Monday, May 10, 2010

They Live (1988)

The harbinger of horror, John Carpenter, strikes again. The best part about Carpenter, in my twisted opinion, is his sense of subtlety. 'Whaaaaa?' you may be saying. Yes, there are cheesy lines and 5min20sec fights, and the always popular and practically bad-80's-plaid with bulging muscles and a mullet look. And don't forget the chuckle-inspiring peer-over-the-sunglasses move that defined so many childhoods and terrible pick-up attempts. It's almost like he wrote this movie for the sunglasses! But seriously, it's pretty subtle. There aren't ridiculous lasers flying around or giant bug puppets ripping heads off. And there aren't brains splattering across the screen or space ships hurtling through farmlands and abducting cows. No no, not Carpenter. Here we have the subtlety of political and social commentary with restricted effects and well-choreographed fight scenes. In today's continuous CGI fuck-fest, we often forget the beauty of restraint. Well, here it is my friends. Pulling on Lovecraft's concept of Cosmic Horror, be prepared to submit to the fact that we are just livestock for our alien politicians and advertising is actually extra-terrestrial brain-washing techniques that make us worship money. I mean, let's face it, the metaphor stands. One imdb commentator clearly took the message a little too close to heart. But his comments are pretty amazing:

"This movie is not so much about aliens who are hiding among us, but instead it taps into the deeply submerged suspicion held by most of us that we are being manipulated and taken advantage of by the elite of American society, by our leaders, by the rich, etc. Also, we sometimes feel that we are manipulated and programmed (in a subtle way) to respect hierarchical authority ( e.g., the "OBEY" subliminal command from the movie)...
So, the major theme of the m
ovie is not, as another poster correctly pointed out, about being manipulated to be good little consumers in a crassly commercial world. No, it is far more profound than that. Instead, it is more about how the working class Americans in _They Live_ are being exploited by the elite upper crust, who, in the movie, happen to be aliens, but who, in the real world, are a subsociety that use their collective power to exploit the rest of us. "

Thank you Cryofan for making all sci-fi lovers and potential believers in extra-solar life seem like total wack-jobs building up their underground bunkers for the self-induced apocalyptic stand against the government. We're not....I swear. The comment would almost be acceptable if it didn't us the phrase "deeply submerged suspicion held by most of us." What, is he on some secret team that I don't know about?
Anyway, if all of that wasn't reason enough to already be watching this movie, then Carpenter's glorious use of 80's ratings to throw in some LST (last-second titties) should seal the deal.

I deem it: "An epic work of 80's sci-fi that combines Orwellian concepts of patriarchal government with sweet-ass fights and aliens = Booyah baby!"

Quotes worth keeping:

Nada: Brother, life's a bitch... and she's back in heat.

Nada: I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum.

Also, gotta love these photoshopped Bush aliens that I found on some dude's site. I knew there was something wrong with that bastard!