Review of They Live

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Year: 1988 - Runtime: 93 - Director: John Carpenter - Writer(s): John Carpenter
Country: USA - Language: English - Parental Guide: PG13 - Color: Color

They LiveRating: ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆


They Live is a seriously stupid movie, yet interestingly, that sort of reflects the culture of the times and the themes of the film. They Live has aliens ruling the world through television (media) turning all the people into slaves of the aliens (media). The people consume and consume to fuel the aliens strive for dominance, and the people are powerless to stop them. It seems like a terrible C-grade alien flick, and it most certainly is. But it also speaks on the culture of the era in a weird way. After John Carpenter took a break from milking the tit of the Halloween franchise, he encapsulated an overall thought process with intrigue and suspense, encased in a shell of a stupid movie.

Reason to Watch

They Live doesn’t pander to you as much as you deserve it to, and for that, it is worth your time.


It’s a throwback to 50’s alien-grade visuals, and it has underlining messages of mass-consumerism and greed helmed by John Carpenter. Not bad for a one trick pony.

Most Memorable Quote(s)
  • Nada: I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum. 
  • Nada: Wooo. It’s like a drug. Wearing these glasses gets you high, but you come down hard. 
  • Bearded Man: We could be pets, we could be food, but all we really are is livestock. 
What You Need to Get Through This Movie

All your receipts of the all the shit you bought in the last year, to make yourself feel bad and bring yourself into the movie with greater aplomb

  • The line “I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I’m all out of bubble gum” was ad-libbed by Roddy Piper. According to director John Carpenter, Piper had taken the line from a list of ideas he had for his pro wrestling interviews. 
  • Roddy Piper, being a married man at the time of filming, refused to take his wedding band off. That’s why in several scenes you can see a wedding ring on. 
Educational Content

If aliens were to invade, the first place they would go is to the televison stations

Mullets- still not retro

You may be married to, sleeping with, or sitting next to an alien. Men in Black taught you this one as well

Justification for Rating

Well, it’s a movie.



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