It’s been over 25 years since John Carpenter’s sci-fi social satire They Live hit theaters, but the film is more relevant than ever. A movie about a blue collar worker who discovers that there are aliens living as rich people on earth, it focuses on extreme economic inequality and corporate media control, topics that are still very much in the news. Fans are also rediscovering They Live, as they look back on the life and career of the film’s star, WWF brawler Roddy Piper, who died in July.
Yahoo Movies called Carpenter earlier this week to look back on They Live and discuss several of his other iconic movies like Halloween and The Thing, along with his career as a movie score composer. The director, now 67, was delightfully irascible, showing all the wit that helped him become one of the ‘70s and ’80s most pioneering filmmakers.
They Live was a reaction to the Reagan years, but the income inequality, corporate ownership of the media — all of that is more extreme now than ever.
Yeah, it is. You have to understand something: It’s a documentary. It’s not science fiction.
Do you feel like it’s gotten worse since then?
It’s morphed into something really bizarre. The same problem — unrestrained capitalism — still exists. 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 last recession we had is an example. The ‘80s never ended. The mentality that the ‘80s bred is really alive and well — that’s the part that’s so bad. Nothing is to built to last. Everything is built to make profit. But I don’t want to whine about it.