They Live

Stop wait, you mean I’ve never written a blogpost on They Live? Inconceivable, how did I overlook that?

They Live was made back in 1988, and looks towards a world where aliens have colonised Earth and intend  to keep the human’s poor and underemployed, brain washing us so that we don’t wake up and realise that we’re all slaves working for them.

This reveal is done slowly, until the main character discovers a pair of sunglasses that show the true form of the aliens, and their techniques of brain washing us through TV, the media and advertising.

The aliens are chiefly rich yuppy types, 1%ers, but the world of finance that the film depicts (cuts on benefits to the poor and disabled – credit and housing issues, banks rather than politicians running the country) all seem very precipitant now.

Indeed this is a film that seems to depict the ‘credit crunch’ of 2007. It’s directed by the legendary John Carpenter, who’s to the left politics run against the grain in America and maybe one of the reasons he’s not widely considered as great a director in his home country as he is in the rest of the world.

The film is also funny, action packed and very clever – this is Carpenter, so of course the film has a great score and one of my favourite endings in sci-fi. Made for a very low budget, the film continues to grow as its nightmare vision of the future looks more and more accurate and people become more disenfranchised with the politics of modern life.

Indeed, it seems as if America may well vote for Trump in November, a character who would fit in well in They Live.

The trailer is below…


Matthew Cooper has written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. Matthew was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge, the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s been a script consultant and script writer for hire for over 20 years. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on