bloggers have all written about movie endings “that fooled us“. There have been lots of great write-ups about those twist endings that we just didn’t see coming. Well… I’m not sure if the ending of Society is exactly a “twist” ending but it’s certainly one I didn’t see coming! You can read what I have to say about it HERE. You’ll have a shunting good time!

Thank you for letting me join in, Cara! And, um… I apologize… 😉



My Top Ten Movie Endings

Needless to say… SPOILER WARNING! I’ll first give just the list and then I’ll explain the reasons why I chose them further down the page so that you don’t have to read further if there’s an ending you don’t want ruined. This was very hard to narrow down so I’ve had to put in far too many honorable mentions. I’m sure I’ve missed some great ones that I’ll kick myself for forgetting! As always, this list reflects my personal favorites – I know there are BETTER endings than some of these. But these are the ones I love. 🙂

In order starting with the best:

1. Cinema Paradiso

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2. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

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3. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

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4. The Breakfast Club

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5. The Prestige

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6. Harold & Maude

7. Stand By Me

8. The Princess Bride

9. Mask

10. Toy Story 3

Why I chose them:

1. Cinema Paradiso

Oh my god… How did I not see that ending coming?! Best movie ending EVER and THE must-see film for all film lovers.

2. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

I love this movie from start to finish. I adore Jack Nicholson. How can you not love that awesome escape and that awesomely cool & creepy soundtrack music? Why don’t they make movies like this anymore?

3. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Hey – it’s Star Wars. What Star Wars fan doesn’t get warm fuzzies at the end of this one, especially as the music comes in? (I have a real thing for movie music – It’s VERY important to get the music right in a film and it’s especially great when the song or music in a final scene is perfect.)

4. The Breakfast Club

Perfect example of perfect final song! Probably wouldn’t be in my list without Simple Minds. Yes… I’m SO 80s. 😉 Don’t care. I feel all happy & warm inside when the song comes on & Judd Nelson sticks his soooo not teenaged fist in the air.

5. The Prestige

“Wait. What? Oh man – now I have to THINK.” I’ve left Inception off my list on purpose because I get annoyed at people liking it more than The Prestige. 😉 The Prestige is so much better!

6. Harold & Maude

Again – perfect final song! “If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out” makes me so freaking happy! I do like a bit of Cat Stevens! I’m so uncool.

7. Stand By Me

“He was stabbed in the throat. He died almost instantly.” *Tears!* Writer reflects. Writer turns off monitor (did he save that?!). He walks off to perfect final (title!) song. There I go with the music again…

8. The Princess Bride

Two great endings. The ending to the story in the story and the ending to the movie. And both are perfect. As is the whole movie. As you wish. 🙂

9. Mask

I’ve always loved this movie – I just really bought into both Eric Stoltz & Cher in their roles. I lose it every time she puts those damn map pins back in! And I love his poem, which ends the movie:

“These things are good: ice cream and cake, a ride on a Harley, seeing monkeys in the trees, the rain on my tongue, and the sun shining on my face.

These things are a drag: dust in my hair, holes in my shoes, no money in my pocket, and the sun shining on my face.”

And then Bob Seger’s Roll Me Away starts! Perfect for the final scene, although not a favorite artist of mine. But I do like this song thanks to the movie.

10. Toy Story 3

Don’t think I need to go into much detail. I’m such a huge fan of Pixar. Who didn’t feel tearful as Andy drove away, leaving his toys on Bonnie’s porch? *sigh*

Honorable Mentions (MASSIVE SPOILERS):

– The Lives Of Others (don’t be scared of subtitles. watch this!)

– The Secret In Their Eyes (wow – THAT is passion)

– It’s A Wonderful Life (duh)

– Planet Of The Apes (original) (it’s Earth, silly!)

– Thelma & Louise (watch where you’re going! crazy female drivers.)

– Pan’s Labyrinth (“He won’t even know your name.” F**k YEAH!)

– Heat (perfect Moby song!!!)

– Blade Runner (Director’s Cut. I think. Oh I hate alternate endings! I mean the unicorn ending. I think. Nevermind! There’s like 20 versions!)

– To Die For (Yes! Bitch on ice AND Donovan’s Season Of The Witch is another perfect final song!)

– Freaks (WTF? Is she a chicken?!)

– Saw (Duh. But the rest in the series ruined the first one for me.)

– Rosemary’s Baby (I love demonic children)

– The Thing (brrr)

– Heathers (Winona is cool with that cigarette.)

– Sixteen Candles (JAKE RYAN.)

– Pump Up The Volume (f**k you, evil adult authority figures!)

– The Terminator (wait… he came here to save my son and now he’s my son’s father? Who cares – he was hot.)

– Back To The Future (where we’re going, we don’t need roads!)

– ET (duh)

– Seven (duh)

– The Usual Suspects (big duh)

And a few more:

– Fight Club & Teen Wolf (for the penises, of course! Watch on slow speed. Trust me, they’re there. And… The Pixies, Where Is My Mind! Awesome end song!)

– City Of Angels (well, you f**ked up there, didn’t you Nic?! Lol!)

– The beginning of Memento (Ha! Yeah. I’m trying to be clever.)

And finally…

– Society (because… What the F**K?!)

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**Edited to add two more – The Secret In Their Eyes (above) and City Lights:

I’ve just watched Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights. Wow. That ending is now in my top ten (but not sure which one to take out). Lovely ending. 🙂

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