They Live 1989 ****


John Carpenter’s name is celebrated mainly for Halloween, The Thing and Escape From New York, but there’s a whole lot going on in his other films, particularly They Live, a classic B-Movie with simple effects but big ideas. Taking a Twilight Zone style idea as a basis, They Live features ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper plays a man who gets a pair of sun-glasses which allow him to see the world as it really is; with all advertising subliminally set to control thought, and aliens walking amongst us, it’s a downbeat, desolate picture, and one Rowdy Roddy is keen to resolve. They Live may settle down to a more conventional plot than the synopsis suggests but the subversive view of modern society makes this a genre classic to rank alongside Carpenter’s best.


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