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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by John Carpenter
USA 1988

 

John Nada (Roddy Piper) is a quiet loner, a drifter who gets work where ever he can find it. While working on a construction site in L.A. and sleeping in a vagrant community at night, John stumbles upon a secret society of alien beings who pose as wealthy and powerful people in human society. John joins a rebel group committed to exposing this conspiracy, and becomes their reluctant leader and the only hope of the human race. Wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper is outstanding as the unassuming hero, playing the role with understated shock at what he uncovers and stubborn courage when he confronts it. Director John Carpenter laces the film with his trademark blend of humour and horror, making aliens that are hideously arrogant, greedy, and easy to hate, while the humans are confused and desperate in their struggle against them. The world looks a little different at the end of THEY LIVE, and one will never look at billboards, money, or sunglasses the same way again. The film contains the longest, and perhaps most realistic, fist fight in film history. Paying homage to INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, the film was based on the short story EIGHT O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING by Ray Nelson. 

***

Set in an oppressive Reagan-era Los Angeles, a place in the midst of a financial depression, John Nada is a drifter in search of work. Landing a job on a construction site and a place to stay in a homeless shanty town, Nada stumbles upon an underground group and a pair of magical sunglasses that allow him to see the truth – that aliens are among us and control us through radio waves and subliminal advertising. Looking through the sunglasses, we see a startling depiction a drab grey world filled with creepy looking aliens and embossed with sloganeering (‘Obey’, ‘Conform’, ‘Marry and Reproduce’); visually the sequences are similar to the recent silent movie homage La Antena.

Excerpt from Eye For Film located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 4th, 1988

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Eagle Pictures- Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Shout! Factory- Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Studio Canal (3-disc) - Region FREE - 4K UHD

Box Cover

 

 

Steelbook:

4 disc 4K UHD set includes CD, 48-page book, poster etc.

4K UHD Steelbook:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Eagle Pictures - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Studio Canal - Region FREE - 4K UHD
Runtime 1:34:20.041         1:34:07.725  1:34:17.833 
Video

2.23:1 1080P

Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,090,993,712 bytes

Feature: 21,819,623,424 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.92 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

2.35:1 1080P

Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,835,876,364 bytes

Feature: 26,620,827,648 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

2.35:1 2060P

4K Ultra HD
Disc Size: 59,269,947,025 bytes
Feature: 58,291,267,584 bytes
Video Bitrate: 55.33 Mbps
Codec:
HEVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Bitrate 4K Ultra HD

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 3558 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3558 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2134 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2134 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1632 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1632 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1578 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1578 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 4279 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4279 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUBs:

DTS-HD Master Audio French 4220 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4220 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 2142 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2142 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles Italian, None English, None English, French, German, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Eagle Pictures

 

2.23:1 1080P

Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,090,993,712 bytes

Feature: 21,819,623,424 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.92 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• 16-page booklet with photos and essay (in Italian)


Blu-ray Release Date:
February 2nd, 2011
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 8

Release Information:
Studio:
Shout! Factory

 

2.35:1 1080P

Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,835,876,364 bytes

Feature: 26,620,827,648 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Audio Commentary By Director John Carpenter And Actor Roddy Piper
• Independent Thoughts - Interview With Director John Carpenter (10:07)
• Woman of Mystery - Interview with Actress Meg Foster (5:20)
• Watch, Look, Listen: The Sights and Sounds of They Live (11:14)
• Man vs. Aliens - Interview with actor Keith David (11:12)
• Vintage Featurette: The Making Of They Live (8:02)
• Never-Before-Seen-Footage (Commercials in the film) - 2:34
• Original Theatrical Trailer (1:29)
• Stills Gallery (2:17)
• TV Spots (1:55)


Blu-ray Release Date:
November 6th, 2012
Standard Blu-ray Case inside cardboard sleeve

Chapters 8

Release Information:
Studio:
Studio Canal

 

2.35:1 2060P

4K Ultra HD
Disc Size: 59,269,947,025 bytes
Feature: 58,291,267,584 bytes
Video Bitrate: 55.33 Mbps
Codec:
HEVC Video

 

Edition Details:

There are no extras on the 4K disc.

The second disc Blu-ray has the film with the optional commentary by John Carpenter & Roddy Piper.

The 3rd disc is a Blu-ray and has the following supplements:

• Subversion: Exposing John Carpenter’s THEY LIVE - A brand retrospective documentary produced by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures and featuring interviews with Associate producer Sandy King, cinematographer Gary Kibbe, actor Peter Jason, actor Robert Grasmere, composer Alan Howarth, stunt coordinator/Ghoul Jeff Imada, author Jonathan Letham, music historian Daniel Schweiger, Blumhouse editor Rebekah McKendry, and visual effects historian Justin Humphreys. (47:00)
• Original EPK: The Making of They Live (1988) (8:02)
• John Carpenter profile - vintage profile of the director (1988 - 2:47)
• Meg Foster profile - vintage profile of the actress (2:24)
• Roddy Piper profile - vintage profile of the actor (2:11)
• Independent Thoughts with John Carpenter – a 2012 interview with director John Carpenter (10:07)
• Woman of Mystery: Interview with Meg Foster – a 2012 interview with actress Meg Foster (5:20)
• Man vs Aliens: Interview with Keith David – a 2012 interview with actor Keith David (11:12)
• Fake commercials in the film (2:34)
• TV spots (1:56)
• Photo gallery (2:17)


4K Ultra HD Release Date:
October 29th, 2018
Standard 4K Ultra HD Case inside cardboard sleeve

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Studio Canal 4K UHD (June 2019): The 2018 restoration of They Live was made using the original camera negative which was scanned at 4K resolution in 16bit and Studio Canal applied the ACES workflow to the restoration process which resulted in the creation of a 4K DCP, UHD version and a new HD version which were produced with the same high technological standards as today's biggest international film releases. In short, the image is a huge advancement over the, already strong, Shout! Factory Blu-ray (see BD comparison HERE). Detail and grain support are dramatically improved - the overall image can be brighter, in some scenes, or darker with the contrast being exported with further layers in nighttime sequences.

The restoration and new
UHD version was color graded and approved in Los Angeles by the Cinematographer, Gary B. Kibbe (ASC).

It is likely that the monitor you are seeing this review is not an HDR-compatible display (High Dynamic Range) where each pixel can be assigned with a wider and notably granular range of color and light. Our capture software if simulating the HDR (in a uniform manner) for standard monitors. This should make it easier for us to review more 4K UHD titles in the future and give you a decent idea of its attributes on your system. However, to complicate things further the differences between HDR and Dolby Vision can range from minuscule to significant - and this primarily effects colors and color depth. When obtaining our 4K resolution captures, our software, presently, defaults to the Dolby Vision if both are available. If a disc only features HDR, the software utilizes that simulation setting. So my system at the office does not support the exact same colors (warmth of skin tones, brighter or darker hues etc.) as the 4K one at home. But the framing, detail, grain texture support etc. are, generally, not effected by this variance. 

NOTE: 36 more full resolution (3840 X 2160) captures for Patrons are available HERE.

We have reviewed the following 4K UHD packages to date: Shutter Island (software uniformly simulated HDR) The Matrix (software uniformly simulated HDR), Alien (software uniformly simulated HDR), Toy Story (software uniformly simulated HDR),  A Few Good Men (software uniformly simulated HDR),  2001: A Space Odyssey (HDR caps udated), Schindler's List (simulated HDR), The Neon Demon (No HDR), Dawn of the Dead (No HDR), Saving Private Ryan (simulated HDR and 'raw' captures), Suspiria (No HDR), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (No HDR), The Big Lebowski, and I Am Legend (simulated and 'raw' HDR captures).

On their 4K UHD, Studio Canal offer the option of a linear PCM 2.0 channel track or a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround (no Atmos) - both 24-bit and both in English (there are two DUBs - a German and French.) The surround is extremely robust and blows away both Blu-ray transfers with some real intensity and depth in the effects and the pulsating score by John Carpenter (who scores his own films) and Alan Howarth (The Final Countdown and who has collaborated with Carpenter on many of his films.). It sounds brilliant, but obviously flatter in the uncompressed LPCM but the surround is quite effective in exporting the films paranoid themes. in the lossless. Paramount offer optional English (SDH) and standard English plus many other foreign language subtitle options, on their Region FREE 4K UHD.

There are no extras on the 4K UHD disc. The second disc Blu-ray has the film with the optional commentary by John Carpenter & Roddy Piper, as found on the Shout! Factory. The 3rd disc is a Blu-ray and has the plenty of supplements. Subversion: Exposing John Carpenter’s THEY LIVE is a brand new 47-minute retrospective documentary produced by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures and featuring interviews with associate producer Sandy King, cinematographer Gary Kibbe, actor Peter Jason, actor Robert Grasmere, composer Alan Howarth, stunt coordinator / Ghoul Jeff Imada, author Jonathan Letham, music historian Daniel Schweiger, Blumhouse editor Rebekah McKendry, and visual effects historian Justin Humphreys. It's educational about details of the production beyond those mentioned in the commentary. There is also the original electronic press kit from 1988 with the 8-minute "The Making of They Live", short profiles of John Carpenter, Meg Foster, and Roddy Piper. Independent Thoughts with John Carpenter is the 10-minute 2012 interview with the director Woman of Mystery: Interview with Meg Foster is also from that year running just over 5-minutes. Man vs Aliens is an 11-minute interview with Keith David. I enjoyed the 2.5 minutes of 'Fake' commercials in the film. There are also TV spots and a photo gallery - all founds on the Shout! Factory Blu-ray.

This is my most rewatched John Carpenter film - myself and my two sons love the passive alien invasion angle, and the noble drifter, perfectly played by Rowdy Roddy Piper - who is exposed to the conspiracy. Carpenter's, prescient, deeper themes continue to seem even more contemporary. The 4K package is a winner - a huge advancement in a/v and all the previous extras plus a new 3/4 hour documentary. If you appreciate this film - the Studio Canal 4K UHD is, by far, the best presentation and contains the most extras. It looks great on my system and we strongly recommend this for the digital library of 4K adopters. This film would be another reason to embrace this format.

Gary Tooze

 

4 disc 4K UHD set includes CD, 48-page book, art cards, poster etc.

 


Eagle Pictures - Region 'B' Blu-ray

Shout! Factory Region 'A' Blu-ray

Studio Canal - Region FREE - 4K UHD

Studio Canal - Included Feature Blu-ray (has commentary)

Studio Canal - Extras Blu-ray (has commentary)

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY (1920 X 1080) AND 4K UHD (3840 X 2160) CAPTURES TO SEE IN FULL  RESOLUTION

 

1) Shout! Factory Region 'A' Blu-ray TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 


 

1) Eagle Pictures - Region 'B' Blu-ray TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Studio Canal - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 


 

1) Eagle Pictures - Region 'B' Blu-ray TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Studio Canal - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 


 

1) Eagle Pictures - Region 'B' Blu-ray TOP

2) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Studio Canal - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 


More Studio Canal - Region FREE - 4K UHD Captures
 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

More full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K Ultra HD Captures for Patreon Supporters HERE

 


 
Box Cover

 

 

Steelbook:

4 disc set includes CD, 48-page book, poster etc.

4K Steelbook:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Eagle Pictures - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Studio Canal - Region FREE - 4K UHD


 

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Thank You!