Magazine August 27, 2018, Issue

Farce as Tragedy

(Universal Pictures)
How a 1980s sci-fi flick became an inspiration for Marxist tracts

‘I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I’m all out of bubblegum.”

It’s one of my favorite movie lines of all time, but there are other reasons I love John Carpenter’s sci-fi action movie They Live, which celebrates its 30th anniversary later this year. Starring the 1980s professional wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, it is one of the best B-movies of the era. Kurt Russell was supposed to play the lead role, but Carpenter felt that after directing so many Russell vehicles, he should go with someone else. When Carpenter, a wrestling fan, saw Piper’s bravura performance in

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