The Faculty

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Name: The Faculty
Abbreviation(s): n/a
Creator: Robert Rodriguez (Director), Kevin Williamson (Writer)
Date(s): 1998
Medium: Film
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: IMDB listing, Wikipedia entry
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Faculty is a 1998 horror/science fiction/teen film with an ensemble cast set in the fictional town of Herrington, Ohio (USA). A group of teenagers from different social groups become unlikely allies as their school is taken over by aliens keen on world domination.

Though schlocky in style, the film draws on a multitude of other texts and tropes of the genre - the premise is that of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the film's ultimate hero is a riff on 'the final girl' character common in postmodern horror flicks[1], and visually makes reference to films including The Thing and Evil Dead II.

The Characters

The ensemble cast of The Faculty are a reference in themselves to another teen film, The Breakfast Club. Each of the characters represent a stereotypical 'type'.

  • Casey Connor (Elijah Wood) - the weedy nerd, outcast and bullied by his peers.
  • Zeke Tyler (Josh Hartnett) - the drug dealer and lone wolf, self-assured but also outcast.
  • Delilah Profitt (Jordana Brewster) - head cheerleader, top of the social ladder.
  • Stan Rosado (Shawn Hatosy) - quarterback, dating the head cheerleader.
  • Stokely Mitchell (Clea DuVall) - goth loner, bullied by the mean girls.
  • Marybeth Louise Hutchinson (Laura Harris) - new girl, shy and sweet southern belle.

There are also a number of minor characters played by well-known actors:

  • Nurse Rosa Harper (Salma Hayek) - the school nurse.
  • Coach Willis (Robert Patrick) - the football coach.
  • Gabe Santora (Usher Raymond) - footballer and head bully.
  • Professor Furlong (Jon Stewart) - science teacher.
  • Miss Elizabeth Burke (Famke Janssen)

Minor characters rarely make it into The Faculty fanfiction, however, which tends to focus on the teen team.

The Fandom

Although the film was released in 1998, a good deal of fannish activity around The Faculty didn't begin until around 2001. This seemingly unusual timing was the result of a fannish drift as fans in Lord of the Rings and Lotrips fandoms were drawn to The Faculty on account of their shared cast member, Elijah Wood. The Faculty is one of a number of films that gained their own semi-cult status following the explosion of LOTR fandom due to sharing cast with the trilogy.

Although not a large fandom, The Faculty fandom has produced a number of high-impact, substantially sized fanworks, and maintained a level of activity over a number of years.

Online Spaces

faculty-fic and other Yahoo! Groups

The faculty-fic Yahoo! Group[2] was established in March 2002 by mcee as a mailing list to post fanfiction for The Faculty, including gen, slash and both FPF and RPF of all genres and ratings. Over the years, the Group has changed owners/moderators a number of times.

Early posts on the list included a variety of slash and gen stories, including femslash stories pairing Delilah and Stokely. As is the nature of the mailing list medium, the small group of members exchanged feedback for the stories on-list and engaged in other related discussions.

Tracking the volume of messages posted to the group over time indicates a number of things; both the level of activity in the fandom, as well as the wider shift from Yahoo! Groups to other communication tools (such as LiveJournal) that many fans undertook.

  • 2002 (from March) - ~400 messages
  • 2003 - ~430 messages
  • 2004 - ~160
  • 2005 - ~20 messages
  • 2006 - 7 messages
  • 2007 - 7 messages
  • 2008 - 50+ as of October 2008

As is clear from the figures[3] above, the group experienced a sharp decline in activity between 2004 and 2005, and a slightly lesser one between 2003-04. This may be due to the creation of jacked_up, a LiveJournal Community created for the posting of Faculty fanfiction (see below).

However, there is also a sharp jump in the volume as of early 2008 when the active and prolific fan writer HoneyandVinegar took over as list moderator.

As of 6 October 2008, faculty-fic has almost 620 members. It is worth noting, however, that members of Yahoo! Groups do not necessarily receive messages via email, but can view them at the Group's homepage - that is to say, many members may be inactive ones, neither posting to nor reading the list.

Other Yahoo! Groups for The Faculty fandom include facultyslash.[4]

jacked_up and other Livejournal Communities

jacked_up is a Livejournal Community that was created by Sparcck in April 2003. According to its profile, it encourages the posting of all fanworks related to The Faculty - including fanfiction and fanart, RPS and FPF - as well as discussion of the film and fandom.[5]

Traffic on the community appears to have maintained a consistent level throughout its life, with only a handful of posts per month since 2003.[6]

Although as of October 2008 jacked_up has only 786 posts (in comparison to faculty-fic's over 1000 messages), it is worth noting that in the Livejournal medium discussion occurs in comments, of which there are over 3500. There are presently over 300 members of jacked_up. The current official maintainer is reishin. HoneyandVinegar, Aliensouldream, and Frodosweetstuff have kept the community active with their own posts and links to other Faculty fic and art fests on LiveJournal.

Other Faculty communities on Livejournal include caseyzeke, _herrington and the_faculty.

Tweaked Fiction and other archives

  • Tweaked Fiction designed and hosted by Hope and run by La Lapine Diabolique, was the main archive for all kinds of Faculty fanfiction between 2002 and 2004. It was then offline from 2004 until late 2007. The version available now is kind of broken and no new fiction has been added, but it does still host a good deal of the fic that was written in those early years of the fandom.
  • Faculty fans began posting at FanFiction.net in 2001 and the site listed 143 Faculty fics as of October 26, 2008.
  • The Last Ship, an LOTR-centric multifandom archive that opened in 2007, hosts some Faculty fic because of overlap between the two fandoms.

Other Websites

  • Decoy, a fansite by Hope, created in 2004, included film and character analysis, screencaps, and fic recs
  • Getting Kinda Used to It (no longer available)
  • Joey's screencap gallery

Noteworthy Pairings and Trends

Casey/Zeke

Casey/Zeke is by far the most prominent pairing in The Faculty. This could be accounted for by a number of reasons:

  • Amongst the cast that plays the ensemble of teens, Josh Hartnett (Zeke) and Elijah Wood (Casey) are the most familiar amongst the fans, especially those who ended up in the fandom via fannish drift from LOTR.
  • Slash was a popular genre among fans who came to Faculty fandom from LOTR.
  • Casey's character development from bullied victim to respected hero encourages the creation of Hurt/Comfort narratives, a theory reflected in the volume of stories of this type in The Faculty fandom.
  • Within the plot of the movie, Casey and Zeke share the bond of being the two characters who stand up against the aliens for the longest, never being taken over by them.

Stokely/Delilah

While not as popular as Casey/Zeke, Stokely/Delilah is the pairing of choice for many femslash-minded fans.

Crossover Slash

Several fans have written crossover fics between The Faculty and other movies and TV shows starring LotR actors:

  • Broken Toys by Astra, Faculty/Toy Soldiers, begun in 2002 (see below).
  • Karadin's Love Bites series bringing together Elijah Wood characters from various fandoms
  • Lisabellex's Sandy and Zeke: A Summer Story, pairing Zeke with Elijah's character from the movie Flipper, July 2005.
  • HoneyandVinegar's FREKE stories, begun in April 2006, Faculty/LotR crossover pairing Zeke with Frodo. The stories are listed at her Faculty Fic Archive, Part 1.

Influential Fanworks

Void by Waxjism (January 2002)

Probably the most infamous of Faculty stories (it's still the first work suggested to anyone requesting recs on the faculty-fic list), this WIP was first posted in early 2002.[7]

The story, written by Waxjism, depicts a sexual relationship between Casey/Zeke/Delilah heavily based on themes of power, control and eroticized violence. The dynamic between Casey and Zeke in this story had huge influence on The Faculty fandom, not only capturing the imaginations of readers but influencing other writers as well; many Casey/Zeke stories riffed on the dynamic between the characters in Void moreso than the dynamic in the canon itself.

See Void for more about this story.

Broken Toys by Astra (July 2002)

First posted to the faculty-fic Yahoo! Group in July 2002, this multi-part series is a crossover between The Faculty and Toy Soldiers. Most likely another case of fannish drift from the LOTR fandom, in Broken Toys Casey Connor is slashed with the character in Toy Soldiers played by Sean Astin, Billy Tepper (Sean Astin played Sam Gamgee in Lord of the Rings; Elijah Wood played Frodo). Eventually the series progressed into Zeke/Casey/Billy.

The story was based on the premise of Casey changing schools, ending up rooming with Billy in the boarding school where Toy Soldiers is set. The story has strong Hurt/Comfort themes as Casey and Billy both struggle to recover from the traumatic experiences in their recent past (Casey's school invaded by aliens, Billy's by terrorists).

A long-time WIP, the final part of Broken Toys (part 61) was posted in May 2009.[8] Although most of its early chapters were posted to the faculty-fic group with much enthusiastic feedback from many dedicated followers, by 2006 author Astra was posting parts to her Livejournal.[9]

Broken Toys can be found on Astral Plain's website, and the majority of it is still archived on the faculty-fic Group (registration required).

Borderlines by Vshendria (March 2003)

The first chapter of Borderlines was posted by Vshendria, its author, to faculty-fic in March 2003. Posted as a WIP, the final chapter was posted to complete the story in April 2007. Borderlines is a Casey/Zeke story that rates over NC-17. It is hundreds of thousands of words long, consisting of twenty-eight "episodes" that often reach over 30,000 words each.

Borderlines is a futurefic set several years after the end of the film; Casey is in college and Zeke running his own business and engaged to Delilah. Home in Herrington over summer, Casey and Zeke meet again and begin a sexual and romantic relationship. Casey, however, is emotionally unstable and mentally ill (with borderline personality disorder, thus the name of the story), and he and Zeke struggle to make their relationship work as Casey deals with the fall out of previous unhealthy relationships and the weight of his traumatic past.

The story is immensely popular, and is exemplary of the Hurt/Comfort genre as the trials and tribulations of Casey and Zeke's personal and inter-personal struggles are drawn out in intense, analytical detail.

Borderlines can be found on Vshendria's website.

Birthright by Baylor (2004)

First posted over 2004-05 by author Baylor, Birthright was temporarily taken offline only to reappear again in 2008.[10]

Birthright depicts a more dystopic post-film scenario, suggesting that the unlikely happy ending we see in canon was in fact an escapist fantasy constructed by Casey, who is in actual fact in a government institution, being heavily treated with drugs and electroshock in an effort to dismiss him as crazy, get information from him, and cover up the recent alien invasion. Early in the story Zeke helps Casey escape from his parents' home, to which he has been released after suffering apparent brain damage in the institution, referred to as "That Place." For the rest of the story they live a life on the run from the government while Zeke cares for Casey, who is often childlike and has serious mental and physical health problems.

The story eventually crosses over with The X-Files as it addresses the conspiracy theories central to its premise, but the focus of the story is largely on the Hurt/Comfort relationship between Casey and Zeke.

Birthright was immensely popular, and although extremely long, was posted whole, not as a WIP. Birthright inspired other fans to write stories set within its 'verse, including some Casey/Zeke slash stories (though Birthright itself is gen). Baylor has written many subsequent stories in the Birthright 'verse, including Birthright AUs, in collaboration with Oselle.

All of Baylor's and Oselle's Birthright stories can be found on Baylor's website.

Family by Mews1945 (2005)

The first chapter of Family was posted, as a stand-alone slash AU, to Mews1945's personal journal on August 19, 2005. The first story arc was crossposted to Mews' journal and the jacked_up LJ community between then and June 5, 2006, with additional ficlets in the following months. A second series in the same universe, Family II: Wonderworker, was begun in January 2007 and is ongoing. Although the original posts are now friendslocked, the fic has been reposted to the journal mewstales under the tags Family1 and Family2.

Family is a slash fic that begins immediately after an alternate ending to the movie, rumored to be Rodriguez's first choice (rejected by test audiences), in which everyone who had been taken over by the aliens died along with the queen, leaving only Casey and Zeke alive. As they are escaping from the authorities, Casey and Zeke discover that the experience of having the alien tentacles under his skin has left Casey with superhuman powers. Casey is then repeatedly faced with the decision of whether or not to use his powers to help people, when besides putting himself through great pain this action is likely to call attention to him and Zeke, making it easier for the bad guys to find them. Meanwhile, Casey and Zeke's relationship develops from a purely physical one into a love affair, and they become friends with the rural family (original characters) who have taken them in.

Fandom Occurrences

Controversy

Versaphile's battered!casey manip http://versaphile.livejournal.com/683233.html, [warning for violence on following link] http://versaphile.com/fanwork/faculty/mouse.html --> Are these the same? LJ Abuse have removed the first image; posting dates are a year apart.]

Challenges and other celebrations

References

  1. http://horrorfilms.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_last_girl_character, accessed 6 October, 2008.
  2. http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/faculty-fic, Members only due to adult content. Login required to access. Accessed 6 October, 2008.
  3. http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/faculty-fic, Members only due to adult content. Login required to access.
  4. http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/facultyslash, Members only due to adult content. Login required to access.
  5. http://community.livejournal.com/jacked_up/profile, accessed 6 October 2008
  6. http://community.livejournal.com/jacked_up/2008/, accessed 6 October, 2008.
  7. http://wax-jism.livejournal.com/317998.html, accessed 6 October, 2008.
  8. astraplain, The Faculty fic: Broken Toys 61 - Final Chapter. Posted to LiveJournal 22 May 2009. (Accessed 8 April 2010).
  9. toys Astra Plain's livejournal. (Accessed 8 April 2010).
  10. http://home.comcast.net/~baylorsr/faculty/faculty.html, accessed 6 October, 2008.