The Faculty (1998)


Introduction

The Faculty is a 1998 American science fiction teen horror film written by Kevin Williamson, directed by Robert Rodriguez, and starring Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Shawn Hatosy, Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Laura Harris, Robert Patrick, Bebe Neuwirth, Piper Laurie, Famke Janssen, Usher Raymond, Salma Hayek, and Jon Stewart.

The Body Snatchers TV series and film collection.

Outline

One evening at Herrington High School in Ohio, several teachers and Principal Drake leave after discussing the school’s budget. When Drake returns to retrieve her keys, Coach Willis becomes increasingly erratic and stabs a pencil through Drake’s hand when she attempts to leave. Drama teacher Mrs. Olson emotionlessly stabs Drake with scissors as she flees the school.

The following morning, the students arrive, including Casey Connor, the dedicated but perpetually harassed photographer for the school newspaper. Casey is the unappreciated assistant to spiteful Delilah Profitt, the paper’s editor-in-chief and head cheerleader. Delilah’s mistreated boyfriend Stan Rosado is contemplating quitting the football team to pursue academics. Zeke Tyler is an intelligent yet rebellious student repeating his senior year. Zeke sells, among other illegal items, a powdery ecstasy-like drug he manufactures and distributes; he is confronted by Miss Elizabeth Burke, who expresses concern for him over his illegal activities. Naive transfer student Marybeth Louise Hutchinson befriends self-styled outcast Stokely Mitchell, who has deliberately spread rumours that she is a lesbian though she has a crush on Stan. Marybeth develops a crush on Zeke.

Casey notices a strange creature on the football field and takes it to science teacher Mr. Furlong, who believes it is a new species of cephalopod-specific parasite called a mesozoan. Delilah and Casey hide in the teachers’ lounge to find a story. They witness Coach Willis and Ms. Olson forcing one of the creatures into the ear of school nurse Ms. Harper. They also find the body of another teacher, Mrs. Brummel. Casey and Delilah flee, and Casey calls the police. Principal Drake claims nothing is wrong and Casey is seeking attention.

The next day, Casey tells Delilah, Stan and Stokely he believes the teachers are being controlled by aliens. After Zeke and Marybeth tease them about their theory, Mr. Furlong confronts them. Furlong suddenly becomes defensive and attempts to infect them. Zeke cuts off Furlong’s fingers, which keep moving on their own (they are unkillable), and injects his homemade drugs into Furlong’s eye, apparently killing him. Zeke takes the five to his house, where he experiments on a specimen retrieved by Casey. He discovers it needs water to survive and can be killed by his drugs. Zeke makes everyone take his drug to prove they are uninfected humans. Delilah is revealed as infected and she destroys Zeke’s lab and most of his drug supply before escaping.

Acting on Stokely’s speculation that killing the alien queen will revert everyone to normal, the group returns to the school, where their football team is playing and infecting opposing players. Believing Principal Drake to be the queen, they isolate her in the gym and fatally shoot her. Stan confronts the coach and team to see if the plan worked, but becomes infected himself. Zeke and Casey retrieve more of Zeke’s drugs from his car. Casey leads infected students away from Zeke, who encounters Miss Burke in the parking lot and seemingly kills her while escaping.

At the gym, Stokely becomes suspicious of Marybeth during a conversation about pretending to be what one is not. Marybeth subsequently reveals herself to be the alien queen; earlier on, she faked taking the drug. Casey and Stokely flee to the swimming pool, where Stokely is injured and becomes infected. Zeke and Casey hide in the locker room, where Marybeth reverts to her human disguise. She explains she is taking over Earth because her own planet is dying. Marybeth transforms back into her true form and hurls Zeke across the room into the lockers, knocking him out. Casey seizes the drug and tricks the queen into following him into the retracting bleachers, trapping her. He stabs the drug into the queen’s eye. The queen infects Casey with her dying breath, but he almost immediately returns to normal upon her death. Casey returns to the locker room and finds Stokely and Zeke alive.

One month later, everyone has returned to normal. Stan and Stokely, who has shed her Goth girl image, are now dating, and Zeke has taken Stan’s place on the football team (while Miss Burke affectionately watches him practice). Delilah, no longer vindictive, is now dating Casey, who is considered a local hero as various newspapers reveal the attempted alien invasion is now public knowledge, even as the FBI decries it.

Cast

  • Elijah Wood as Casey Connor.
  • Josh Hartnett as Zeke Tyler.
  • Clea DuVall as Stokely “Stokes” Mitchell.
  • Jordana Brewster as Delilah Profitt.
  • Laura Harris as Marybeth Louise Hutchinson.
  • Shawn Hatosy as Stan Rosado.
  • Robert Patrick as Coach Joe Willis.
  • Famke Janssen as Miss Elizabeth Burke.
  • Bebe Neuwirth as Principal Valerie Drake.
  • Piper Laurie as Mrs. Karen Olson.
  • Daniel von Bargen as Mr. John Tate.
  • Usher Raymond as Gabe Santora.
  • Jon Stewart as Mr. Edward Furlong.
  • Salma Hayek as Nurse Rosa Harper.
  • Susan Willis as Mrs. Jessica Brummel.
  • Christopher McDonald as Frank Connor.
  • Libby Villari as Mrs. Connor.
  • Danny Masterson as Messed Up #1.
  • Wiley Wiggins as Messed Up #2.
  • Jon Abrahams as “Forget You” Boy.
  • Summer Phoenix as “Forget You” Girl.
  • Tina Rodriguez as Tattoo Girl.
  • Pete Janssen as Eddie ‘Meat’ McIvey.
  • Harry Knowles as Mr. Knowles.
  • Louis Black as Mr. Louis.
  • Duane Martin as Police Officer #1.
  • Katherine Willis as Police Officer #2.
  • Eric Jungmann as Freshman.

Production

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.

Filming Locations

The Faculty takes place in the fictional town of Herrington, Ohio, but was shot in Austin, San Marcos, Dallas, and Lockhart, Texas.

Soundtrack

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 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.

Release

Home Media

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 TV previews for the film, as well as Tommy Hilfiger commercials, but cut from the film. She is also visible in a scene in the theatrical version, standing next to Gabe (Usher) in Mr. Furlong’s (Jon Stewart) science class when they are looking at the “new species” in the aquarium.

The Faculty was released in several countries on Blu-ray, including Canada on 06 October 2009, by Alliance; in Australia on 01 September 2011, by Reel; in the UK on 03 October 2011, by Lionsgate, in Germany on 06 October 2011, by Studio Canal; in France on 10 January 2012, by Studio Canal; and in the US on 31 July 2012, by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment. Lionsgate re-issued the Blu-ray version in the United States on 07 October 2014 after Echo Bridge lost the rights to the Miramax films.

Award Nominations

The film was nominated for a total of eight awards, including an ALMA Award for director Robert Rodriguez, 2 Saturn Awards, 2 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards and 3 Teen Choice Awards, but did not win any.

Trivia

  • It grossed $40.3 million at the US box office.
  • The film has developed a cult following in the years since its release.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Robert Rodriguez.
  • Producer(s): Elizabeth Avellan.
  • Writer(s): Keith Williamson, David Wechter, and Bruce Kimmel.
  • Music: Marco Beltrami.
  • Cinematography: Enrique Chediak.
  • Editor(s): Robert Rodriguez.
  • Production: Dimension Films and Los Hooligans Productions.
  • Distributor(s): Miramax Films.
  • Release Date: 25 December 1998.
  • Running Time: 104 minutes.
  • Rating: R/15.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

YouTube Link

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