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Teen Movie Tuesday: The Faculty/Disturbing Behavior (1998)

Talia Johnson, Opinions editor

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This week, we’re going down the rabbit hole with this collaboration review. These two films being: Disturbing Behavior directed by David Nutter was released on July 24th, 1998 and The Faculty directed by Robert Rodriguez was released on December 25th, Christmas day, also in the year 1998. The reason I’ve decided to pair these two together is that they are very similar. Both films fall into the categories of sci-fi, horror, and suspense while also being a teen film. They both take place in a small town high school where the students and staff have begun behaving strangely and a group of students begins to suspect and conspire against the majority. Although both films may have some obvious differences, they can appear interchangeable. To be quite frank, The Faculty is just Disturbing Behavior with a bigger budget. Let the comparing begin.

In The Faculty, the estranged group actually consists of every teen movie stereotype you can think of. If you’re looking for a version of The Breakfast Club where Principal Vernon is possessed by an alien parasite and is viciously killed by The students, you’ve come to the right place. There’s Stokely Mitchell (Portrayed by Clea Duvall) who is your run-of-the-mill gothic girl who everyone thinks is same-sex orientated but actually has a crush on the most popular jock in school, Stan Rosado (Portrayed by Shawn Hatosy). Delilah Profitt (Portrayed by Jordana Brewster) is the queen bee of Harrington High school who is dating Stan but their relationship is nothing more than a status quo. Her attention is actually on the school nerd, Casey Conner (portrayed by Elijah Wood). The last two members of this group are Zeke Tyler (Portrayed by Josh Hartnett) who is a super senior who shamelessly flirts with his reserved English teacher, sells drugs he makes in his basement in emptied pens, and who has a thing for yet another teen movie stereotype, the pretty new girl named Mary Beth Hutchinson (Portrayed by Laura Harris). Delilah and Casey sneak into the faculty room and witness the teacher’s disturbing behavior, which has them trying to bring attention to this. Afterward, even stranger things start to occur which gets Stokely, Stan, Zeke, and Marybeth on board with Delilah and Casey’s conspiracy. Indeed, both of those puns was fully intended.

In Disturbing Behavior, there are fewer characters in the estranged group, especially halfway through the film. Steve Clark (Portrayed by James Marsden) is the new kid at Cradle Bay High school. He meets three dark horses: Gavin Strick (Portrayed by Nick Stahl) a burnout who suspects the school’s blue ribbon program of being something darker than what is depicted, U.V. (Portrayed by Chad Donella) is an albino teen, and Rachel “Rae” Wagner (Portrayed by Katie Holmes) who is referred to as “ Cook Ridge trash” is this edgy, punk girl. Suspicions about the popular kids at their school, The Blue Ribbons, come up after Gavin witnesses something he shouldn’t have while walking his dog one night. Rachel, U.V., and Steve don’t believe him. Until one day, Gavin comes to school dressed in a completely different attire from what he was wearing 12 hours prior, Gavin is acting different, and now sits with The Blue Ribbons, ditching his friends. This starts the questioning, suspicions, and conspiring between Rachael, Steve, and U.V.

Both of these films are heavily influenced by the 1978 film, Invasion of The Body Snatchers directed by Philip Kaufman which is about a doctor discovering that emotionless alien parasites are occupying locals around his small town. Also seeing that both movies came out in 1998, twenty years later, you can catch easter eggs in both films. Disturbing Behavior and The faculty catch the very aspect of a perfect science fiction. These films combine two of my favorite genres: Horror and Teen drama. Which is why they are my favorite science fiction movies.

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Teen Movie Tuesday: The Faculty/Disturbing Behavior (1998)