Filmographies Episode 5

On the newest episode of Filmographies, the John Carpenter train keeps on rolling. On this episode we go over the modern classic “They Live” staring Roddy Pipper and Keith David. Then we head over to the Chevy Chase staring “Memoirs of an Invisible Man.” Before ending things with the Showtime original anthology movie/back-door pilot “Body Bags” to which John Carpenter plays both host and director.

And it’s almost time to announce our new director as we wrap up John Carpenter’s filmography.

One thought on “Filmographies Episode 5

  • egslepov


    Great show, guys. I've really been enjoying the Carpenter series; it's inspired me to go back and watch some of these (usually) great movies again!

    About "They Live", though–I liked your discussion but I think you may be misreading a few things. The film isn't really about "commercialism" per se; it's more about media control. You guys seemed confused by the title. I'm not sure if you guys already realize this and still think it's a weird title, but "They Live" refers to how the aliens "live" in a cognizant state while the humans metaphorically "sleep" under the alien's hypnotic media control.

    I really like Dave's speculations about what a "They Live" remake would be like today, but again I think you guys might not have grasped the whole point of the movie. The rebels in "They Live" are not really fighting Wall St. corruption or anything like that; they're fighting media manipulation.

    It's kind of ironic to compare the Occupy Wall Street movement to Roddy & co. First of all, I do support a lot of the things OWS is calling for. But, on the other hand, that movement is clearly a non-grassroots creation of certain media forces and certain very wealthy foundation sponsors; the OWS financiers just want to create a critical mass of voters so that the financial rules can be rewritten to favor them (the foundations). Not to get on a soapbox here (I promise I'll be brief!), but it's pretty obvious that OWS is not a grassroots organization. These folks are (mostly) well-intentioned, but they didn't start protesting until their own favorite media sources told them to start protesting. Did they protest while the bailouts were going on? No, because most of those folks lean Left, and most Democrats in office then (including Obama) supported the bailouts. A similar thing occurred with the Tea Party: Did the Tea Party start protesting when Bush was spending a lot of money? No, they had to wait for their favorite media sources to tell them to start protesting once a Democrat was in office.

    This is all of long way of saying that if there was a "They Live" remake, it would have to be a lot more nuanced and multifaceted, simply because the media of today sends mixed messages to certain target demographics. In Carpenter's 1988 movie, it was good enough to have the relatively simple idea that the media is just there to get people to feel complacent and mindlessly consume. But in the 21st century the media also gets people hyped up and angry (usually in a way that has no fulfilling outcome). Sometimes media seems to lead people into pre-planned "protest" movements that do little more than shuttle would-be rebels back towards the status quo: Think of how the Tea Party started out by saying that it was "independent", but then all it did was help elect Republicans. I think there's a good chance that many OWS people will turn into an arm of Obama's re-election campaign, which is extremely ironic since Obama holds the record for getting the most campaign money from Wall St.

    Maybe I'm just cynical! Anyway, I would LOVE to see a "They Live" remake, but for it to have a subversive bite to it in 2011, I think it would have to feature a protagonist who not only had aliens to deal with, but also warring factions of somewhat co-opted protesters who would want him to join their ranks. The only solution would be for Roddy and his buddies to elude the media-driven groupthink of all of these movements and aim straight for the alien stronghold!

    Hope I didn't go on too long or step on any political toes. That was not my intention–what I wrote above just seemed to lend itself so well to what ideas a "They Live" remake, imo, should feature.

    Ah, if only the solution to our problems on Earth really WAS as simple as getting rid of secret aliens!

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