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Hollywood Underrated: The Faculty

The underrated history and impact of the 1998 sci-fi horror film “The Faculty”

By Joe PattersonPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 4 min read

What do you get when the screenwriter of the Scream series and I Know What You Did Last Summer collaborates with the director of Desperado and From Dusk Till Dawn? An edgy teen sci-fi thriller born from one of the most creative crossovers that many horror/thriller fans forgot about, The Faculty.

The Faculty (1998)

Released in November of 1998, The Faculty follows the story of a group of students at the fictional high school of Harrington High who discover that their school has been invaded by aliens. As the extraterrestrial force quickly starts to takeover the students and teachers with mind control, a small unlikely group of nerds, jocks, loners, cool kids and bad boys are forced to band together to stave off an invasion with sights set on the entire world.

To anyone who is a big fan of science fiction it was very evident that The Faculty got its inspiration from the stories The Puppet Masters written by sci-fi master Robert Heinlein and Invasion of the Body Snatchers written by Jack Finney.

The Puppet Masters by Robert Heinlein

Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney

The film has a lot in common with both stories, including a small town getting overtaken by extraterrestrials who use mind control to reshape society in a way that changes the personalities of everyone who’s minds have been overtaken. The film also keeps the theme of a one supreme leader of the aliens who is at the heart of the mind control that must be killed in order to abort the invasion.

The Faculty is truly one of the most unique, yet underrated masterpieces of horror that came out of the 90’s. When it first hit theaters my parents took me and my sister to the movies to see it and it definitely owned. It instantly became one of my favorite movies ever and I was obsessed with it for a number of reasons. The main reason being the special tone of the film that came from its creators, Kevin Williamson and Robert Rodriguez.

Scream (1996) by Kevin Williamson

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) by Kevin Williamson

Desperado (1995) by Robert Rodriguez

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) by Robert Rodriguez

A lot of the interest that fans and Hollywood had in The Faculty came from the fact that it was made by two of the biggest names in filmmaking who became prominent in the mid to late 90’s. Kevin Williamson who wrote the screenplay had become a top tier name in Hollywood when he revitalized the slasher genre with Scream in 1996 and Robert Rodriguez had become a new staple on the action genre with his contemporary westerns of the 90’s Desperado (1995) and From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). With Williamson’s slasher resume and Rodriguez’s appealing horror mark made with From Dusk Till Dawn Dimension Films who distributed The Faculty knew that the team up between the two filmmaking geniuses would do well.

Kevin Williamson and Robert Rodriguez

Kevin Williamson and Robert Rodriguez are both two of my top favorite filmmakers/writers ever, so I can definitely attest to The Faculty definitely being a film that delivers. Personally, what I like most about this movie is you can see a lot of their styles that were displayed in their previous works in this project like the whodunnit frame of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, as well as having what the critics noted as a “hip” young cool cast of characters. You also feel that thrilling nature of show down energy that Rodriguez introduced in From Dusk Till Dawn in the movie’s pacing.

The Faculty was also topped off by an ensemble cast of young actors including: Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood, Jordana Brewster, Clea Duvall, Shawn Hatosy and R&B superstar Usher Raymond. Everyone of them delivered a performance that solidified what was already so cool about the movie.

The Faculty also had a very underrated motion picture soundtrack to it as well. Songs from the soundtrack like “It’s Over Now” from Neve, “Stay Young” from Oasis and most notably the cover version of “Another Brick in the Wall” by Class of 99’ really set the tone of what was becoming the close of the 90’s.

Though not as successful as the Scream films or even I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty was still well received both critically and commercially. In the 20 plus years since it first came out many horror geeks and movie nerds have acknowledged it as an underrated and forgotten classic. As a big fan of the time period the movie came from I can honestly summarize The Faculty as being underrated due to it being a spin-off to the very energy it was spawned from, the revitalized slasher atmosphere of Scream, which also came from the film’s writer Kevin Williamson. If you remember that time period then you’ll notice that The Faculty also didn’t fit in with the incoming direction that the horror genre was going in which was that of more ghost-based horror movies and with more teen based sci-fi films not being a rising point of focus in the industry at the time, it’s safe to say that The Faculty just didn’t particularly fit in anywhere and being in a class all its own just kind of left it in that moment in time.

Though criminally underrated, The Faculty remains to be one of the most slept on classics of 90’s horror. In a way that’s kind of good considering that Kevin Williamson and Robert Rodriguez have both gone on to create films and television series’ that were a lot more successful to the point where if a younger fan who grew up with The Vampire Diaries which was created by Kevin Williamson or Alita: Battle Angel which was made by Robert Rodriguez were to look back on The Faculty they’d be amazed that two cinematic titans who are still going strong today made such a banger of a movie together a long time ago. Nevertheless, The Faculty will always be one of my favorites and it will always be an underrated classic.

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About the Creator

Joe Patterson

Hi I'm Joe Patterson. I am a writer at heart who is a big geek for film, music, and literature, which have all inspired me to be a writer. I rap, write stories both short and long, and I'm also aspiring to be an author and a filmmaker.

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  • Babs Iverson3 months ago

    Terrific review!!! Loved it!!!💕❤️❤️

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