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Faculty, The (1998, Jordana Brewster, Elijah Wood)

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At Herrington High School, Ohio, new arrival Marybeth (Laura Harris) tries to make friends, while class nerd Casey (Elijah Wood) joins school newspaper editor Delilah (Jordana Brewster) in analysing something strange found on school grounds.

They are interrupted by the sight of two teachers implanting a similar device in a colleague, and soon realise the same parasite is gradually taking control of all staff and students. With only Marybeth, the moody Stokely (Clea Duvall) and the drug dealer Zeke (Josh Hartnett) seemingly immune, Casey and Delilah begin to fight back. The plan is simple: isolate the parasite, identify its weakness and destroy it. But the aliens have their own agenda, and may have already placed a traitor amid the rebellion…

Kevin Williamson’s approach to movies is akin to a bodysnatcher: find a host, suck it dry and spread the word; and such is his stock that Miramax persuaded original writers Bruce Kimmel and David Wechter to accept a story credit (adding $100,000 to the $225,000 they paid for the rights), leaving Williamson as sole scriptwriter, he having turned down an offer to direct.

In his place, Rodriguez (who was the first choice to helm Scream) brings instant credibility to the wonderfully preposterous plot, delivering a superior b-movie. The director shrewdly packages his class as a Breakfast Club-style assortment of oddballs, and had the inspiration to cast heavyweight online guru Harry Knowles in a cameo role. The result was months of favourable pre-publicity, good word of mouth, and $40 million at the American box office.

production details
USA | 104 minutes | 1998

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Kevin Williamson

cast
Jordana Brewster as Delilah Profitt
Elijah Wood as Casey Connor
Clea DuVall as Stokely ‘Stokes’ Mitchell
Laura Harris as Marybeth Louise Hutchinson
Josh Hartnett as Zeke Tyler
Shawn Hatosy as Stan Rosado
Salma Hayek as Nurse Rosa Harper
Famke Janssen as Miss Elizabeth Burke
Usher Raymond as Gabe Santora
Robert Patrick as Coach Joe Willis
Piper Laurie as Mrs. Karen Olson
Christopher McDonald as Mr. Frank Connor
Bebe Neuwirth as Principal Valerie Drake
Jon Stewart as Prof. Edward Furlong
Daniel von Bargen as Mr. John Tate
Jon Abrahams as F*** You Boy
Summer Phoenix as F*** You Girl
Susan Willis as Mrs. Jessica Brummel
Pete Janssen as Eddie ‘Meat’ McIvey
Tina Rodriguez as Tattoo Girl
Danny Masterson as F*** Up #1
Wiley Wiggins as F*** Up #2
Harry Jay Knowles as Mr. Knowles
Donna Casey as Tina
Louis Black as Mr. Lewis
Eric Jungmann as Freshman #1
Chris Viteychuk as Freshman #2
Jim Johnston as P.E. Teacher
Libby Villari as Casey’s Mom
Duane Martin as Officer #1
Katherine Willis as Officer #2
Mike Lutz as Hornet Mascot
Douglas Aarniokoski as Brun Coach

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