Watch They Live

"You see them on the street. You watch them on TV. You might even vote for one this fall. You think they're people just like you. You're wrong. Dead wrong."

They Live is a cult classic about the invasion of earth by aliens disguised as humans. Appearing normal and protected by a wall of subliminal messages, grotesque creatures control government, media, and the military. The people of earth are living in a bleak and nightmarish world of totalitarian control, and only one man can see the truth. That man is “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Really? Really.

Professional wrestler Roddy Piper plays “Nada”, a gruff drifter who breezes into LA looking for construction work and discovers a pair of high-tech sunglasses that block out the aliens' signals. While wearing them, Nada can see the “real” world, and the film's most iconic scenes show the contrast with the world of our perceptions; colorful billboards really read “OBEY” and “SLEEP”, all foods are labeled “CONSUME”, and magazines have titles like “STAY ASLEEP” and “SUBMIT TO AUTHORITY”. Oh, and there are a lot of hideous bug-eyed skull faces walking around.

Nada runs afoul of the law after insulting an alien woman and massacring several aliens at the bank (“THIS IS YOUR GOD”). Scared, confused, and on the run, Nada needs a friend he can convince of the truth. This is the setup for one of the most gratuitous scenes in motion picture history; a brutal twelve minute brawl between “Rowdy” Roddy and Keith David (playing construction foreman “Frank Armitage”). This fight scene is jaw-droppingly long and certainly a factor in the film's “cult classic” status.

Nada and a bruised Armitage manage to contact the human resistance (creators of the sunglasses), and along with love interest and kidnap victim Holly Thompson (a TV news reporter played by Meg Foster) they embark on a quest to destroy the subliminal transmitter that allows the invaders and their human collaborators to dupe the world. Not to be missed by fans of Sci-Fi dystopia, John Carpenter, or professional wrestling.

| 1988 | 1 hr 33 min | 7.3/10 | 54/100
Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster, George 'Buck' Flower
November 4, 1988
John Carpenter

Watch They Live Trailer

Trailer ( 1988 )|1:49

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