The awesome John Carpenter cult classic They Live is being remade, but apparently the filmmakers have decided to utilize some device other than sunglasses in order for the characters to see their supernatural slavedrivers! For those of you who don’t know, the idea behind They Live is that an alien race has enslaved humanity without their knowing it, and the only way for people to see the beings is by wearing special sunglasses – which also reveal their Orwellian messages of “OBEY” that are camouflaged by advertisements. After a drifter named Nada (played by Roddy Piper) discovers the secret behind who really controls the world, he teams up with his fellow construction worker Frank Armitage (Keith David) to save the day. But can a remake of They Live remove one of the original’s most memorable elements and get away with it? Here’s a blurb from producer Eric newman (via FirstShowing):
“I’m hoping that’s something we can get into next year,” he says, “We’ve talked about They Live. And we’ve been developing something sort of in the They Live space… We’re hoping next summer. It would be a great movie to make. We’re discussing [the sunglasses]. I’d like to say that really, a vagrant wandering around the streets could get you to try on his sunglasses, if he would leave you alone afterwards. He may even pay you $100, ‘Hey put these on.’ So we’re kind of exploring different versions of what is that thing that allows you to see. But I’m not going to tell you what it is.”
Sure, I guess I’ll bite. I love They Live, so taking the remake in a different direction might be a good idea. I often find that the best remakes take just the concept of the source material and put a new spin on it (see also Zack Snyder’s awesome Dawn of the Dead remake), so doing They Live with some new device instead of sunglasses could very well work. But, as tends to happen when Hollywood messes with a favourite property of mine, I will remain skeptical about this remake until I see more.