I was at work pondering. It’s something you tend to do when you’re standing around awaiting the moment to serve. Like a coiled assassin ready to strike with all the…um…with some of….erm….to be honest I was just standing there hoping for an easy shift but after the subject of “Shunting” popped up again the mind did start to wander. This is what happens when you follow Kinky_Horror on Twitter.
We may need a smidge of context.
Have you seen Society? The 1989 flick from Brian Yuzna? I would call it a satirical horror on the theme of the elite living off what they see as the lower classes in society in what may be a literal sense. Having watched Society as part of “The Last Drive-In” I not only experienced what is a truly peculiar film but it was accompanied by many pieces of fact and trivia as Joe Bob Briggs delivered factoids straight into my brain, via my ears, because it was with words. Which could have gone in through the eyes but the where hearing words not reading words. I may have made this more complicated than I intended. I heard factoids.
Now the one that stood out was that this was more successful here in the UK rather than in the US. I remember seeing the video in the shop up the road with its modest video collection that while small you knew never to venture into the corner but to this day do not know why. I might know why. I may have even peeked. Unfortunately what my little brain was faced with may have been too gargantuan for my adolescent mind to comprehend and had blocked it from my consciousness ever recalling the memory. Sort of like any time I try to think of the right…um…thingnmny….you know…what’s it called? Words! The right Words. Whew, that could have been embarrassing.
Society is one of the video covers that stood out though my innocent little brain could not comprehend it. Now, however, I think I’ve worked why it may have been more successful. It’s not because of the cover if that’s where you thought I was going with that.
Whereas being a member of the right social group, being rich and successful, having all the entitlements that come with such things are possibly universally sought after, here there is always the mark of the class you were born into stamped upon your forehead that defines your place in that social grouping. You can’t see it but everyone else seems to be able to and you don’t want to be seen as a class traitor. A rather ridiculous notion to those of us who feel we have no cla…ah yes, I see where I was almost going with that. Not that sort of class. I have that class en masse in a glass. I…I really don’t. I can’t lie to you. Well, I can, but I won’t. Unless I feel the need. Which I don’t.
From over here the antagonists in Society look to be at the pinnacle of the 80s American Dream. Wealthy, successful, forever moving up. All these things that people are told to strive for. We don’t have that American Dream, mostly because we’re not American. Actually do American still have that dream? It was the 80s after all. The height of the Yuppie “Greed is Good” culture. If this film was released today would it be a huge success as we’ve stopped ignoring the man behind the curtain and wheeled him out into reality shows to see what they truly are like. As long as it doesn’t go off script and all the situations are preplanned in every detail. There are no curtains anymore, everyone wants to show off what they can do but you can’t.
I think the reason it was successful here is due to the fact that we are under no illusion that sort of stuff goes on. Having a royal family with a history of marrying cousins and allegedly having alleged sex orgies allegedly not that I’m saying those things have or will or did ever happen. Allegedly. We look at those people at the top and the culture they belong to and our first reaction is “You’re no quite right”. If you can hunt down a little fox with a pack of dogs then it’s no great leap to thinking you’re borderline psycho enough to do it to someone you think of as being that low on the food chain. Which is very likely why a film depicting the upper classes as whole other species who feed off other parts of society in an orgy of body parts melting together to form one huge orgasmic body of flesh does make a person think “That just what I thought was going on”. Yes, the upper echelon of society are forever Shunting.
Shunting. It took a while to get to it. You can see why I took the long way round. It’s hard to explain even when you are looking right at it. You have to see it to even believe it could happen. So much goo. There’s no way anyone not born to it could take part. You may reach the top but will they ever truly accept you if you can’t Shunt. So do beware you may be invited to the party but it might be as the dessert. There is a very good, almost definite chance that I’m pondering far too much on this and it was successful over here just because we like weird stuff. Yes, there’s a good chance all of this is me talking out of my arse.
It’s still not the most evil thing to happen in this flick. Two people park in disabled parking spaces at a hospital and they didn’t have any indication of a permit to allow them to park there. That’s right, no blue badge. Didn’t even put on the pretence of a limp. The swines.