Title: The Faculty
Dir.: Robert Rodriguez
Producer(s): Elizabeth Avellán
Writer(s): Kevin Williamson
Company: Miramax/Dimension Films
Starring: Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Jordana Brewster, Famke Janssen, Clea DuVall, Shawn Hatosy, Robert Patrick, Salma Hayek, Jon Stewart, Usher Raymond, Laura Harris, Piper Laurie, Bebe Neuwirth.
It’s the 90s and teen horror films are all the rage.
We start off with Scream, then I Know What You Did Last Summer. The Craft, Disturbing Behavior, Idle Hands, Urban Legend, Halloween H20, the list goes on and on. Not every movie can be Scream or The Craft but there is something in between; The Faculty.
I remember the trailers being everywhere on television and in front of horror films that were released prior to. I grew up around this time and I was around the age of 11-13 so I was in that bracket of “this is who these films are for” despite being young on the teenage spectrum. Another part of why I remember this film’s released clearly is that Kevin Williamson was everywhere. And I watched Dawson’s Creek from the beginning in 1998 on WB so seeing Williamson in pretty much everything teen related back then is why this movie has a bigger nostalgia impact on me versus more of a cinematography vibe which is what this blog is about.
Williamson was involved with Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Killing (Teaching) Mrs. Tingle, The Faculty, Dawson’s Creek, Scream 2, The Vampire Diaries, a lot of media projects that I watched originally when released.
I hadn’t seen The Faculty in such a long time and there are certain scenes/moments I remembered. So this was going to be an interesting watch, especially at the age of 31 versus when I was much, much younger and this movie was a fit for that teen/90s MTV age.
Things to remember before watching: this is pre-Elijah Wood of LOTR. This is pre-Famke of X-Men fame. Usher was doing some acting, Fast and the Furious wasn’t a thing for Jordana Brewster and Josh Hartnett was a huge teen heartthrob.
Now that I finished watching The Faculty with fresher eyes…
I remember so much about this movie, especially who the big baddie is. And there was so much flooding back to me, even renting this movie from Blockbuster. There’s so much about this that makes it fun to watch.
It is a modern day version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers which also has its own remake too. I saw some references to Pink Floyd’s The Wall, definite Scream callbacks and feels.
Now that I’ve dived deep into horror with this blog and on tumblr for years now, it’s interesting to really pick up on easter eggs in horror. One thing I’ve noticed as an adult now is… there’s some creepy scenes that taken out of the movie is just plain horrible still. For example, the coach basically harassing the hell out of the principal. Or Janssen’s character post parasite hosting is also harassing a student (Hartnett), and getting up into his face and calling him names and out of his name and she thought that was cute. I think back when I was younger it was “ooh a teacher telling off a student” and now it’s “she’s fucking crazy.” Also I’m assuming that Hartnett’s character was of age because… the ending… yeah. I mean it is a happy ending for everyone.
However, there are some very cool scenes, memorable scenes and the practical effects are pretty cool. The digital effects/cgi are a bit wonky compared to what we have today but I guess for 1998, not bad. I’ve seen worse.
Memorable scenes off the top of my head: the scenes during the football game that takes place in the latter of the film. There’s fireworks and cheers and slow motion or slowed down footage that makes it creepy because it seems like the bad guys are winning (and they are literally in the game). Another scene is Wood’s character Casey being trapped towards the end of the film in the locker room and also the climax of him defeating the lead parasite (Brown).
It was shot in Austin, Texas (Rodriguez shoots a lot of his works in Texas) so there’s a nice warmth quality throughout the film until it dives deeper and it becomes cooler, which supports my theory of it’s all fun and games until someone dies and then the movie becomes cooler because the lack of life/warmth.
Watch The Faculty. I had fun. I think you will too. I would watch this movie again. I obviously did when I was younger.