They Live
They Live is a 1988 science fiction
Science fiction film
Science fiction film is a film genre that uses science fiction: speculative, science-based depictions of phenomena that are not necessarily accepted by mainstream science, such as extraterrestrial life forms, alien worlds, extrasensory perception, and time travel, often along with futuristic...

Horror film
Horror films seek to elicit a negative emotional reaction from viewers by playing on the audience's most primal fears. They often feature scenes that startle the viewer through the means of macabre and the supernatural, thus frequently overlapping with the fantasy and science fiction genres...

 film directed by John Carpenter
John Carpenter
John Howard Carpenter is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, editor, composer, and occasional actor. Although Carpenter has worked in numerous film genres in his four-decade career, his name is most commonly associated with horror and science fiction.- Early life :Carpenter was born...

, who also wrote the screenplay
A screenplay or script is a written work that is made especially for a film or television program. Screenplays can be original works or adaptations from existing pieces of writing. In them, the movement, actions, expression, and dialogues of the characters are also narrated...

 under the pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

 Frank Armitage (this is the name of one of the characters in the movie).
Part science fiction horror and part dark comedy, the film echoed contemporary fears of a declining economy
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

, within a culture of greed and conspicuous consumption
Conspicuous consumption
Conspicuous consumption is spending on goods and services acquired mainly for the purpose of displaying income or wealth. In the mind of a conspicuous consumer, such display serves as a means of attaining or maintaining social status....

 common among Americans in the 1980s. In They Live, the ruling class within the moneyed elite are in fact aliens managing human social affairs through the use of a signal on top of the TV broadcast that is concealing their appearance
Human disguise
A human disguise is a concept in computer science, fantasy, folklore, mythology, religion, literary tradition, iconography and science fiction whereby non-human beings such as aliens, angels, demons, gods, monsters, robots, Satan or shapeshifters are disguised to seem human.Stories have depicted...

 and subliminal
Subliminal stimuli
Subliminal stimuli , contrary to supraliminal stimuli or "above threshold", are any sensory stimuli below an individual's threshold for conscious perception. The large majority of research has found that subliminal messages do not produce strong or lasting changes in behavior...

 messages in mass media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...

The story revolves around a nameless man referred to as "Nada" (Roddy Piper
Roddy Piper
Roderick George Toombs , better known by his ring name "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, is a Canadian semi-retired professional wrestler and film actor who is currently signed to WWE. In professional wrestling, he is best known for his work with WWE...

), a quiet drifter who finds work on a Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 construction site.

I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum.

Momma don't like tattletales.

You, you're ok. This one, real fuckin' ugly.

You… you look like your face fell in the cheese dip back in 1957.

You see, I take these glasses off, and she looks like a regular person, doesn't she? Put 'em back on…Formaldehyde Face!

That's like pouring perfume on a pig.

Brother, life's a bitch…and she's back in heat!

Either put the glasses on, or start eatin' that trashcan!

White line's in the middle of the road—that's the worst place to drive.