It’s been nearly 30 years since the release of “They Live.” But even to this day, its writer and director, John Carpenter, wants to make sure that the message of his 1988 satirical science-fiction horror film does not continue to be misinterpreted by some.
On Tuesday, the 68-year-old filmmaker took to Twitter to reiterate that his film does not have an anti-Semitic message. This is a myth perpetuated by some Neo-Nazis and white supremacists since at least 2008.
Far from being an allegory for Jews secretly controlling the world, “They Live” is more of a criticism of the Reagan-era’s culture of consumerism, commercialization and conformity. “THEY LIVE is about yuppies and unrestrained capitalism”, Carpenter tweeted. “It has nothing to do with Jewish control of the world, which is slander and a lie.”
THEY LIVE is about yuppies and unrestrained capitalism. It has nothing to do with Jewish control of the world, which is slander and a lie.
— John Carpenter (@TheHorrorMaster) January 4, 2017
Based on the 1963 short story “Eight O’Clock in the Morning” by Ray Nelson, “They Live” follows a drifter named John Nada (Roddy Piper). Nada discovers that the ruling class are aliens concealing their appearance and manipulating people to spend money, breed and accept the status quo with subliminal messages in mass media.
Carpenter’s portrayal of the ruling class as aliens is definitely a criticism of the commercialization of popular culture and politics that was going on in the ’80s.