Why 'The Faculty' Has So Much in Common with 'Body Snatchers' and Pink Floyd
What a combination link there, right? But that's what you get with a sharp teen horror flick with those kinds of subtle undertones....
That was an interesting shift in horror films: Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It went from alien ships raining down on us poor earthlings to...well, us. Literally. Put a whole different spin on the word 'invasion' where it wasn't about trying to invade a planet, but several thousands bodies. And it grabbed (or I should say snatched) the horrified minds of many.
What if we were invaded? What would happen to us? Nothing. For all intents and purposes, we'd be dead. We'd cease to exist. We'd be nothing. And those aliens would have everything. Not just the planet or our resources. But our very consciousness.
It was truly a striking concept that flooded the horror marketplace in droves with all sorts of copycats, and then the debut of this beast of a teen film suddenly came out.
The Faculty took the idea of the invasion and simply localized it. Instead of a planet -- everyone is in danger, no discrimination, nothing to signify what these aliens want or are looking for -- the alien(s) instead focused their effect on just those few teachers.
Now there's an interesting high concept. Ripe with all sorts of undertones teens would so get behind in a big way. Whoever thought of the concept should get a million dollars.
The idea is a select few students find that there is something going on with the faculty at their school. They've 'changed'. And not in a good way. It doesn't take them long to realize that indeed these teachers have been 'infected' -- either with a virus, or worse...an alien.
Needless to say, it becomes a survivalist piece about kids trying to escape from, well, school in an effort to save their lives. Now those undertones are surfacing, looking more like overtones, and it's glorious.
The truth is 'The Faculty' is a celebration of the teen life, hiding in the guise of an alien horror flick.
You've got drugs in it. Sex. Defiance. Standing up to the man. Like how Pink Floyd chants how kids "don't need no education" or "thought control." Truly genius. Everything a teen wants, but really can't have in the real world. And, of course, Josh Hartnett and...Jon Stewart?? (Awesome). And a surprising twist as well....
With all those themes in play, you get potentially a great story about kids basically saving the world from a bunch of crazy teachers hellbent on brainwashing children like body snatchers do -- except for one surprising revelation.
One of those kids in the bunch is the alien responsible for the invasion. I won't spoil it, though -- but it'll be the one you least expect to be an alien (and typically isn't that how it always works with these alien-type invasion-body-snatcher movies anyway?).
We now have an ever more interesting premise that isn't simply about Adults vs. Kids...
But essentially kids versus themselves. Adults simply are the vehicle guiding the antagonism as these kids realize the truth. In order to save the world -- and their faculty -- they have to kill the alien among them responsible for it.
Yes. The writer of SCREAM brought this to the silver screen with poise, power, and passion. A taut mystery thriller directed by the same guy who brought us...MACHETE? Okay. I'd buy into it (truthfully, I did when I watched it all those years ago).
When You Take an Invasion Premise and Narrow It Down to Groups, You Inevitably Get a Story Ripe With All Sorts of Overtones and Undertones Galore
That's ultimately the sheer beauty of THE FACULTY. It's no longer just a simple straight invasion flick. It's an invasion flick with a message: don't trust your teachers or even that one sexy girl across from you....
Because you never know if any of them might kill you. Or send you to detention.