Classic 18: They Live (1988)

3814634-they_live_xlgI like wearing sunglasses because they make me look all cool and wicked and hard and that. I also like wearing them because you can look at girls’ bums without them knowing what you’re doing. Unless of course you start to look at their bum whilst they’re talking to you – in that case, it becomes pretty clear as to what you’re doing, because you actively have to walk behind them. Things get complicated whenever I’m wearing sunglasses, is what I’m trying to say, ok?

But not as complicated as they get for professional wrestler-turned bubblegum-enthusiast, Roddy Piper in They Live. Why? You ask. Well, because when he puts on his cool pair of sunglasses, he realises that the entire world is being run by aliens and that everything the public sees and hears is sinister subliminal messaging designed to brainwash their minds. Also, he suddenly realises that he doesn’t look as decent as me.

That’s because they’re MAGIC sunglasses, or something. Either way, when you put them on, you can see through the aliens’ human disguises – basically they look like your Mum. Well ugly and gross and I bet they stink, too. Ok, you can’t actually smell what’s going on on screen so I can’t vouch for their stink, but if they smell as much as your Mum as they look like her, then they’ll absolutely grim. Your Mum grims.

Anyway, so it’s up to ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper to sort this out by kicking the aliens’ arses. He does this with the help of Keith David, who you’ll recognise from The Thing – he just doesn’t have much luck with the whole aliens thing does he? Never seems to find a nice one that he can be friends with – they’re always wanting to rip his guts through his arsehole.


However, Keith is reluctant to join Roddy at first, and he gets himself in a right tizzy when told to put the sunglasses on. If I remember correctly, the exchange goes something like this:

The Ultimate Warrior Roddy Piper: Hey Keith, put these glasses on will you?

Keith David: Naa I’m alright mate.

Roddy Piper: No put them on seriously. You can see aliens and stuff if you do.

Keith David: Naa I’m alright mate.



And then they get into this big fight that goes on for ages and is really funny. It’s a bit like that fight I had with my cat once when I was trying to get it to wear some sunglasses, except with less crying.

Eventually he relents though, and realises that you can see aliens if you wear the sunglasses. Not sure why he had such an aversion to putting them on though – could have saved a lot of time. I doubt that I’d say no if anybody ever asked me to put on some sunglasses – it’s an excuse for a funny face and a bit of time as centre of attention isn’t it? I like shit like that.

So that’s what happens – I won’t ruin it any more just in case you haven’t seen it yet – but I suggest you fucking do, because it’s very, very good. John Carpenter is on the top of his game here, as are Roddy and Keith – this is a sci-fi classic. People keep saying that it’s got this thing called ‘satire’ in it too but I don’t know what that is so I’m just going to focus on the sunglasses and fighting, thank you very much.

I give it 8 18s out of 10.




As an extra special treat, here’s a recently unearthed poster for the film, containing its original working title:


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One Response to Classic 18: They Live (1988)

  1. Tom says:

    This film is the fucking tits!

    Seriously -find it,watch it, enjoy.

    It”‘s better than any shit HH out out.

    Btw – I’m hammered.

    Seriously though – it’s the tits.

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