The Faculty (Arrow Recommends)

The Faculty (Arrow Recommends)
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"Arrow Recommends is a column that has my sorry ass advise older movies to your royal asses. I will be flexible in terms of genres i.e. I will cover whatever the bleep I want. For now, it will be the way to keep my voice on the site."

PLOT: The teachers at Herrington High School get “taken” by alien parasites and its up to a ragtag group of“stereotypes” students (the jock, the rebel, the popular girl, the geek, the Goth-ish chick etc) to take them out before the invasion spreads and the world goes kaput.

“ If you were going to take over the world, would you blow up the White House 'Independence Day' style, or sneak in through the back door? " - Casey

LOWDOWN: I always dug the Kevin Williamson penned and Robert Rodriguez directed 1998 THE FACULTY (WATCH IT HERE of get the Blu-Ray HERE). It got a bad rap by the critics upon its initial release but the audience loved it and it made all kinds of coin (Why no sequel?), and re-watching it today I was reminded as to why. Taking a cue from CLASS OF 1999 which came out 8 years before, THE FACULTY is was what I like to call an effortless watch in the sense that it rolled fast, didn't require too much brain power and was entertaining from top to bottom. Here are 10 reasons why this celluloid horror romp should be on your Halloween night watch list!

1- It has a KILLER soundtrack! Ditties like I’m 18 by Alice Cooper, The Kids Aren't Alright by Offspring, Medication by Garbage and the the killer cover Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) by Class of 99 did right by me! 

2- Rodriguez’s energetic and kinetic visual style! The man eye-candied this puppy up like the champ that he is with stylish framing and crazy shots up the ying yang. Tag to that the often inventive editing and you get a retina pleasing ride! 

3- The dialogue! Hey man, I’m a film geek, and although Williamson often has a tendency to overdo it with the references in is scripts (H20 anyone?), here he had just the right amount of quips with the Body Snatchers being a rip-off of Heinlein’s 1951 novel The Puppet Masters monologue being my fav! I also found many of the lines cleve and funny with the "I don't think that a person should run unless he's being chased." exchange being a prime example.

4- The killer teacher cast! It was a freaking treat to watch actors of such high caliber take on these villainous roles. Robert Patrick, Famke Janssen, Bebe Neuwirth, Piper Laurie, Daniel von Bargen, Jon Stewart and Salma Hayek all owned it! NOTE: Look out for Robert Patrick doing his T-1000 run. NOTE 2: Daniel von Bargen’s “this is the test” line delivery was simply sublime. Gets me every time.

5- The gore! You’d think that THE FACULTY would be a PG-13 affair due to its teeny-bop cast but it wasn’t. It pimped some nudity and wound up with an R Rating at the time (if made today, for sure he’d be a PG 13 - minus nudity of course). Some of the grisly highlights include: A crazy decapitation, a vicious slice-happy with scissors bit and some old fashion stabbing in the eye sockets. Fun shite!

6- The giant monster?!!! Yup, this one eventually went THE RELIC on our asses and gave me a taunt and action driven GIANT MONSTER scene that f-ing delivered! It made no sense logistically (how a human can turn into a giant creature), bt I had went with it.

7- The Teen cast! Elijah Wood, Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Josh Hartnett, Hartnett’s bed hair and Shawn Hatosy were all credible and affable as our young heroes. On that Canadian actress Laura Harris stole the show for me as Marybeth. She hit all the right notes and gave a transfixing showcase. I'm surprised that her star didn’t rise higher. I wonder what she’s up to today? Where are you Laura?!

8- Loved  the many THE THING references and the “test” scene inspired by it was so on the money. 

9- It’s a whodunit! On top of being an alien invasion flick, in usual Williamson fashion, it’s also played the whodunit card, which only added to my enjoyment. On my first watch, I had no clue who the “hidden in plain sight” baddie leader was. Well played! 

10- The use of Practical Effects (by the geniuses at KNB no less) was mucho esteemed by this jerk! Lots of "out there" stuff to disgest here. Too bad that they wound up ruining some of the gags with subpar CGI…

Which brings me to why I am not giving the flick a higher rating. It was a little too thin for my liking. I wish it had delved further into its character relationships which were mucho paper thin. Thank Crom the cast was charismatic! NOTE: It should be said; the Hartnett/Janssen courtship early on was far from credible and sported the only awful chunk of dialogue END OF NOTE. Again, the CGI was ass! The technique was in its infancy back then and clocking the movie today it lessened the impact of some of the horror scenes (the walking head gag was ruined by it IMO).

And was I alone in feeling that the film was a tad loosy-goosy (yes I just said that) with its rules? For example, I had a hard time buying people being turned after being killed. Made no sense. Finally, our teen heroes were at times WAY TOO SMART to serve the plot. How they figured out what they needed to do to end the invasion for example was far from gullible. I didn’t buy it and that of course cost some points. Overall though THE FACULTY would make for an ideal END OF HALLOWEEN NIGHT watch when you, your buds and the beer buzz are winding down. It’s fun, fast and easy - come up with your own pun. Tap it!



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