Tonight at the Castro: They Live!
At midnight tonight the glorious Castro theater will be showing John Carpenter’s 1988 conspiracy masterpiece, They Live! I went and checked out the midnight showing of Tron a while back, and after how amazing the audience was and how amazing the print of the film was, well, let’s just say it’s going to take a lot to keep me from seeing this tonight.
They Live! is a gnostic, paranoid, class-conscious alien-invasion film starring everyone’s favorite bagpipe-wielding Canadian wrestler, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, as an unemployed day laborer named “Nada,” struggling to make ends meet. He accidentally hooks up with a group of conspiracy theorists that use polarized sunglasses to show him that the world is not as he imagined. Shades of the Matrix abound, dear readers.
Through the eyes of his new glasses, the corporate yuppies of the world become roast-beef-faced aliens creepily going about their yuppie-alien business. The marketing slogans surrounding him are revealed to be subliminal messages demanding that he EAT and OBEY and SLEEP. And “Rowdy” Roddy has no choice but to go and kick lots of ass, as he is all out of bubblegum.
They Live! is one of the few surprising gems of cult film. It’s actually funny and bizarre and good. Its ancestors include the work of Philip K Dick and the twist-laden pulp magazines of the 60s, and it has inspired countless paranoid offspring. If you go and see it, bring your sunglasses.