Directed by: John Carpenter
Starring: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster
Hey, all right. Can’t beat a good John Carpenter movie if you want equal parts hokey horror and campy action, and that’s a damn fact. They Live is really a companion piece to Big Trouble in Little China, they’re both fun sci-fi/action films with some memorable 80’s action movie lines. You kids do know that this is where the “I am here to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and I am all out of bubble gum.” line comes from, right?
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper is a vagrant who gets work at a construction site, and one of his fellow workers brings him to a conclave of other down-and-out people, led by that guy who I always think is Meatloaf. These people seem to know something weird is going on, and Roddy breaks into their church and steals a box of sunglasses. When he puts the sunglasses on, he sees things in a new light… all the posters and magazines are just simple phrases like OBEY and STOP INDEPENDENT THOUGHT, and some of the richer people are actually ghoulish aliens in disguise! Roddy breaks down and goes on a killing spree, then meets up with the leaders of the resistance and finds out that the aliens have been on the planet for a while and are just using humanity as a crop.
I love the effects in this movie. When he puts on the sunglasses, everything goes black and white and the monsters look like something out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Adding elements like that in with contemporary action movie cliches probably made it seem really cool at the time, but now it’s like getting a double dose of goofy past cliches. Also, Roddy Piper is actually really good in this film. It may be the best movie role for a professional wrestler ever. In any case, the whole thing is fantastic, I recommend it.