THEY LIVE Movie Review, Themes & Memes Ep48


On this episode, we return to the 'conspiracy classic' genre in looking at the 1989 Sci-Fi B-movie 'They Live' by John Carpenter. 

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The film introduces 'John Nada', a drifter working manual labour in LA, as he stumbles across a special pair of sunglasses which allow him to see a very different version of reality than the 'American Dream' he is accustomed to. As it is ultimately revealed that humanity's perceptions are being controlled by a camouflaged alien race; Nada tries to convince those around him of the truth, thus alerting the aliens to his existence. 

Despite being pursued by the authorities on a vigilante rampage, Nada manages to recruit one of his co-workers, whereby the two work to expose the aliens and reveal their system of control to the world. 

We talk about the film as it relates to both popular and conspiracy culture, looking at how the sentiments and motifs found in the film were used and referenced so frequently in the early days of the 'truth movement'. Despite being a deliberately silly film, many of the key quotes and memes are as relevant today as they were some 30 years ago. 

We also discuss the wider metaphors of the film, in terms of how the struggles of 'Nada' represent that of the truth seeker; trying in vain to 'wake up' those around them to a vastly different interpretation of reality. We look at the symbolism of the prolonged fight scenes as representing the battle between the 'truther' and the 'sheeple', and the degree of resistance Nada faces in his quest to raise awareness.

We finish up by touching on the truth movement and wider conspiracy culture, and how the predominant ideas and attitudes have changed over the years, noting the sense of nostalgia that these films can elicit. We look at how films like 'They Live' can influence perceptions of reality, along with the pitfalls of extremist interpretations, where elements of fiction or fantasy are perceived on a literal basis.  

Topics discussed include: John Carpenter, Roddy Piper, Podcasting, Truth Movement, Network, Conspiracy Culture, Science Fiction, Silliness, Social Commentary, Pro-Wrestling, Los Angeles, Labour, Construction, Tent Cities, Skid Row, Church, Soup Kitchen, Police Brutality, Sunglasses, Appropriation, Shepherd Fairey, Obey Meme, Hollywood Hills, Mind Control, Aliens, Propaganda, Symbolism, Metaphor, Waking Up, Global Warming, Environmentalism, Collaborators, Evangelism, Christianity, Humanitarianism, Preacher, Underdog, Disenfranchised, Victims, Elitism, Agendas, Population Control, Subliminal Messages, New Age, David Icke, Reptilians, Artificial Constructs, Popular Narratives, Reality vs Fiction, Literal Interpretations, Fantasy, Alt-Right, Trutherising, Conspiracy Town, Social Critiques, Changing Attitudes, Escapism, Motifs, Anger, Extremist Ideology, Exploitation, Will to Power, Alex Jones, Joe Rogan, Nostalgia, Hope, Sentimentality, Sadness, Continuity, Case Study, Simpler Times.


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Musical Accompaniment

 Welcome to LA, by John Carpenter