Of all the holidays celebrated worldwide, no single day is more loved by the UTG staff than Halloween. With the arrival of October, the time has finally come to begin rolling out a plethora of features and special announcements we have prepared in celebration of our favorite day, including the one you’re about to read.
31 Days Of Halloween is a recurring daily feature that will run throughout the month of October. The hope and goal of this column is to supply every UTG reader with a daily horror (or Halloween themed) movie recommendation that is guaranteed to amplify your All Hallows’ Eve festivities. We’ll be watching every film the day it’s featured, and we hope you’ll follow along at home. If you have a suggestion, contact us and we may include your favorite scarefest in an upcoming column!
Day 24:The Faculty (1998)
Imagine your least favorite teacher from high school. You know the one I’m talking about; the one that made an ass out of students to prove a point and threw in a VHS of Bill Nye the Science Guy when he didn’t feel like teaching class. He likely wore black shoes with a brown belt, drank an unreasonable amount of Diet Pepsi throughout the day, and had a voice like a pencil sharpener. That jerk also probably scheduled exams for Friday and marked you absent if you walked in just as the final bell was ringing. Oh, and let’s not forget the time he sent you to the office for wearing your hood up indoors, which, let’s face it, is a stupid rule to begin with. Okay, can you picture him in your head?
Perfect. Now imagine that guy with tentacles, rows of razor sharp fangs, and plans to systematically eradicate the human race, and you pretty much have The Faculty.
Written by Kevin Williamson (Scream 1 and 2) and directed by Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn, Machete), The Faculty centers around a group of students who all attend the same unusually violent high school (Seriously, I don’t get it–the first five or ten minutes is pretty much a montage of kids beating the shit out of each other). Though all outcasts in their own right, the main characters start out as either strangers or enemies but are slowly brought together as their teachers and coaches start acting slightly “off.” Following the discovery of a “new species” on the football field, things go from bad to worse, and, as you probably guessed, this unlikely group of heroes must band together to stop an extraterrestrial force from multiplying and conquering the world.
True enough, the plot line of The Faculty may not get high marks in terms of originality, but this film is still a gem. First and foremost, it does an absolutely phenomenal job at stoking one of the most basic human fears: being totally alone. As the film progresses and (spoiler alert) more and more students and faculty fall under the control of slug-like aliens that crawl into their ear and hijack their bodies, the main characters are left questioning who can be trusted, and who is a grub. This uncertainty creates a wonderful sense of danger even during the film’s more passive moments, and aside from propelling the story forward at breakneck pace, keeps the audience on the edges of their seats until the credits begin to roll.
On top of that, everyone and their freakin’ grandmother is in this movie, including Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood, Robert Patrick, Jon Stewart, Salma Hayek, Christopher McDonald and even Usher, just to name a few. Admittedly, the amount of notable actors starring in a film may not be the most effective way of determining a movie’s worth (i.e. New Years Eve, Movie 43 *gag*), however I consistently found myself chuckling at all the cameos, especially once they all starting getting dismembered. And if that last statement wasn’t enough of an indicator, there is no shortage of gnarly deaths throughout the film’s 104-minute runtime.
Few will deny that high school can be a scary place, but The Faculty takes this notion to the extreme. What’s more, it does so relentlessly, leaving little room for the audience to catch their breath amidst stomach-turning gore, occasional, well-placed campiness, and excellent, practical monster effects. Count me in.
Editorial written by: Kyle Florence
Last year’s Day 24 film: The Orphanage (El Orfanato)