This week Fate has provided me with a goodie that I haven’t seen in few years. They Live is a strange combination of sci-fi, horror and comedy written and directed by John Carpenter. Starring Pro Wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as “Nada”, a nobody working construction in LA, who stumbles upon a pair of sunglasses that change his entire perception of the world around him. Upon wearing the sunglasses he finds a black and white world where all media including TV, billboards, and magazines contain subliminal messages to “OBEY”, “CONSUME AND REPRODUCE” and more. Soon after, Nada discovers the existence of aliens in our world, most of which are in places of power and wealth. The rich, politicians, and police are in fact aliens disguised as humans. They Live features a few well-known and memorable scenes including Nada shooting up a bank. Like The Empire Strikes Back‘s “Luke, I am your father”, this scene also features a quote that (Thanks to Duke Nukem) is often said incorrectly instead of the proper “I’m here to chew bubblegum and kickass…and I’m all out of bubblegum.”
Another of the more memorable scenes in They Live includes a fight scene between Piper and Keith David, who plays Frank. A knock-down drag-out fist fight ensues in an alley as Nada attempts to force a pair of sunglasses onto Frank, who only believes him to be a fugitive after he shot up the bank. The fight is one of the best and hardest hitting fights I’ve ever seen in cinema with hard punches thrown, blood, and weapons. Aside from being an entertaining action/sci-fi film, They Live really showcases John Carpenter’s intense dislike for the 80’s commercialization of EVERYTHING. The film bluntly shows you how Carpenter believed that TV and movies of the time were only trying to sell you things as the aliens in charge look like humans who are decomposing from their own corruption. Looking for a classic story that you’re going to remember for years? They Live is it. To use some non-subliminal messaging.