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They Live (Cultographies)


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Wilson gets what makes They Live live. With all the virtuosity of 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper performing an inverted atomic drop, he grapples with the many dimensions of Carpenter's movie. From the critical, political and schizoanalytical to the simulacral and tonsorial, his short book chews bubble gum and kicks ass. -- Mark Bould, author of Film Noir: From Berlin to Sin City and editor-in-chief of Science Fiction Film & Television Wilson's They Live is an ideal contribution to the cultographies project. Written by a critic fully aware of relevant discourses such as wrestling, fan culture, and historical reception past and present, this is a very stimulating and still timely analysis of one of John Carpenter's key films. Highly recommendable on all levels, especially those of enjoyable and informative reading. -- Tony Williams, Professor/Area Head of Film Studies in the Department of English at University of Illinois-Carbondale and author of Hearths of Darkness: The Family in American Horror Film and The Cinema of George A. Romero A great study of a great film-it not only provides an array of historical contexts for understanding the film, but succeeds as an introduction to essential film theory as it relates to cult cinema and kitsch. Very different than Wilson's bizarro fiction, yet reading this book can help to understand the author's thinking about text and reveals his deep affinity for-and critical facility with-the power of counter cultural narratives. Recommended to anyone familiar with the film. -- Michael A. Arnzen, Seton Hill University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Introduction: The Becoming-Piper 1. The Cult of the Eighties 2. Wake-Up Call 3. Reel Politik 4. Through a Pair of Cheap Sunglasses Darkly 5. The Pathological Unconscious 6. Legacies Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

D. Harlan Wilson is a professor of English at Wright State University.


The book They Live reframes the film "They Live" through creative, compelling critique. It makes an elegant case, time after time, for taking this film seriously as well as science fiction cult cinema more broadly. Extrapolation This book... [allows] the reader to delve beyond the surface of this cult classic and explore the film's deeper message. San Francisco Book Review

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