The Faculty

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For the 1996 TV series, see The Faculty (TV series). For other uses, see Faculty.
The Faculty
The Faculty movie poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Produced by Elizabeth Avellan
Bob Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein
Screenplay by Kevin Williamson
Story by David Wechter
Bruce Kimmel
Starring Josh Hartnett
Shawn Hatosy
Clea DuVall
Elijah Wood
Jordana Brewster
Laura Harris
Music by Marco Beltrami
Cinematography Enrique Chediak
Edited by Robert Rodriguez
Production
  company
Los Hooligans Productions
Distributed by Dimension Films
Release date(s)
  • December 25, 1998 (1998-12-25)
Running time 104 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million
Box office $40,283,321

The Faculty is a 1998 science fiction horror film written by Kevin Williamson (Scream 1 and 2) and directed by Robert Rodriguez (Desperado and From Dusk Till Dawn). The film stars Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood, Shawn Hatosy, Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Laura Harris, Robert Patrick, Bebe Neuwirth, Piper Laurie, Famke Janssen, Usher Raymond, Salma Hayek, and Jon Stewart.

Plot[edit]

One evening at Herrington High School, a few teachers, the head football coach and the principal leave after discussions about the school's budget. Having left her keys behind, Principal Drake (Bebe Neuwirth) returns to retrieve them. In her office, she is confronted by the Coach Willis (Robert Patrick) who attacks her with a pencil. Drake flees to the main school doors and bumps into the drama teacher Mrs. Olsen (Piper Laurie) whom she pleads with to help her escape. Seeing the coach running towards her, Drake makes it outside and shuts the doors with Mrs. Olsen's help. After locking the coach in the school, Mrs. Olsen attacks Drake with a pair of scissors, seemingly killing her.

The next day the main characters meet with Casey Connor (Elijah Wood) a photographer for the Herrington High School newspaper who is constantly harassed. He is enamored with Delilah Profitt (Jordana Brewster) (the paper's editor-in-chief and head cheerleader). Delilah's boyfriend Stan Rosado (Shawn Hatosy) quits the school's football team to pursue more academic ambitions, which upsets Delilah, and she ends their romantic relationship. Zeke Tyler (Josh Hartnett), a student repeating his senior year who sells, among other illegal items, a cocaine-like drug he has concocted, is confronted by Miss Elizabeth Burke (Famke Janssen), who expresses concern for him over his illegal activities. Southern belle Marybeth Louise Hutchinson (Laura Harris), a new girl in school, attempts to befriend self-styled outcast Stokely "Stokes" Mitchell (Clea DuVall), who has deliberately spread rumors she is a lesbian even though she has a crush on Stan. Marybeth, on the other hand, develops a crush on Zeke.

While eating lunch on the football field, Casey notices a strange creature on the field. He takes it to Professor Furlong (Jon Stewart), where the specimen is examined and believed to be a new species of cephalopod-specific parasite called a mesozoan. Delilah takes Casey into the teacher's lounge to find a story for the front page, where they hide in a closet. They witness the coach and the drama teacher assault the school nurse (Salma Hayek) by forcing one of the creatures into her ear. They also find the body of Mrs. Brummel (Susan Willis). Casey and Delilah flee, and Casey calls the police. Principal Drake claims nothing is wrong and that Casey is seeking attention.

The next day, Casey tells the others that he believes the teachers are being controlled by aliens and goes to show them the creature he found, which is gone. When confronting Professor Furlong about the creature, he becomes defensive and attempts to infect them. Zeke cuts off Furlong's fingers and then injects his homemade drugs into Furlong's eye, seemingly killing him.

Concerned about Casey's suggestion that everyone at the school could potentially be infected, Zeke takes everyone he trusts to his house where he performs experiments with a captured alien creature. He determines that it needs water to survive and can be killed by his drugs because it is a diuretic. Zeke makes everyone take some of his drug to prove they are human and unaffected. Delilah is revealed as infected, and she destroys Zeke's lab and most of his drug supply before escaping.

Acting on Stokes' speculation that killing the queen alien would revert everyone to normal, the group returns to the school, where their football team is playing a game and infecting opposing players. Believing Principal Drake to be the queen, they isolate her in the gym and kill her. Stan goes outside to see if it worked, but is infected by the coach. Zeke and Casey go to Zeke's car to retrieve more of Zeke's drugs. Casey leads infected students away from Zeke, who encounters Miss Burke in the parking lot and seemingly kills her when he makes his escape.

Casey returns to the gym, where Marybeth reveals herself to be the queen, having faked taking the test earlier. Casey and Stokes flee to the swimming pool where Stokes is injured and infected. Zeke and Casey go to the locker room, where Marybeth reverts to her human disguise, naked. She explains that she is taking over Earth because her own planet is dying. Zeke is rendered unconscious. Casey takes the drug and tricks Marybeth into following him into the retracting bleachers. Casey traps Marybeth and stabs the drug into her eye, killing her.

One month later, everyone has returned to normal. Stan and Stokes begin dating, and Zeke takes Stan's place on the football team (while Miss Burke affectionately watches him practice). Casey begins dating Delilah and has become a local hero. Professor Furlong is adjusting to life with reduced eyesight and fewer fingers.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

In 1990, David Wechter and Bruce Kimmel wrote their first draft of the script and sent it out, but there were no buyers. It wasn't until after the success of Scream that Miramax bought the script and rushed it into production. Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein brought in Kevin Williamson to do rewrites, keeping the basic story, but rewriting the dialogue and adding new characters to make it more "hip". Originally, Williamson was set to direct the film, but he chose not to so he could direct his self-penned script Teaching Mrs. Tingle. The Weinsteins brought in Robert Rodriguez to direct the film instead.[1]

Reception[edit]

Reviews were mixed. Rotten Tomatoes tallied 50 reviews from critics (with 27 listed as positive and 23 listed as negative) to give The Faculty a 54% rating, calling it a "rip-off of other sci-fi thrillers".[2] Metacritic gave The Faculty a score of 61.[3]

The Faculty was viewed on 2,365 screens its opening weekend, debuting at #5 in the US, making $11,633,495.[4] Its eventual domestic gross was $40,283,321.[5]

Cult film status[edit]

Later commentators suggest that a cult film had been born and was maturing to meet an appreciative audience. In 2013, for example, Aliya Whiteley wrote an essay, "Revisiting Robert Rodriguez's The Faculty," which points out the movie's influences and homages (as opposed to "rip-offs"):

Mix Invasion Of The Body Snatchers with The Thing. Throw in some Terminator, a spoonful of The Breakfast Club, and a pinch of The Stepford Wives, and you've got a big mess of a movie set in a school that’s being taken over by a conformist alien, one teacher at a time. You’ve got the very funny, occasionally scary, quite gory, and extremely entertaining 1998 Robert Rodriguez film called The Faculty.

Whiteley added, "It's all about examining the tropes of science fiction with a smart, funny angle. Half of the fun in this film is in identifying where you first came across a certain character's name or saw a particular special effect. For instance, there's a brilliant moment with a head on legs that I defy you to watch and not think of a certain John Carpenter film."[6]

Keith Phipps also noticed the nostalgic homage when he described the film as "a Kevin Williamson-scripted high-school variation on Invasion Of The Body Snatchers."[7]

A decade after the film's release, a reviewer self-named Newt wrote:

I'm not sure which is scarier in The Faculty, the way the alien-infested high-school teachers go about their violent take-over-the-Earth mission or the way the supposedly typical students treat each other on a day-to-day basis. By setting his sci-fi-tinged horror flick in your common hotbed of alienation and conformity, screenwriter Kevin Williamson ... has really found a way to make you squirm. If the sluglike parasites scurrying around underneath the skin of villains' faces don't do the trick, the sight of intellectual outsider Casey (Elijah Wood) being rammed balls-first into a flagpole by a gang of jocks will. ... The Faculty succeeds as a youth-oriented shocker due to director, editor, and frequent camera-operator...Rodriguez's provocative eye and frantic pacing... [Most] of the alien FX are topnotch. And with a cast that isn't peppered with hip young TV stars, the film keeps you guessing as to which potential victims might actually survive for the inevitable [sequel].[8]

In 2005, a critic for Movies Made Easy enthused about the film and explained its long life. [9]

Soundtrack[edit]

The Faculty: Music from the Dimension Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by various artists
Released December 8, 1998
Genre Industrial
Britpop
Alternative metal
Alternative rock
Label Sony
Robert Rodriguez film soundtrack chronology
From Dusk Till Dawn
(1996)
The Faculty
(1998)
Spy Kids
(2001)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars link

The score is composed by Marco Beltrami, who had previously scored the teen-slasher-horror film, Scream, as well as Mimic. Both Beltrami's score[10] and songs by various artists used in the film were released as albums. The "music from the motion picture" album features songs by various indie and alternative rock groups.

  1. "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" - Class of '99
  2. "The Kids Aren't Alright" - The Offspring
  3. "I'm Eighteen" - Creed
  4. "Helpless" - D Generation
  5. "School's Out" - Soul Asylum
  6. "Medication" - Garbage
  7. "Haunting Me" - Stabbing Westward
  8. "Maybe Someday" - Flick
  9. "Resuscitation" - Sheryl Crow
  10. "It's Over Now" - Neve
  11. "Changes" - Shawn Mullins
  12. "Stay Young" - Oasis
  13. "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)" - Class of '99

Filming locations[edit]

The Faculty takes place in fictional Herrington, Ohio, but was shot in Austin, Dallas, and Lockhart, Texas.

Home Media[edit]

The Faculty was one of the few Robert Rodriguez films not to receive special treatment on DVD. Missing are traditional extras typical for a Robert Rodriguez DVD including "10 Minute Film School", audio commentary, and making-of featurettes.

Several scenes involving an additional character named Venus, played by Kidada Jones, were shown in previews but cut from the film.[citation needed]

The Faculty was released in several countries on Blu-ray, including Canada on October 6, 2009 by Alliance,[11] in Australia on September 1, 2011 by Reel,[12] in the United Kingdom on October 3, 2011 by Lionsgate,[13] in Germany on October 6, 2011 by Studio Canal,[14] in France on January 10, 2012 by Studio Canal,[15] and in the United States on July 31, 2012 by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goldstein, Patrick. "The Faculty". LA Times. Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  2. ^ "The Faculty - Consensus: Rip-off of other sci-fi thrillers". Rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  3. ^ MS. (1998-12-25). "The Faculty: Generally favorable reviews". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  4. ^ "'Patch Adams' Just What Holiday Ordered". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  5. ^ "The Faculty (1998)". Boxofficemojo.com. 1999-05-21. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  6. ^ Whiteley, Aliya (11 Oct 2013). "Revisiting Robert Rodriguez's The Faculty". Dennis Publishing. Retrieved April 21, 2014. 
  7. ^ Phipps, Keith (February 14, 2002). "Robert Rodriguez: Interview". The AV Club. Retrieved April 21, 2014. 
  8. ^ Newt (February 2, 2014). "Horror review: The Faculty". Earofnewt.com. Retrieved April 21, 2014. 
  9. ^ "THE CLASSICS: The Faculty (1998) Film Critique". Simply Cinema. Retrieved April 21, 2014. 
  10. ^ Other reviews by David A. Koran (2001-06-23). "The Faculty (2000) Soundtrack". Soundtrack.net. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  11. ^ http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Faculty-Blu-ray/7524/
  12. ^ http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Faculty-Blu-ray/28540/
  13. ^ http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Faculty-Blu-ray/27849/
  14. ^ http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Faculty-Blu-ray/26829/
  15. ^ http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Faculty-Blu-ray/33527/
  16. ^ http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Faculty-Blu-ray/44819/

External links[edit]