John Carpenter’s They Live Gets a Remake

I have come here to chew bubblegum and remake movies… and I’m all out of bubblegum. Will John Carpenter be the first director to have his entire filmography remade — while he is still alive, no less? It certainly looks that way. With Halloween, The Fog and Assault on Precinct 13 all getting updates over the past few years, and new versions of Escape from New York and The Thing also supposedly in development, now we have yet another one to add to the list: They Live starring Rowdy Roddy Piper.

The original came out back in 1988 and like most Carpenter films, wasn’t that well received theatrically, but found a cult following on video. The story revolves around a construction worker (Piper) who finds a pair of sunglasses that reveal the fact that many of the world’s politicians are actually aliens in disguise, controlling the human population with subliminal messages. Universal and Strike Entertainment are the ones currently in talks to acquire the rights, under producers Marc Abraham and Eric Newman (Children of Men, Slither, Dawn of the Dead). A writer and director have yet to be named, but Abraham and Newman do have some great films under their belt including Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake, so maybe they will actually do something cool with this. What would you like to see in a They Live remake?

  • I’d say what I’d like to see is a stopper on this glut of ’80s remakes, but of course I will probably go see this …

  • Nemesis

    Probaly no longer a cult movie then, what this needs instead of a remake is a good special edition.

  • Well said on the j.c. filmography Sean. I think this is lunacy, but I’d love to see the whole thing re-imagined in light of recent times, rather than Reganomics of the 1980s. Replace Roddy Piper with The Rock to keep the wraslin’ leading man.

    In a way, Southland Tales is already a loose remake of They Life, for me anyway…

  • Well said on the j.c. filmography Sean. I think this is lunacy, but I’d love to see the whole thing re-imagined in light of recent times, rather than Reganomics of the 1980s. Replace Roddy Piper with The Rock to keep the wraslin’ leading man.

    In a way, Southland Tales is already a loose remake of They Live, for me anyway…

  • I am a big fan of Pipers and saw THEY LIVE 3 times in a theater. While not a fan of remakes,I can live with this one because the main themes in the film are important.It’s really had a cool concept! Carpenters They Live was shot on a budget of just 3 million dollars and looks great!


  • Bob The Slob

    Die planet earth. die quick and painful. die.

  • I think they’re remaking it to cover up the nefarious tone in the original and shift the blame on somebody else. If you can read between the lines, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

  • richard

    It would be cool to see Piper reprise his own role (although with his health situation, this isn’t likely), and transposing the social/political commentary into the Post-9/11 age seems totally appropriate and relevant.

  • Lara Petersen


  • Sentinel

    They Live has already been remade in the form of conspiracy documentary called Ring of Power – Empire of the City. It’s available free for download on torrent and it’s even better then original They Live.

  • Winston

    I really like this movie, because, of all the Carpenter films, this one is actually based on reality. :eek:

  • Palli

    How about casting Mickey Rourke as Roddy Piper? After his performance in the wrestler, he might be a valid candidate. Heck’ why not even make it a seqeul to the wrestler where he’s down to his luck again and wakes up after being knocked down and mugged in an alley where he finds the sunglasses?

    Just an idea. I now it’s crazy, but is it totally stupid?

  • Tomas

    Pali, I think it would be a great idea. I’m becoming a huge fan of Mickey since The Wrestler and Sin City.

  • Ararr

    Yeah Pali, I agree Mr. Rourke would make a nice candidate, I sure do wish i had an 80’s Mel Gibson, or late 80’s Schwarzenegger that they could throw in as starring actor….

    One can dream.

  • Jason

    I would like to see this film revision make a huge impact in the film industry, by attacking the global-banking society that has taken over America with the its Media Whores and massive God-complex. As for the Actor, bring on Jesse Ventura! He carries the torch of a wrestling past, and being a former actor. Plus, he is a 9-11 truth seeker!

  • mothman

    The Rock!

  • Scott

    They need to stop making remakes. It’s great by its own. Just get a special edition on DVD. That’s what they really need instead of a remake.

  • kenny

    i think this is a great idea,only in the plot they should mak it more current and include the “nwo” and shadow government and the aliens should be reptilian not zombie lookin.

  • Mac

    Can we re-release this to theatre’s.. I just watched this movie for the first time since 1990.. and was blown away. When i watched it then it was just Rowdy Piper vs Aliens.. but watching it now.. it’s much more than that. Plus an awesome fight scene.. They can recreate this.. but it’s perfect as is.

  • Joe

    This will suck balls. Just saw the original for about the 50th time on the big screen at a local art house. There’s no way they’ll capture the same feel of the original.

  • I doubt the remake will do the original justice

    ” They Live and We Sleep, You Starve and They Eat !!! ”

  • DrZaius

    Stone Cold and The Rock! STONE COLD AND THE ROCK!

    Holy crap! DO IT!

  • fan82

    I have to say once I read a remake was in the works I got excited. I think the original is perfect as is though and would hate it if they veered too much from the themes presented in the original. Hopefully, one advantage of a remake might be that special effects advances might make the look of the aliens more scary/creepy. I’ll def. watch it, but I think they should just stick with Carpenter to Direct and put an unknown in the lead as Nada.

  • ugn

    I agree, watching the movie I thought, this is ripe material for a remake, this movie can really benefit from a bit of budget and modern CG. Done properly (not turned into another crappy, well, remake) this can be a a great sci-fi movie.

  • Tommy

    Riding on the coattails of the “V” miniseries (well, 4 episodes so far), a “They Live!” remake would be appropriate.

  • It would be too hard to remake this film. You have to remember, They Live was set in a time that was PRE-INTERNET. It would be waaayy to hard for people to hack into signals and stuff in a post 9/11 era. I would love to see this remade and updated with new graphics and aliens, but everyone knowns it will be ruined. And when it’s ruined, it’ll make people think that the original sucks as well..

    just my opinion…

  • Mike Reid

    One of my favorite movies. The Matrix was a high tech remake of this movie.

  • Mike

    You can’t remake this movie without the Piper… and lets face this movie had the greatest sound track ever duh duh duuuuuuhhhhh duhn… You just can’t beat that! I would also like to see the fight scene over putting the sun-glasses.

  • Justin

    I don’t think this would be hard to remake because it was set in a pre internet time, all you would have to do is set it in the late 80’s.

  • I’d like to see a cameo from Keith and the Hot Rod. In the remake, they could be the aliens that are shown at the end of the fight scene.

  • Derek

    Huge Carpenter fan, but this is probably the one movie of his that begs to be remade. The subject (enslavement of the poor by an alien upperclass, partly through the use of pervasive advertising, bent on using up all our resources and destroying our world) is even more topical now, and there was frankly a lot of unmet potential with the original, which is enjoyable more for its cheese than for being a great movie. As long as they don’t water down the “message”, I’m all for it. It SHOULD have been remade during the Bush Administration, though. Cheney is DEFINITELY the alien leader.

  • Michael

    I read a post on IMBD that suggested Mickey Roarke take the title role. BEST. IDEA. EVER!!!!!

  • Well they are remaking this movie, Im a little worried about it. its going to be weird, this movie should not be remade in my opinion. Its just hard to see it work…the reason I say that is because the few people that actually know about the original and love it the way I do are just going to sit there and compare and its going to drive you nuts in the theater if its not completely like the original or they screw the story line up or cast the wrong people or change the story to a more modern day one. What made the original so great was the setting, the music, the great lines, and the cheap effects. and you know already those aren’t coming back..its going to be a much like a modern day conspiracy theory movie! if thats even going to be allowed. Im just scared they will ruin it. Stop rapping 80s movies. damn it! Piper is the man! who can fill his shoes in that movie?

  • Utopianist

    a remake would be great, first time i saw it i thaught the plot was great but so crappy made for a 80’s movie, b movie that dosnt get the audience i needs, so a remake is a great idea as long as they stikk to the plot, and make it relevant for todays consumer society! & at the end of the movie people should wake up, the game should be over, and we all burn our money, not just gonna be a movie, but history!