I saw this thing while stationed in Germany in the early 90s. A lieutenant and I would regularly swap weird movies with one another to try to ‘out-weird’ the other. He made me watch Naked Lunch and I made him watch this. He won.
Society starts out weird and rapidly gets weirder. The main character Bill Whitney (Billy Warlock) is a member of a rich family in Beverly Hills. However, he never feels like he fits in either with his family or wealthy society. Not only is there an odd feeling of alienation, but he catches glimpses of bizarre, body-contorting imagery. Is it in his mind? Is he going insane.
A friend from school gives him a tape of his family in what sounds like a twisted orgy. When he plays it for a therapist, it’s completely different and normal. Corpses appear only to disappear when the authorities arrive. Bill’s obviously losing his mind, right?
It turns out Bill is adopted. His family–along with most of the upper crust in Beverly Hills–are a different species. They’re parasitical creatures that (literally) feed off the poor to survive. Bill was only kept as a sacrifice for his adopted sister’s ‘coming out’ party.
If this sounds like thinly-veiled social commentary about class structure–ding! You’re a winner! It definitely is. This is where it somewhat parts from Lovecraft. Howard would typically have the alien creatures be from inbreeding or from crossbreeding with aliens (The Shadow Over Innsmouth and The Dunwich Horror). Although I don’t think Howard would have minded this too much. He didn’t concentrate so much on class as race.
Anyway, the analogy is about as subtle as a nuclear weapon. Doesn’t matter so much, though. This isn’t a movie that takes the analogy too seriously. Plus, it’s incredibly weird
and surreal. The ending ‘coming out’ party is not something you’ll be likely to forget anytime soon. If you thought From Beyond was a mind-scrambler, just watch!
I don’t want to give too much away, as half the enjoyment of this movie is being surprised at how fucking weird some of the elements are. Did I mention it’s weird? The final “Party” is worth the price of admission alone.
Go dig up a copy and enjoy.