Directed by John Carpenter
Produced by Larry Franco
Screenplay by Frank Armitage
Photography by Gary B. Kibbe
Music by John Carpenter & Alan Howarth
Cast: Roddy Pipper, Keith David & Meg Foster
1988/94 mins/Color/2.0 DD
2.35:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Image Entertainment DVD
They live... we sleep. John Nada (played by then just retired WWF wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper) is a laid-off blue-collar worker who believes in the "American dream". He doesn't have a place to sleep or a job but he believes that everyone get their chance. One night, hundreds of cops on foot, by cars and in helicopters raid a local chapel where our friend John Nada happens to be near. It seems like it might be related to the constant interferences happening on television where an old man talks about us been asleep and warning of an evil conspiracy that's been brainwashing the general public.
The next morning when everything is quiet, Nada decides to take a look inside the chapel. The only thing he finds there are sunglasses. After trying them on what looks to be normal becomes a shocked revelation. He stumbles (literally) into the shocking reality of a galactic-size conspiracy in which his fellow citizens are being hypnotized through subliminal messages on television and behind everything in print, from magazines to posters to marquees. When Nada wears the special sunglasses developed by an emerging underground resistance, those secret messages are revealed: "No independent thought... Consume... Conform... Stay asleep... This is your God (the message of money)... Do not question authority!"
In a 1988 interview with John Carpenter for American Cinematographer Magazine, the director said that "THEY LIVE began with a comic book I bought called 'Nada.' It was published by Eclipse Comics, a company which puts out very beautifully rendered science fiction stories. This particular strip was taken from a short story called "Eight O'Clock in the Morning," by Ray Nelson. In the story, this guy wakes up and realizes that the entire human race has been hypnotized, and that there are creatures among us. I became entranced with the story, but I felt that it should be updated. I thought that it might be more current if the guy woke up and realized that the Reagan Revolution was run by aliens from another planet."
THEY LIVE is a political satire and a homage to the 1950's paranoia movies. Roddy Pipper delivers some cool lines like "I'm here to kick ass and to chew bubble gum--and I'm all out of bubble gum". Plus Pipper and Keith David battles in what has to be the longest fight in movie history... and just because David doesn't want to wear the glasses!
Image Entertainment's DVD present the film in it's original 2.35:1 ratio for the first time ever, even the LD was in Pan Scan. The image, enhanced for 16x9 televisions, boost a very nice transfer which is without any artifacts or compression. The colors are rich and vibrant. The Dolby Surround audio mix is good but a 5.1 DD would have been way better. The film is separated in 20 chapters and comes in the usual Image snap case. There is only one menu (like most of Image's earlier DVD) and it's for the chapters stop. All around a nice DVD due to the fact that it was released when the technology was relativly new but a new special edition would be much appreciated. THEY LIVE was released twice in Europe has special edition disc with commentary track with Carpenter and Piper, 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks, making-of and more! Hopefully, Universal will release something similar here in North America because the Image Entertainment DVD is out of print.
The is absolutely no extras on this dvd!
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©