Sunday, September 27, 2009
Nietzsche in John Carpenter's They Live
In the cult classic They Live (88), John Carpenter tells the story of one man, Nada, who accidentally stumbles across the product of a secret cult of mysterious sunglass makers: sunglasses. Upon wearing them, Nada sees the truth of the world: blank billboards that read "eat, sleep, reproduce" and magazines that order everyday citizens to "spend, spend" and that "money is your God." Apparently, the world has been taken over by aliens that code their messages so that what we see as normal billboards and magazines are really propaganda convincing us all to become, as Nietzsche would say, part of a herd.
Nada, in a sense, becomes Nietzsche's "Übermensch." He is the one man, aided by his special sunglasses, that starts the movement against these intruders. During one of the movie's finest moments, the 7-8 minute fight scene (which can be found here; if you have the time, I highly recommend watching it), Nada fights Frank, a man symbolizing the herd altogether.
During our discussions about Nietzsche, my mind kept coming back to this movie. Nada's fight against the aliens, and in addition, the herd itself, sort of related to a second slave revolt in morality. Nada's "will to power" underlines the existentialist undertones throughout the entire movie, culminating in one of the finest lines in the movie: "I came here to chew bubble gum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubble gum."
Posted by BRB at 6:26 PM