John Carpenter's slow and deliberate immersion of the daunting and worrying fable of the corrupt, deceiving and indifferent economic, social and political society, that has wrapped itself around its people and who in turn have blindly accepted their fate. Multicultural in more forms than anticipated, are the leading and upwardly mobile alien race who have gelled themselves into the Human psyche and exploited it to its full potential. This is the story of an everyman, a no one, a Nada who stumbles upon their secret, via an underground movement, whose mission is to sabotage their plans and awaken the world to its sinister plans. With the help of a pair of sunglasses, that shows the world as it really is, not in color, but a black and white parallel world that the sub-conscious has chosen to ignore. With subliminal messages as "OBEY", "CONFORM", "MARRY AND REPRODUCE", "CONSUME", "WATCH TELEVISION" and "SLEEP". It is through this thought control that the aliens have this world tied up and neatly packaged for its own manipulative uses, to further themselves at the expense of the meek, mild and the lowly sufferers of a job less and hungry world. This is the battle of self-awareness and one mans struggle with a reality check that has these alien beings staging war against the up-rising and rebellious armies from the gutters and streets.
They Live can indeed be interpreted as a treatise on the thorough and systematic conditioning of human experience in order for a hidden elite to covertly control, manipulate and exploit the masses. Many of those who seek the truth about the world realize that its reins are held by an unelected elite, one that is essentially hidden from the public eye. As the movie’s promotional poster says: “You see them on the street. You watch them on TV. You might even vote for one this fall. You think they’re people just like you. You’re wrong. Dead wrong.” To facilitate the rulers’ work, the masses are kept in the dark and are distracted by the fake puppet show that is politics and the “no independent thought” programming that is mass media.