Roddy Piper as Nada in 'They Live'.

Would Anything Be More Redundant Than a ‘They Live’ Reboot?

When it comes to Hollywood royalty, John Carpenter is perhaps the most anomalous figure of all; this is, after all, the man who crafted the likes of such genre titans as Halloween and The Thing, and somehow also the man who made such impossibly divisive oddballs as Big Trouble in Little China, In the Mouth of Madness, and Vampires, the latter of which managed to land on a variety of both best-of and worst-of lists of 1998.

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But perhaps most bizarrely impressive of all is the fact that They Live—the obtusely on-the-nose sci-fi thriller in which a man known only as Nada happens upon a pair of sunglasses that allow him to see the world for what it really is (namely, wealthy aliens and blunt messages on Los Angeles’ many billboards)—managed to go from a negative critical response upon its first release, to a modern-day reappraisal as one of Carpenter‘s best movies, despite still being about as subtle as a bulldozer to the face.

That trait is only exacerbated when the consciousness of today’s audiences is considered, and according to one Sandy King—the wife of Carpenter and a frequent producer on his films—in a recent interview with, a modern-day reboot of They Live is all but unnecessary thanks to the existence of cable news:

“That’s a little like watching CNN now, isn’t it? I think that if you stay tuned, you might actually see something before too long.”

But that doesn’t mean the possibility is dead in the water, with King revealing in the same interview that “there might be” another story in the They Live universe buried somewhere in the pipeline. But, with respect to what she said above, how could such subject matter be approached in a way that isn’t excruciatingly trite?

Perhaps the protagonist of the reboot comes across a pair of glasses that, rather than uncover subliminal messaging in advertisements, allows them to spot fake news and misinformation, uncover the truth of the subject, and understand why the misinformation was published all in one glance. That’s far from a full idea, of course, but given that subliminal messaging in advertisements is basic—and, tragically, humdrum—knowledge to modern audiences at this point, fake news seems like the natural next step for an ethos such as They Live’s. It strikes a nice balance as a problem that people are aware of and one that many still fall victim to, all while being more than close enough to the OG film’s goal of giving the system the middle finger and sounding the alarm.

(featured image: Universal Pictures)

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Charlotte Simmons
Charlotte is a freelance writer at The Mary Sue and We Got This Covered. She's been writing professionally since 2018 (a year before she completed her English and Journalism degrees at St. Thomas University), and is likely to exert herself if given the chance to write about film or video games.