Above: An iconic scene from John Carpenter’s They Live – starting at 1:30.
This clip from John Carpenter’s film They Live can teach us a great deal about the way that ideology works today.
What we should immediately notice is how there are two levels of messaging at play: the explicit ‘normal’ world and the implicit ‘hidden’ world, which is only exposed when the actor “Rowdy” Roddy Piper puts on the sunglasses. This is what allows him to see the world underneath: all visual media content (billboards, magazines, television, etc.) are reduced to propagandas like “OBEY,” “MARRY AND REPRODUCE,” “CONSUME,” and so on. Along with this, certain people are revealed to be weird aliens while satellite dishes broadcast strange signals from the top of every set of streetlights. Through this “beautifully naïve mise-en-scene,” as Slavoj Zizek describes it, “we learn to see dictatorship IN democracy.”Click to Keep Reading . . .