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Released in 1998, THE FACULTY is an edgy but kind of attractive and hip horror sci-fi flick,something like Buffy meets the Thing or it came from outer space with attitude, written by Bruce Kimmel and David Wechter with a screenplay by Kevin Williamson of SCREAM fame. Director Robert Rodriguez keeps the tension and action flowing pretty well as the unlikely storyline unfolds. Rodriguez of course too involved in the SCREAM movies and helming movies such as DESPERADO,EL MARIACHI, SIN CITY and GRINDHOUSE. The musical score was an early entry for composer Marco Beltrami and it is in my ever so humble opinion one of his most robust and entertaining. The opening theme for example is like a grand macabre sounding waltz, which begins slowly and quietly with plaintive almost calming woodwind but builds and builds until it is a towering and momentous sounding piece, performed by sweeping strings and powerfully punctuating brass that are both underlined and embellished by thundering percussion. The movie which was produced by Harvey and Bob Weinstein with the added input of Elizabeth Avelian is an early vehicle for Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett and Shawn Hatosy who do in fact turn in quite credible performances given the fantastic scenario in which the film is set. I think I am correct when I say the full score has never been released, but there was a song soundtrack disc issued, however a promotional disc was produced by the composer in 2000 with the help of Doug Fake and those lovely people at Intrada. The disc which is a 20 track edition is rather brief in its running time just under half an hour of music being included on the release, but what it lakes in quantity it certainly makes up for in quality, this is a typically bombastic and powerful soundtrack from the pen of Beltrami and within it one can hear numerous musical trademarks that have since risen up within many Beltrami works.

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It is at times up beat with a slightly pop orientated background setting the scene but it also has as many near operatic moments within its duration, the composer creating show stopping powerhouse compositions that certainly underline the action but also provide an entertaining listen away from the movie. There are I think a few references to the style of Ennio Morricone within the score, the use of electric guitar and classical guitar at certain points giving it a Spaghetti western feel as displayed in track number 10 CASEY and also eerie vocal interludes which are more like half heard whispers that give the work a sinister and creepy persona as in track number 6 TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL. Plus there is the definite Herrmann/Goldsmith references with dramatic and jagged strings being pushed along by chaotic percussion and rasping brass stabs which is a style the composer employed later in his career on projects such as THE OMEN,HELLBOY and TERMINATOR 3. In fact I would say that the composer threw everything he had at this project, the end result is a tense and exciting mix of sounds and styles that are a horror score fans dream come true, try if you can and find this promo disc it is well worth it.

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