John Carpenter, along with George Romero, is perhaps one of the most beloved names in American horror cinema. He helped to define the slasher genre in 1978 with Halloween (although many of his “groundbreaking” techniques were actually pioneered a few years earlier in Bob Clark's Black Christmas); 1982's The Thing is a fantastic piece of filmmaking which is still incredibly suspenseful due to the effective use of practical effects (as opposed to last year's extremely lackluster prequel with the horrible CGI); one of my favorites, 1995's In the Mouth of Madness, is a seriously disturbing mind-trip.
But then there was a weird little thing in 1988. Carpenter, drawing equally from a science-fiction short story and a comic book, decided to write a screenplay addressing the hyper-consumerism of the '80s. The result has been praised for its socially conscious commentary and effective satire on American culture – but, personally, I believe the whole thing to be so dumb as to nullify all of that (says the guy who tried to deconstruct Herschell Gordon Lewis' The Wizard of Gore).
I am, of course, talking about They Live, starring pro-wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as a man who finds a pair of sunglasses which, when worn, reveal a horrifying truth: our planet has been overrun by aliens – aliens who keep our species hypnotized and blind to the truth while they subliminally control our minds (the glasses also reveal common street signs to actually say things such as “OBEY!” and “CONSUME!”).
And it is sillier than you can possibly imagine.
Baxter Avenue Theater presents a midnight showing of They Live tomorrow night – tomorrow being Saturday, July 7. Baxter Avenue Theater is located at 1250 Bardstown Road, in Mid-City Mall. Further theater information and advance ticket sales can be found at the theater's website.
Image: Internet Movie Database
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