In honor of writer/director/composer John Carpenter's return to his roots with an updated version of his classic film Halloween (which, sadly, he won't be directing) and as I've already expressed my fondness for wrestlers-turned-actors, it should come as no surprise that one of my favorite films of all time is John Carpenter's classic They Live. Even though I love the movie, I do have a bit of a problem here. This is supposed to be a "guilty pleasure" piece, but I'm not so sure They Live qualifies. I do get a certain amount of pleasure from watching it, but I don't ever really feel guilty about it.
Dictionary.com defines "guilty" as "having or showing a sense of guilt, whether real or imagined" and "pleasure" as " enjoyment or satisfaction derived from what is to one's liking; gratification; delight." So, thinking about it in those terms, maybe we can call They Live a guilty pleasure after all. Here's why: the film is so good that you want to watch it over and over again spending quite a bit of your time with the movie and far less time on other things like taking out the garbage, work or talking to your family. You should probably feel guilty about not doing those things, so taking it that way, They Live does qualify. Glad we got that sorted. Now, let's get on with it.
They Live, which stars "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Keith "Don't call me David" David, George "Buck" Flower and Meg "No Nickname" Foster, is equal parts action, sci-fi and social commentary on the state of politics and the influence of the media in modern society. The story of the film is pretty simple. A drifter with a "checkered past" named Nada, played by Piper, arrives in Los Angeles looking for an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't have too much luck with that plan.
Piper soon comes to realize that things in the City of Angels are not exactly what they appear to be. In fact, far from it. It seems an alien race has taken over the city with its sights on world domination. Their plan is to subjugate the human race through the use of subliminal messages all over the city forcing the humans to "marry and reproduce", realize that money is their "god", and above all, "obey." Piper stumbles on the alien's plans and with the help of a group of resistance fighters (and some cool sunglasses that allow him to see the aliens for what they are) he's off to work and ready to "chew bubblegum and kick ass." It's bad news for the aliens though, because he's " ... all out of bubblegum."