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The morbius glass schlock, horror, 80’s, grindhouse, sex and violence movie marathon. John Carpenters ‘They Live’ (1988)

Posted by Adrian on March 14, 2008


I like John Carpenter’s movies, he mixes in his own style with 70’s exploitation style movies with his trademark music (synthesizer) scores. A unique director.

‘They Live’ is a classic Carpenter movie, it has intentional b-grade written all over it. Released in 1988, it covers the seminal dislike and disillusion of 1980’s yuppie consumerism (a time before we all became yuppies in a credit expanded universe of the 21st century, metaphorically speaking). Actually I saw this movie in 1988 in a busted up independent cinema, perfect setting for this movie in a post recession world of 1988. It’s a blame game movie, and why shouldn’t it be. The wealthy, the elite (the minority) subliminally instill a feverish consumerism into the populous, at a time when the general society is breaking down with the poor looking for work and living in shanty towns in Los Angles. John Nada (Roddy Piper) a drifter wanders into LA looking for work, sleeping in the streets until he ends up at shanty town. From there he figures out that a underground network has emerged to inform the masses that they are being lied to by the powers at be, mostly through advertising. In fact the powers at be are ghoulish looking aliens, that can only be seen with modified ‘Rayban’ style sunglasses. Carpenter has borrowed heavily from the cultural jammers of the 70’s, with the local underground resistance intercepting commercial media with their ‘jamming’ trying to reveal the hidden alien agenda.

How does this movie sit today? Well it still holds merit, especially with blind consumerism. You could add (sensibly) liberal amounts of conspiracy theories to why humanity is what it is today, but They Live, in my opinion, drew most of it’s influences from the rise of 1970, 1980’s elitism or as I mentioned yuppies of 20+ years ago. But never the less the appealing impact from They Live, is the alteria motive of modern day advertising. After seeing this movie you will double check a advertising billboard, especially if you see a scanty clad girl on a beach (“marry and reproduce”).

With its political and social commentary They Live is fun ride, the movie doesn’t take it self too seriously and Carpenter was able to draw in some relevant themes to make They Live a cult classic.

I like this quote from the Carpenter, in regards to the yuppie alien invaders, “The creatures are corrupting us, so they themselves are corruptions of human beings.”


One Response to “The morbius glass schlock, horror, 80’s, grindhouse, sex and violence movie marathon. John Carpenters ‘They Live’ (1988)”

  1. sir jorge said

    One of my favorite films. Roddy Piper owns.

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