In John Carpenter’s rowdy sci-fi thriller, Roddy Piper plays John Nada, a drifter struggling to make ends meet who arrives in Los Angeles looking for work.
Finding a job on a construction site, he soon makes friends with Frank (Carpenter stalwart Keith David), bringing him into the orbit of Gilbert, a man leading a secret criminal network recently implicated in hacking the airwaves.
When Nada finds a special pair of sunglasses that seem to reveal the terrifying truth about the world, he and Frank much work together to bring down an otherworldly invasion.
A timeless takedown of the ruling classes that has only gotten better with age, John Carpenter’s They Live is a rip-roaring genre treat that doubles as a critique of the Reaganite ‘80s.
It’s striking monochrome segments, in which the world is revealed to be ruled by a race of aliens, and subliminal messages everywhere compel people to obey, are rightly famous. Meanwhile, another iconic electric synth soundtrack drives the action, in what is another timeless (yet timely) classic from John Carpenter.