A big collection of films that might be considered as strange, mindfucking, surreal and weird. Sorted by year. Suggestions are…
Who are they? And what do they want?
Nada, a down-on-his-luck construction worker, discovers a pair of special sunglasses. Wearing them, he is able to see the world as it really is: people being bombarded by media and government with messages like "Stay Asleep", "No Imagination", "Submit to Authority". Even scarier is that he is able to see that some usually normal-looking people are in fact ugly aliens in charge of the massive campaign to keep humans subdued.
What strikes me most about Carpenter is his coolness, the calm deliberation with which he lets his plots unfurl. This premise, in the hands of any other filmmaker, would be a lightning quick action comedy, Men in Black or Big Trouble in Little China style. But instead it's almost an hour into a 90 minute film before the hero convinces someone else to try on the glasses. And the film's signature showpiece, the big action number, is a good old-fashioned slugging match between two friends, all over the one's stubborn refusal to do something as simple as try on a pair of glasses (hilariously allegorical, of course). Even the film's most famous line, one I've known for years (as I…
I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum.
John Carpenter's commercial appeal peaked in 1984 when he made Starman, a film that earned Jeff Bridges an Oscar nomination. A mere two years later Carpenter's brilliant Big Trouble in Little China would bomb at the box office and his career would never really recover. It only took one box office disappointment and suddenly the director could no longer find financing for his films. The quality of his next films are arguable, but there is no question that his best work was now behind him although he did have one last success in him.
They Live is Carpenter's last box office success, even…
April 17, 1954 – July 31, 2015
What a horribly sad day this turned out to be. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper isn't just a former wrestler, he was a huge part of the golden age of wrestling in the 80s when professional wrestling was one of the most important things in kid DuLac's life (like many kids of the 80s). It really is the passing of a childhood hero who was just as much fun to watch when he was a villain.
Now Canadian wrestling fans have a tendency to be incredibly loyal to their countrymen. It's like a pride thing I guess... for a fake sport. Now Piper was billed from Glasgow, Scotland, but us Canucks knew…
Overall as a complete package, this isn't Carpenter's best film. However the great moments are better than most filmmakers will get close to in their career.
Roddy Piper, having had his eyes opened, tries to wake his friend Keith David from his slumber but he's stubborn. So he literally has to beat him into submission in a bout that seems like it will never end. David is unwilling to accept that the world he lives in is more totalitarian (right word?) than he could imagine. Not until he has to.
I do this to friends who watch X-Factor.
This is one of very few Carpenter movies I've avoided for so long that it almost feels silly watching it today, when I'm thirty and should've developed some nostalgic love for this movie ages ago. I did just that with Big Trouble in Little China, and even though the theme in They Live should fit an adult (as my self, even though I refuse to really grow up), I found myself not getting as entertained as I should've been. I also had some problems with it not being Kurt Russel that played our beefy hero in a mullet.
They Live has more than one great thing going for it though. It has a does-this-fight-never-end? moment that I loved. It gets…
This is one of Carpenter's few comedies. This isn't a horror or action film, it is purely a satirical comedy that just happens to have science fiction elements.
I think that when you take this film seriously you'll end up hating it. It has so much tongue in cheek and cheese in it (tongue in cheese??), that it is hard to really take seriously. Not that it matters, because it is so much fun. The premise works, the corny one liners are hilarious and it just ambles along at a pleasant pace, never outstaying its welcome.
And the fist fight scene is just one of the best things ever put on film.
What I Learned:
I'm pretty sure this is set in the future and we don't yet fully understand how far ahead of its time this film truly was
still a fun watch, still a great commentary on society..not as scary as i remember as a child
Decent Sci-fi/horror flick that has memorable one liners,a rather scathing critique of consumer culture and greed(which is still relevant today). Keith David is on par as always and Roddy Piper puts in a pretty good performance as well. While not the best film in John Carpenter's filmography, It's middle of he road fair but from John Carpenter that still pretty damn good.
Needs about 30 more minutes of Roddy Piper and Keith David fighting about Keith David wearing the sunglasses.
Where can I get those sunglasses? Anybody?
I swear, everybody around me is an alien. If only I could prove it! Hey there alien who is reading this.
Minor Carpenter, yet still well-crafted and deliberately paced. Long, expansive takes with a slowly moving camera. Super wide shots loaded with visual info. The police raid scenes are great with eerie pink lighting and abundant use of fog machines.
The real bravura art direction occurs when Roddy puts on his "reality specs" and we switch to high-contrast black and white. The subliminal messages are displayed in a precise black font on white background.
Content-wise, I don't know that anything all that deep is present. I'm usually first in line for anything critical of capitalism, but everything here is pretty one-dimensional. Our heroes' answer to a controlling state is to fight back with dumb he-man violence. Also, I never really figured out what separates the greedy alien creatures from the other cops and bankers who work within the system yet are somehow still human beings. When do we cross that line into becoming greedy mutants who "sell out"?
"Brother, life's a bitch... and she's back in heat."
Watch #2 of Hoop-Tober (2.0)
I have to be honest, I'm left a tad disappointed. The concept, ostensibly, excited me and had a lot of potential to be satire so blatant that it becomes clever comedy. And while there are bursts of Carpenter genius, They Live is really a risible 80's goof-fest. Now this doesn't necessarily downgrade the film, it just switches the perspective in which it should be observed from. But even taking this into consideration, the film doesn't live up to it's cult-status in my opinion. Still, parts are awesome - this cannot be denied. Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David trading blows and suplexes for 5 straight minutes? Yes. Yes please.
To be honest, the excitement doesn't…
"You see, I take these glasses off, she looks like a regular person, doesn't she? Put 'em back on... formaldehyde-face!"
For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
Contains every horror film made that is not lost and is found on the letterboxd database.
If there is any…