Having never been a fan of THEY LIVE, I decided to give it another chance mainly because my friends think I’m crazy for not liking it.
So with fresh eyes, I re-watched the tale of down-on-his-luck John Nada played by pro-wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper who discovers that the world isn’t what it seems. The human race has been subjugated by aliens who have become the wealthy 1% and through subliminal messages have launched a campaign to keep the rest of the world at a near poverty level.
Maybe it’s because of the times we are living in, but I believe I’ve turned the corner on this film. Viewed as a pitch-black comedy it kind of works. The biggest surprise is how good Piper is as everyman John Nada. There is such a charm and naturalness to his performance that it’s actually surprising that his career on the silver screen didn’t prosper.
The always dependable Keith David plays his new work friend, who refuses to buy into the madness that Piper is selling, but after a stern talking to and a ludicrously long fist fight (one of longest in screen history), David sees the truth and joins the rebellion to take out the Aliens. BTW: You just have to wear these special sunglasses and the subliminal world is revealed to you in glorious black & white. Also revealed is the true appearance of the skull-like aliens who have infiltrated every aspect of the business and authoritarian world.
Like Nada, I have now seen the truth. I don’t love it, but I certainly respect it and if you are a Blu-Ray fan like me, then SCREAM Factory’s new release of THEY LIVE is worth checking out. The transfer is beautiful in all its anamorphic splendor.