Sometimes people refer to it as "Satan's backyard. A crowd gathers around Wilmore, who is dressed in his usual blacks and grays, a headband around his shaved head, as he announces the day's fighters. His voice carries -- you can hear it across The Yard even when he's not talking loudly. A place where, he says, "They won't severely hurt each other or go to jail.
While many of the story's elements — such as the ubiquitous subliminal messaging, and the aliens' use of television as their means of keeping the public hypnotized — would later make it to the screen, Carpenter wisely added a few tweaks to the plot while omitting some of the story's more random details.
For instance, the literary Nada is told by one of the aliens — referred to as "Fascinators" — that his heart will stop at wait for it 8 o'clock in the morning, giving him only a limited amount of time to unravel their plot.
This race-against-time element isn't present in the film, nor is the ridiculous means a hypnotist's act by which he wakes up to the alien presence. Instead, Carpenter uses the aliens' covert war against a small human resistance to add tension, and introduces the plot point of the sunglasses — manufactured by the resistance, of course — as a more sensible way for Nada to discover the truth.
The mystery of John Nada As in Nelson's story, Piper's Nada is so named because he is meant to be a blank slate, an everyman; he is given very little backstory and is never referred to by name in the film even once.
Only his last name appears in the credits, although Carpenter has since let slip that the character's first name is John — and that he indeed has an extensive backstory, even if the filmmaker himself doesn't know what it is.
Entertainment, Carpenter revealed that only one man knew what unfortunate circumstances befell the homeless Nada before the events of the film: Roddy Piper. I believe his wife was killed by unintentional acceleration, which is something that happens with cars. The famous fight scene At nearly six minutes long, the brutal alleyway fight scene between Nada and fellow homeless laborer Frank Armitage Keith David over the latter's refusal to put on the special sunglasses is one of the most celebrated in film history.
It's been endlessly referenced, quoted and parodied most notably via a nearly shot-for-shot re-creation in the South Park episode "Cripple Fight" , and it's inevitably brought up as a point of comparison every time a potential new "best fight scene of all time" emerges.
Superman: Dawn of Justice, with the idea of creating a fight scene that would be totally singular. And I wanted to utilize some of Roddy's professional wrestling techniques and knowledge. In the late '80s, Fairey became somewhat well known for his "Andre the Giant Has a Posse" street art, which featured an image of the iconic wrestler.
By the mid-'90s the concept would morph into a work that become pervasive, appearing on stickers and posters seemingly everywhere. It's known as " Obey Giant ," and it's simply a stylized closeup of the wrestler's face with the caption "Obey.
In a video posted to YouTube in , Fairey remembers picking up a copy of the film on videocassette in , and being blown away: "The film Not only did the film impact me conceptually Sticking it to Reagan Getty Images If Carpenter intended They Live to be a ballistic missile lobbed at '80s materialism and excess, he's never been shy about who he ultimately saw as the symbol of that excess: President Ronald Reagan, whose economic policies widened the gap between the rich and poor and encouraged unchecked greed in the financial sector.
In the years since, Carpenter has been happy to elaborate on his contempt for ol' Ronnie whenever given the opportunity. And so by the late '80s, I'd had enough, and I decided I had to make a statement I just love that it was giving the finger to Reagan when nobody else would.
The cast was set from the beginning YouTube When it came time for Carpenter to cast his film, there were few tough decisions to be made; he had envisioned Piper and David as his two leads from the beginning.
The unconventional choice of Piper, a professional wrestler with limited acting experience, ended up being a perfect fit for Nada. He's the toughest guy I've ever met.
I also needed somebody who wouldn't be a traditional sidekick but could hold his own. YouTube In the same interview, Carpenter offered a surprising anecdote that may make you wonder just how far-fetched — or not — the film's premise really is.
The scene in which Nada discovers that all of the pages of every magazine on a newsstand are plastered with the aliens' subliminal messages was shot on location on a Los Angeles street, and the director was stunned at the reactions of passersby — or rather, the lack of any reaction — to the fact that their local newsstand now seemed to exclusively stock stark white magazines screaming ominous slogans in bold black print.
We had a big sign on a building which said 'conform. It was hard to believe. This, of course, is a pseudonym.
Carpenter wrote the screenplay but felt it was enough of a collaborative effort with then-girlfriend and future wife Sandy King and Piper as well to not take sole credit. There was another reason Carpenter shared credit as well. What an egotist! He's all out of bubblegum Soon after Nada's unpleasant discovery about the world around him, he has a scuffle with a pair of cops one of whom is an alien and manages to get away with one of their shotguns by ducking into a building, which happens to be a bank.
As the patrons react to Nada, still brandishing the weapon, he takes stock of a number of alien interlopers in the room, manages the tiniest of grins, and utters one of the most badass lines in film history: "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass In the same EW interview, he says, "Roddy came up with that.
Traveling all around the country wrestling different people, those guys come up with a lot of stuff to hype matches in interviews. They have to come up with one-liners. Roddy had a book full of them that he carried with him It's all about economic inequality Carpenter's choice to make his heroes down-on-their-luck homeless men up against alien invaders who all seem to be rich yuppies and, more frighteningly, politicians starkly underlines the film's ultimate message, which should be even clearer today than it was 30 years ago.
The film is a parable — Carpenter has gone so far as to call it a documentary — for the exploitation of the poor by the upper class and an indictment of the rampant economic inequality that makes it possible.
The director made sure to emphasize the gulf between rich and poor visually in the film, such as the opening scenes in the shantytown, which were shot in an actual homeless settlement with its residents paid a day's wages to act as extras framed against the glitzy high-rises of downtown L.
Listen, I'm a very happy capitalist. I love my country. I love the system that we're in, but not without some restraints on it The mentality that the '80s bred is really alive and well — that's the part that's so bad.