Monday, September 13, 2010

The Thing & The Faculty

A few days ago on Twitter I was tweeting while watching The Faculty. That started up an interesting debate with Tyler Foster of DVD Talk and Trevor Schoenfeld of Schofizzy’s Movie Reviews. Trevor and me thought that The Faculty was a rather unique twist on Invasion of the Body Snatchers, in which the film actually addressed. However, Tyler thought that the film bared a close resemblance to Carpenter’s The Thing. Knowing my profound love for The Thing I didn’t really see it and I stuck to my ground that was until I got to a specific scene in The Faculty that was exactly like the infamous blood testing scene in The Thing. So, Mr. Foster was right to some degree! There was a hint of The Thing in The Faculty and here is my breakdown of the scene.

Aside from the obvious that they both are a result of an alien that takes over the human body, here the scenes start off with one of the main characters performing some kind of test to prove that the others aren’t’ infected. In The Thing, MacReady heats the end of a copper wire to poke the Petri dish full of blood. In The Faculty, Zeke proposes that the group sniff homemade drugs that have sodium to weed out the infected person. They both keep the audience in suspense and guessing who might be the infected person. Though The Thing does a better job of suspense while The Faculty just gives us an awkward sense of humor.

When the test is passed around, both films have a scare point… showing us the person who is really infected. In these scenes, they are the last person we would have suspected and right fully so however, in The Faculty Delilah is still human whereas Palmer is no longer human. The other funny thing I noticed that both films have is the infected person goes batshit insane. The Palmer-thing goes apeshit killing people and Delilah goes bizerk and destroys Zeke’s drug lab.

I also find it funny that both scenes have the infected person break out of the building they are in and further their crazy behavior. Only difference is: in The Faculty, another infected person driving a car picks up Delilah. In The Thing, the Palmer-thing is lit on fire and left to burn.

Now lets talk about the setting. In The Faculty, this scene takes place in Zeke’s garage whereas in The Thing… it takes place inside the lounge area. But lets breakdown Zeke’s garage. It’s filled with boxes, equipment, tubing and other typical storage looking things and bares an uncanny resemblance to the storage facility the research team found a near-frozen MacReady in. In other words, the garage looks just like a typical storage room you’d expect to find at Outpost 31. The garage is clustered and feels musty; perfectly attributing the claustrophobic rooms from The Thing. If it’s a coincidence; than what a coincidence.

I guess you can also say that each character is some sort of high school reincarnation of the research team at Outpost 31. Though the characters who ended up being infected seem to have switched. Below is how I see the matchup of each character.

Zeke = MacReady

Casey = Windows

Delilah = Garry

Stokely = Palmer

Marybeth = Nauls

Stan = Childs

The other similarity, as Tyler mentioned, is that in each movie the alien takes over the body in some way. Though in The Thing, it replicates the body and jumps from host to host singularly. In The Faculty, the alien parasite invades and controls the human body and can jump into multiple hosts. So this testing scene even further bares a resemblance to The Thing.

I still maintain the fact that The Faculty is more or less a direct homage to Invasion of the Body Snatchers though there is hints of The Thing scattered around. Either way you slice it, these two films are both very interesting interpretations of classic science fiction film and literature.


Eddie said...

Watching The Faculty r/n and was printed to google search "The Faculty The Thing" just after the testing scene. I wanted to see that I wasn't the only one who noticed the similarities.

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