Speculative Fiction Saturday, So Bad, It’s Good Month: The Faculty

FacultyI realize that this month I have been reporting on films that are deliberately so bad that they are good, and this is a deliberate attempt. The issue with The Faculty is that its premise is so far-fetched that it should have failed, but it just didn’t.

Part of the reason why this film works is that it is in the hands of Robert Rodriguez. If you aren’t familiar with this director, then you really should. He’s best known for films that have a more horror slant, and they are also very far-fetched. In From Dusk Til Dawn, it was about two bank robbers who suddenly run into vampires. Then there is the Spy Kids series, about two kids who have to save their spy parents in a James Bond goes mad type of world. Then there is the Sin City and Desperado series.

Those are all films with just ridiculous premises. The Faculty has one that is even dumber as some students at a high school find out that their teachers are aliens. To me, this sounds like a film that is targeted for kids, but it is R-Rated for older teens and adults to love.

The film starts out in a typical high school, and it feels just like any other John Hughes movie from the eighties. For some odd reason, the main characters’ names show up as titles written in what looks like blood. From there, you can see who the usual archetypes like the nerd, the jock, the stoner, etc. The film seems to know that we know that these are just stereotypes, but it does take its time to develop each of them pretty well.

From there, the gym teacher is introduced. This guy is a cliche. He is the mean teacher who just lives to make his students run laps because he is a jerk. As it turns out, he has a good reason for that, because an alien has taken over his mind. This coach is played Robert Patrick, and he is channeling the role he will always be known for with the T-1000.

Elijah Wood then finds this weird lifeform, and his biology teacher, played oddly enough by Jon Stewart (who has the name Edward Furlong, the kid who played John Conner in Terminator 2, weird). The biology teacher realizes that it is some parasitic form of life, and it has been in the process of taking over all the teachers at the high school.

In fact, the teachers are essentially breeding these asexual beings and putting them on the students as host. Suddenly, the plot becomes Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and it is really strange how the characters acknowledge this.

So, if this is the case, how does one avoid being taken over by these alien life forms? It is quite easy, just take drugs. Yeah, seriously, I can’t believe the nineties allow this movie to exist, as drugs was the way to see whether or not the alien took you over. This film is like an anti-PSA.

I have always liked films where the odds are very much stacked against the main character, and I would have accepted a tragic or heroic ending. I’m not going to bother telling you how this one ends, because honestly, it is worth being surprised over. I honestly can’t believe that this film worked, and maybe it is because it takes itself too seriously.

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