An all-out assault on consumerism, John Carpenter’s 1988 cult classic They Live strikes a fine balance in between the suffocating paranoia of The Thing and the surreal humour of Big Trouble in Little China. It builds up an intriguing conspiracy theory regarding social puppetry, and then mocks it to death, which is mainly accomplished by starring ex-WWF star “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, whose character discovers a pair of sunglasses that allow him to see the aliens who control the world; he then takes it upon himself to destroy them all. It’s a brilliant rallying cry for free will manifested in atmospheric visuals – hobo camps in the shadow of LA’s skyscrapers – and explosive action sequences – the five-minute fistfight that has absolutely no place in the movie.
They Live was written and directed by John Carpenter (based on the novel “Eight O’Clock in the Morning” by Ray Nelson) and stars Roddy Piper, Keith David and Meg Foster. It lasts for 94 minutes and is distributed in the UK on DVD by Optimum Classic, and on Blu-Ray by Shout Factory. Originally released in 1988.