A group blog for Introduction to Media Criticism at NYU, Fall 2009.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Wright's article Genre Films and the Status Quo discussed four different types of film genre: the western, horror, sci-fi, and gangster. After reading the section of horror, I immediately tried to think of movies in which the monster was female and not male and found this harder than I imagined. After searching my vote history on IMDB, I came across The Faculty (1998) a sci-fi thriller about a high school that is overtaken by a mysterious alien creature. At first, I thought that it was just another sci-fi movie but upon closer look, I argue that it has characteristics of the other three genres in Wright's article: western, horror, and to some extent, the gangster genre. Therefore, I believe it is a great representation fo the Wright reading.
The Faculty is representative of "the moral and social dilemma" that is characteristic of the western genre. In the film, acts of violence are condoned once there is a "mystical point in time at which the showdown becomes morally and socially right" (Wright 44). The high school protagonists kill their fellow classmates and teachers because they have been affected by the alien parasite. Thus, although this may be morally challenging, it rids the high school protagonist "of guilt by balancing the books" (44).
A characteristic that the film possesses from the horror genre is favoring "traditional ways" rather than "scientific training" (46). Near the end of the movie, the high schoolers defeat the queen alien by use of drugs that they use in leisure. They realize that it is the things right in front of them that they needed all along (cocaine), something that is socially condemned, in order to kill the alien.
Lastly, The Faculty is somewhat representative, although this may be a stretch in order to somehow make this response more intelligible, of the "pyramidal hierarchy" in the gangster genre. Only in this instance, the hierarchy is in terms of high school standards. Throughout the movie, one of the high school protagonists is an unattractive female who longs to be with the high school quarterback, another one of the protagonists. He gets all the girls and even flirts with the hotter, prettier female protagonists. But in the end, the prettier girls fall victim to the alien and it is the unattractive girl who fights her way to the end, almost like the final girl, and kills the alien, while simulataneously ending up with the quarterback. HOORAY!