Society (1989 film)

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Promotional image for Society (1989 film)...

Society (1989 film), AKA The Shunting and Dark Society


"Society: it is a matter of good breeding, really." An ordinary teenage boy discovers his family is part of a gruesome cult for the social elite.



MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: R (Violence, Profanity, Adult Content, Sexual Situations, Nudity)

The film, its plot, and special effects run on bizarre violence, bizarre sex, and especially bizarre violent sex, and probably would not suitable for children even with heavy editing.

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • SS___ (Two Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian; vaguely similar in tone, could be a very loose adaptation)

This film does basically explore all of the same ground as such Lovecraft miscegenation-horror standards as "The Rats in the Walls (fiction)", "Shadow Over Innsmouth (fiction)", "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family (fiction)", "The Outsider (fiction)", "Pickman's Model (fiction)", etc., without actually being based on any particular Lovecraft story or creation, giving Lovecraft's original themes a unique - if distasteful - 1980s update.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.


Review Links:

Synopsis (SPOILERS)

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)
An ordinary teenage boy discovers his adoptive upper-class family is part of a gruesome, incestuous, slug-like sex-and-death orgy cult for the social elite.


Comments, Trivia, Dedication

  • Much of the crew from Re-Animator (1985 franchise) also worked on this film.
  • The original script had a different finale where the secret society was revealed as a cult that was out to sacrifice Billy for its own crazy reasons. Brian Yuzna, however, wanted a much more fantastic revelation, so he and makeup artist Screaming Mad George came up with the idea of the society being monstrous creatures that have evolved the bizarre, slug-like, shape-shifting ability to merge together and absorb and eat the lower class.
  • While shooting the infamous "shunting" scenes, Brian Yuzna would put a sign on the sound stage door that read "Abandon all hope ye who enter here". While filming these scenes, Brian Yuzna purposely avoided using any blood, fearing backlash from the MPAA. Tim Bartell's acting as the victim of the "shunting" was supposedly so intense and disturbing during these scenes that Yuzna decided to scale the intensity back a little, because even he found it too unsettling.

Associated Mythos Elements

Keeper Notes

  • A young socialite enlists the investigators' help when he discovers that he is the heir to the sinister secret of his family's wealth, power, and influence: his parents are part of an ancient secret society of hideous slug-like parasite-people that feed on the poor!