6 facts and theories about THE FACULTY

6 facts and theories about THE FACULTY

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Having become cult on the video market at the end of the 90s, THE FACULTY turns out to be both mediocre and interesting and sympathetic, to the point that it continues to arouse debate among fans of genre cinema.

6. Another bully and crazy story

Like most teen movies, THE FACULTY discusses the rejection, harassment and isolation suffered by some high school students in the United States. Due to ultra-codified and imposed social categories (athletes, nerds, prom queen), the teenage crowd is alienated by a visceral fear of the other. Gold, THE FACULTY found in the figure of the news, of the weirdoof the thug, then of the extraterrestrial, a rather singular parabola despite its outline teenagers ultra-formatted from the 90s.

Photo from the movie THE FACULTY
Credit: DR

To go further, as Carrie before him, the film Robert Rodriguez is interested in nascent female sexuality and the exclusion it can cause – so much does it appear as a threat. So, out of fear, Stokely Mitchell (Clea DuVall) pretends to be a lesbian so that she cannot be sexualized. Similarly, Marybeth Hutchinson (Laura Harris), a newcomer to high school, flirts dangerously with the air of not touching it, before showing a voracious and monstrous appetite. THE FACULTY also has the particularity of leaving the teenager bulliedthe most in tune with his sensitivity – and the least fearful of women, triumph over the main antagonist.

5. The cast is still crazy

See you soon, THE FACULTY holds something incredibly confusing, due to its casting. Pure video club film, the faces that appear there did not evoke, at the time, much to the young spectator who came to rent his first horror film. Except perhaps that of Josh Hartnettwho became a sex symbol with the video success of the film – surprising, given the staggering haircut that he drags all along… However, already in 1998, the credits included several well-known names, including those of Robert Patrick, Salma Hayek Where Piper Laurie.

Photo from the movie THE FACULTY
Credit: DR

Seen from 2023, THE FACULTY suddenly becomes a big-cast movie. Since there are many unknowns from then, who have become more or less stars in Hollywood today. Let us mention in particular Elijah Woodwho would be successful two years later with The Lord of the Rings, usherwhich will place U remind me number 1 in the top 50 three years later, Clea DuVallteenage scream queen turned starArgo then The Handmaid’s Taleor Danny Mastersonfallen star of the small screen… And we forget many others.

4. Clea DuVall tries a Breakfast Club

Small slightly inconsistent meta fantasy in the universe of THE FACULTY, Clea DuVall embodies a weirdo in every way similar to the character of Allison in The Breakfast Club. All in black, dressed and made up like April Lavigne in 2004, she washes her face and adopts a BCBG look at the end of the plot to kiss the high school sports star… Just like Allison in the cult film by John Hughes. The parallel is quite obvious, especially since The Breakfast Club is a key reference of teen movie American, with the same target audience as THE FACULTY.

Clea DuVall in THE FACULTY / Above: final scenes of THE FACULTY and THE BREAKFAST CLUB / Below: Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy in THE BREAKFAST CLUB // Credits: DR

However, one would be entitled to wonder what this Allison sauce 90’s is doing there. Indeed, the film parodies a specific sub-genre of fantasy – the bodysuit, as it happens. And we have to point out here the main defect of THE FACULTY : too messy in these references, he seems to master them quite badly. All the more so, if you really think about it, Clea DuVall is more of a lookalike Molly Ringwall – Claire in The Breakfast Club – than’Ally Sheedy, interpreter of Allison. Seriously going to have to revise his classics…

3. Alien parasites suggest goldfish disease

One of the strengths of THE FACULTY remains this brilliant idea of ​​a thirsty parasite, dried up and destroyed with a lot of caffeine. An idea certainly drawn from nature itself. Indeed, this is theoretical, but the author of these lines thinks that these parasites are inspired by theIchthyophthirius multifiliis, responsible for white spot disease in goldfish. As in THE FACULTY, this parasite is propagated in its host thanks to capillarities present on all its circumference. Firmly attached, it ends up devouring the mucous membranes of the fish from the inside.

Fish with white spot disease
Fish affected by white spot disease // Credit: International Journal of PharmTech Research
Photo from the movie THE FACULTY
Credit: Miramax

In the same way, the parasite-aliens of the film develop in a humid environment and cling to the interior of their hosts thanks to long red filaments. They then absorb the water inside the bodies – which can be compared to the mucous membranes. It is perhaps no coincidence that the screenwriters of THE FACULTY have chosen an aquarium to reveal their monster to the viewer… Even more disturbing, white spot disease can be treated by causing osmotic shock in the fish. Roughly speaking, this means exposing a freshwater fish to salt to create a drying shock, fatal to the parasite… Does that speak to you? To us too!

2. Laura Harris looks like Patricia Arquette in Claws of the Nightmare

Laura Harris in The Faculty and Patricia Arquette in The Claws of Nightmare // Credits: YourProps and DR

Another meta theory maybe a bit exaggerated, Laura HarrisMarybeth in THE FACULTYstrangely resembles the character of Patricia Arquette in The Claws of Nightmare (Freddie 3). In this last, Arquette is interned because of her sleep disorders, actually caused by the bogeyman Freddy Krueger. However, in English, ” mad “ in the clinical sense of the term can certainly be translated as “mad”but also by: “aliens”. Should we see a clue in this disturbing resemblance? Or just a boring reference? Honestly, we can’t say…

1. Scream is still so much better

As mentioned previously, THE FACULTY attempts to parody the films of body snatchers – where many parasites, most often of extraterrestrial origin, take control of human beings, until they merge into the mass. Illustration of the fear aroused by communist ideas in the 1950s, the bodysuit movie has gradually become a parable of fear of the stranger and, more broadly, of the other. On this ground, THE FACULTY seems to have understood the concept. On the other hand, on its meta dimension, the film turns out to be much more questionable.

Written by Kevin Williamsonscreenwriter of Screamand produced by Robert Rodriguezgreat friend of the “Monsieur-Cinéma-Bis” Quentin Tarantinothe film is placed in a tribute to genre cinema, or even to the Z series. However, as recently pointed out by the columnists of the podcast Shitlist, the references he spreads with a trowel seem extremely superficial. From body snatcher moviehe retains The invasion of the grave robbers and The Thing, the most obvious. Moreover, he cites men in blackrefers to Freddy Krueger and adds a touch of Breakfast Club no clear hierarchy.

Photo from the movie THE FACULTY
Credit: DR

At the end of the film, we can no longer grasp the direction of the whole. Hence this taste of déjà vu, embellished with a touch of frustration. Because, despite its flaws, THE FACULTY deploys real good ideas, both in substance and in form. Unfortunately, he never goes far enough in their execution. Inasmuch as body-snatcher movieit’s not that bad, but as a meta horror movie, if it understands its stakes better than a remember last summerit struggles to rise to the level of a Scream. And one glimpses a slight swindle behind the personalities of Williamson and Rodríguez that we would have preferred to ignore.

Lily Nelson

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