John Carpenter, the undisputed auteur of genre filmmaking, lands another hit with the iconoclastic THEY LIVE. On one level the film is about aliens that have subdued humanity, on another is it an attack on the Reagan era and the consumerism of the 1980s. But however you take it, THEY LIVE is a cracking piece of classic Carpenter!
Nada, an unemployed man, discovers that when he puts on a pair of special sunglasses he sees the world, quite literally, through new eyes. The media and government bombard people with messages such as “Submit to Authority”, “Obey” and “Stay Asleep”. Even worse is that he can see what’s behind it: ugly aliens disguised as humans who are out to exploit the Earth for all they can get! Having convinced his best friend Frank they set out to destroy the aliens’ control system and return the planet to its rightful owners.
THEY LIVE is certainly the most political of Carpenter’s films, but it still does have his wry sense of humour and rebellion that people loved in “Halloween”, “The Fog”, “Christine”, “The Thing”, “Assault On Precinct 13” and “Escape From New York”.