By the late 80’s the slasher genre was on a downward spiral to an inevitable end. Film series like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th were pumping out a new sequels every year. Each one being worse than the last. It wasn’t until 1996 when Wes Craven would revitalize the slasher genre with the movie Scream. If there was ever a definition of metacinema, then 1996’s Scream would be it. The lure and entertainment of the movie is in its ability to be “meta.” But the movie revitalized the teen horror setting and would spawn a plethora of copycat slashers like 1997’s I Know What You Did Last Summer and 1998’s Urban Legend. Even Michael Myers would make another appearance in 1998’s Halloween H20: 20 Years Later… which has to be the stupidest title in all horror movie titles. I’m a stickler for film titles and please forgive me with this rant.
I have never understood certain film series titles. It always bothered me that 1991’s Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare wasn’t given a “A Nightmare on Elm Street” title? The Halloween series pisses me off as the most. You have the Halloween movies listed in order up until number six, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. Why couldn’t they just call it Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers? But Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is just plain stupid. Just name the movie Halloween 7: 20 Years Later. I hate these small abbreviations or something that makes you remember the old stuff. As if 20 years later is supposed to make me more interested. But Halloween gets even worse! In 2002 we had Halloween Resurrection! Well that title is misleading because every damn movie Michael resurrects! Then Rob Zombie had to make his movies and name them Halloween and Halloween 2. So they started over. But then in 2018 we had just plain old Halloween. Wait, is this the third remake of 1978’s Halloween? No it’s a continuation after Halloween 2. Oh, so it’s technically Halloween 3. You mother fuckers! You finally did it. You just couldn’t stand Halloween 3: Season of the Witch could you! You had to make a movie that finally eradicates it from the franchise! These are the things that bother me and now there is another group of Halloween movies coming out called Halloween Kills and then Halloween Ends. Halloween Kills? What the hell does that even mean. It’s Halloween you jack offs! Of course he kills! Oh I get it, you have to refresh the series where the female lead comes out on top because “patriarchy!” Yea, fuck all those dead men that die before the final girl right. Up your ass with broken glass! At least Scream did it right. You have Scream, Scream 2, Scream 3 and Scream 4. There! It’s that simple and you don’t get confused by what order they go unless you’re a complete moron. I can never remember which Halloween movie belongs where, it’s all just one giant mess because people don’t understand continuity is important! Anyways, back to my main point.
So yea, Wes Craven did something and yada yada yada. The genre made copycats and… oh yea, the copycats! So with the door open for teen horror to make its way back, we were given another film that wasn’t a slasher but rather a monster movie but with all the same trimmings as Scream. This movie is one I appreciate more today than when I saw it and it is called The Faculty.
Man, wasn’t that trailer awesome? I’m pretty sure that was the famous Hal Douglas doing the narration. We need to bring that guy back! Anyways, The Faculty is a 1998 film directed by Robert Rodriguez and stars Josh Hartnett, Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Laura Harris and Frodo Baggins. The film received moderately positive reviews but has boosted a cult following in recent years.
In a small town in Ohio, the teachers of Harrington High are acting suspiciously strange and only a few students are taking notice. After discovering the school has been infested with an alien creature a group of rag tag teens are the only hope between a happy school year and the complete eradication of the entire human race!
Yesterday for day thirteen of my marathon I chose Slither, a film about a creature that crash lands on a small redneck town and quickly starts devouring the towns folk. With that said, I felt like doing another movie that is similar in many ways. Just like Slither, The Faculty is another movie that has that small town invasion scenario which stems from the silver age of horror movies like The Blob. A big difference between this movie and movies like Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer during the late 90’s is The Faculty gives us a perspective of a teen world during the 90’s that was much more realistic. Casey, Stokes, Delilah, Stan and Zeke are all outcasts within their school and even at home. Scream always featured teens that were gorgeous, popular and cool. They always seemed to get along with their parents and had no problem going back to school when shit happened. Which (too me) always made it hard to identify with those characters.
The Faculty is more honest with our characters and rides it out like The Breakfast Club. Casey is bullied because he’s a dork. Zeke is dealing drugs and the others are just miserable. Kind of like how being a teenager may be like. They all have to deal with the pressures of high school and the expectations of reality. This approach to the film sets up a perfect dynamic that is much deeper than most movies of that time. The monster in this film represents the outside worlds expectations and demand for teens to grow up and live a life of perfect norms. The monster masquerades as the character that is the complete opposite of our main group. She’s a virgin, nice, beautiful and always happy. She’s everything older generations want in a teenager. Her invasion and possession of the teachers and students represent conforming. She offers a better life but in the sacrifice of giving up ones own will and thought. This is kind of like real life. We all don’t want to go to work, pay our bills and vote. But we have to because we conform. Never is there a time in life when conforming is pushed on us the most than when we’re teenagers. There is no better monster that represents that than a hive-mind style creature. I absolutely love this kind of monster in movies and when it comes to 1998’s The Faculty, it plays a much deeper.
Apart from the teen drama and personal message of the movie The Faculty gives us a pretty awesome story. As this group of teens come together they rely on each other and learn much about the monster taking over the school. This leads to good breakthru and plot devices that seem to work. Each person grows and not only takes on the danger around them but also take on personal insecurities. The teens are interesting and their characterization is well developed as if John Hughes himself was writing them out. There’s loads of gore and scary creature moments but enough humor to give you a good chuckle every now and then. The monster itself reminds me of 1989’s Leviathan. Which is interesting because these monsters are both water monsters that infect their hosts! If you think that as in interesting connection then wait to hear this next shit! The Faculty has a deep connection to 2011’s Cabin In The Woods!
In the very first scene of Cabin In The Woods Sitterson and Hadley are discussing usual office banter when another employee walks up to them to discuss business. In this conversation Sitterson mentions a moment where they had a set back in the ritual. He says it was from ’98 and that the chemical department was to blame. Since The Faculty was released in 1998 and the monster was killed by Zekes drug… and since the events in Cabin In The Woods all take place because of Marty’s drugs! It all makes sense that The Faculty is in fact just a controlled ritual in order to appease the evil gods! Holy shit! Stop the presses! This is absolutely amazing. Even the main characters are the perfect archetypes for the ritual. Zeke is the smart guy, Delilah is the slut, Stan is the jock, Stokes is the fool and Casey is the virgin! This might also be the very first time the virgin is a male! Which could be the other reason Cabin In The Woods refers to 98 as the glitch year.
Do you see the connection people! Don’t you love it! I know I sure do! If you haven’t seen The Faculty ever then check it out. If it has been a while then watch it once more. Everything will make sense and will blow your mind. Regardless, it stands alone as a pretty fun and sweet horror film that was made in a time where horror was in a turbulent time. There aren’t too many 90s horror films that stand out but The Faculty does and for this we honor it on day fourteen of Horror Movie Marathon!