John Carpenter returned to independent and low budget filmmaking following the critical and commercial disappointment of Big Trouble in Little China with The Prince of Darkness and They Live.
While Prince of Darkness is a bleak horror, 1988’s They Live is paranoia-fuelled sci-fi thriller starring wrestler Roddy Piper as drifter who uncovers a secret alien invasion of the USA. Riffing on 1950s sci-fi B-movies and westerns, They Live was intended as a biting satire on Reganite America, but it’s even more prescient in what it says about Donald Trump’s US leadership today,
There are many great moments in They Live, but one of the stand-outs is a five minute fight sequence between Roddy Piper and co-star Keith David. It’s a hugely entertaining, bone-crunching scene – one of the all-time greats. This image show Carpenter, Piper and David figuring-out the action on set.
Shot on a budget of $3 million, They Live grossed $13 million at the US box office.