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Remake, Reboot, or Rest in Peace? They Live

Remake, Reboot, or Rest in Peace Logo
Iconic Obey scene from They Live

It’s no secret that I appreciate American composer, writer, director, and producer John Carpenter. I may have previously mentioned ‘Darkstar‘. Or ‘The Thing‘. Even ‘Ghosts of Mars’. I haven’t but should have mentioned ‘Escape from New York’, ‘Starman’, ‘Big Trouble in Little China’, or ‘Escape from L.A.’.

I definitely will not mention ‘Halloween III Season of the Witch’. Or ‘Memoirs of an Invisible Man’. Ever. Ahem. Ever Again.

But ‘They Live‘?

Roddy Piper wearing sunglasses in movie They Live


Can’t be mentioned enough. So we will not be doing an episode of Remake, Reboot, or Rest In Peace on it. Nope nope nope. No chance of seeing that here. Move along. To be clear, move along after watching it. Six or sixty times.

In 2015, Carpenter said of ‘They Live’: “You have to understand something. It’s a documentary. It’s not science fiction.”

Keith David is back from ‘The Thing’. Mr. Rowdy Roddy Piper opens his eyes and realizes that things are not what they seem to be. And the rest as they say…

Actors roddy piper and keith david in they live

“I’m here to kick ass and chew bubble gum … and I’m all out of bubble gum”.

I was scrubbing a list of perfect movies, movies so good that they should never be remade. Ev. Er. ‘They Live’ didn’t make the list. Still, it shouldn’t be remade. Or rebooted. It’s too good to forget, and the message? Too important to Rest in Peace.

Look at that! That is a complete fucking fraud, and it looks a hundred percent real. It’s the best work I’ve ever done in my life, because it’s so honest.” – Dustin Hoffman as Stanley Motss in Wag the Dog

‘They Live’ and its more commercial cousin, 1997’s satire ‘Wag the Dog,’ evoke emotion, provoke deliberation. Maybe even a little soul searching. Good. Art. Should.

Roger Ebert said of ‘Wag the Dog’, “It’s creepy how this material is absurd and convincing at the same time.” The same can be said of ‘They Live’.

Movie They Live Skyline Shot

I would probably play a video or board game based on ‘Wag the Dog’. I can definitely see both for ‘They Live’. There already is a pretty darn good third person shooter, of sorts.

Deep Silver’s over the top “Saints Row IV“, developed by Volition, may not exactly pay homage to ‘They Live’. But it does evoke it on multiple levels. It, like the movie, is still enjoyable today.

SaintsRow IV Nintendo Switch Screenshot

A board game then? There are a lot of good games based on Speculative Fiction, on movies. The Dune game has been re-released in advance of Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’, and is as fun as ever. Other solid offerings:

  • Big Trouble in Little China: The Board Game
  • Forbidden Stars
  • Twilight Imperium
  • Shadowrun: Sprawl Ops
  • Xcom: The Board Game
  • Dune: The Board Game
  • Godzilla Card Game
  • Disney Villainous
Dune Board Game

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there is a Kickstarter game under development for ‘They Live’. The graphics and materials are beautiful. Here’s to hoping the mechanics, the gameplay are just as solid.

Remake–as a Board Game.

And don’t forget the bubble gum!

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