They Live

They Live

They Live

1988. Directed by John Carpenter

A scathing dissent against Reaganomics and a sublime satire of the commercialization of Hollywood, John Carpenter once again knocks it completely out of the park.

A blue collared badass Roddy Piper stars as John Nada, a homeless man who inadvertently learns of an Alien conspiracy in which the ruling class of America (and the world) are actually extraterrestial corruptors, slowly sucking the soul of the American Dream dry with subliminal messages forcing the populace to breed, obey, and consume.

The always solid Keith David is Frank, Nada's overly reluctant partner in an almost pointless rebellion. It's this reluctance that leads to one of the most legendary fight scenes ever filmed and it's between the protagonists!

Carpenter's amazing script is filled with epic one liners that remain part of pop culture milieu to this day. Gary Kibbe's lens shows us both the harsh reality of homeless Americans and the muted apathy of the Alien Overlords.

The method by which the characters are able to see the truth is through special sunglasses, yet another symbol used by Carpenter to remind the viewer that they themselves are part of the brainwashed masses, simply by purchasing a ticket.

In the end, the film is almost existential in it's depiction of the struggle, showing Pyrrhic victories and heroic last stands throughout. Perhaps the worst part of the film is that it abruptly ends once the curtain is fully pulled back, thus leaving the intriguing mysteries of the universe in the shadows, much like the villains pulling the strings.

A film that is the very definition of cult classic.

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