I know that a lot of how you “read” a movie and how you interpret both its contents and its intent comes from what you bring to it. A lot of times what one takes away from viewing a film is very dependent upon what you want to see there in the first place. And sometimes there are valid interpretations of a film that go beyond those that the director may have intended.
However, when the director himself tells you hat you are wrong about his intentions and that the movie should not be read the way you are, then I think that should stand as the last word.
That is exactly what has happened with John Carpenter’s 1986 masterpiece They Live.
(And yes, I did use the word “masterpiece” in the above sentence, and I stand by it. No, I’m not saying that They Live is one of the greatest movies ever made, but I will stand by it as one of the most entertaining, and one that accomplishes almost everything it sets out to do. It is a crowd pleaser with both an iconic set piece and a message, and if it failed at anything at all, that would be in its attempt to make Rowdy Roddy Piper into an international action movie superstar the way that Carpenter was able to do with Kurt Russell.)
Anyway, it appears that certain neo-nazi groups have been making the claim that They Live is all about Jewish attempts to take over the world. This piece of anti-Semitic propaganda has been going around for years, but it finally sparked enough attention for John Carpenter himself to take to Twitter to disavow any such intention and to tell these groups that they are flat-out wrong.
On Jan. 4, Carpenter tweeted the following:
THEY LIVE is about yuppies and unrestrained capitalism. It has nothing to do with Jewish control of the world, which is slander and a lie.
— John Carpenter (@TheHorrorMaster) January 4, 2017
So there you have it, in no uncertain terms, from the man himself. So let’s lay that one to rest, okay?
Oh, and for those misguided souls out there who may not have seen the movie, here’s the trailer:
But here’s what the movie is REALLY all about:
Go ahead, John. Tell me I’m wrong.