“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.” Nada (Rowdy Roddy Piper) comes out of his consumer coma and is ready to blow some aliens away. The satirical sci-fi actioner from horror master John Carpenter is a schlocky example of 80s cheese… with an actual brain behind it?
Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 103 — They Live (1988)
They Live is a bit of a departure for Decades of Horror, given the bigger emphasis on sci-fi and action. Yet, what’s more, horrifying than realizing you live in a dystopian world ruled by cruel uncaring overlords that trick you in a commercialized sense of ignorance? Well… actually living in that world on a daily basis. Yes, Carpenter’s jab at Reagan-era politics still permeates our culture. After all, how many celebrities have been turned into a They Live-style alien to indicate the media obsessed world we live in is all consuming? Unfortunately, we don’t have a Rowdy Roddy Piper to suplex the corporate overlords into submission. But hopefully, this and many generations to come can be inspired by Piper’s lack of hesitation in taking out those that stand in the way of American progress. Or at the very least admire the stamina it takes for him to kick the crap out of Fred Armitage (Keith David) in order to see the truth via his sunglasses.
Luckily, three people here are in awe of Roddy’s prowess. Thomas and Christopher G. Moore return to gush about this 1988 John Carpenter film but are unfortunately short a Doc Rotten to help them out. Luckily, a nomadic drifter has decided to take his place around the fiery trashcan. That is Gruesome Magazine’s own Adam Thomas, a man who knows his wrestling as much as he knows his horror and genre filmmaking. Together, these three gushes about the infamous fight scene between David & Piper, spotlight the vulnerability under Piper’s performance and marvel with disturbed regret at They Live‘s lasting political relevance. It’s a damn good time that’s pretty contemplative when you look past the brute force and one-liners.
We want to hear from you — the coolest, most gruesome fans: leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1980s podcast hosts at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We also want to be sure to thank Neon Devils for their killer track “Bone Chillin’” which we use for the intro and outro of this show.