STARRING: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster, George "Buck" Flower, Peter Jason, Raymond St. Jacques, Jason Robards III, Larry Franco

1988, 97 Minutes, Directed by John Carpenter

Description: An economic crisis brings unemployed Nada (Roddy Piper) to L.A. in search of work. What he finds instead is that the ruling elite of the world are aliens in disguise, their aim being to keep humans in a state of mindless consumerism. His discovery comes when he dons a pair of special sunglasses made by a resistance group and sees for the first time reality unadorned. Billboards, store signs, magazine covers--all bear subliminal messages to OBEY, to CONSUME, to have NO INDEPENDENT THOUGHT. Money itself says THIS IS YOUR GOD. But worst of all, with these glasses you see which of us are really hideous, bug-eyed aliens.

Probably one of the most subversive films to have come out of Hollywood in decades, They Live is a welcome return to form by legendary cult film director John (Escape from LA, The Thing) Carpenter after having having directed such abysmal efforts such as Memoirs of an Invisible Man.

A lonely drifter gets hold of a pair of glasses through which the terrible truth can be seen: the rich are aliens who have already taken over the earth! Billboard advertisements and television broadcasts actually contain subliminal messages such as "Consume," "Watch Television" and "Marry and Reproduce!" All this give new meaning to William Gibson's dictum that the rich no longer resemble anything human!

It's difficult to dislike a film with an attitude like this one. Even when the film forsakes its satiric points and degenerates into a straight-forward action thriller, one cannot help but like this film. Take that yuppie scum!


Sci-Fi Movie Page Pick: Difficult to dislike despite its flaws. This alien invasion story that gets its shots in at Reaganite 1980s materialism is a welcome return to form for cult director John Carpenter.


# 68
of the
Top 100 Sci-Fi Movies
of all time



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