The idea for They Live came from two sources: a short story called "Eight O'Clock in the Morning" by Ray Nelson, originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in the 1960s, involving an alien invasion in the tradition of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and a story called "Nada" from the Alien Encounters comic book. John Carpenter describes Nelson's story as "...a D.O.A. type of story, in which a man is put in a trance by a stage hypnotist. When he awakens, he realizes that the entire human race has been hypnotized, and that alien creatures are controlling humanity. He has only until eight o'clock in the morning to solve the problem.
The more political elements of the film are derived from Carpenter's growing distaste with the ever-increasing commercialization of 1980s popular culture and politics. He remarked, "I began watching TV again. I quickly realized that everything we see is designed to sell us something... It's all about wanting us to buy something. The only thing they want to do is take our money." To this end, Carpenter thought of sunglasses as being the tool to seeing the truth, which "is seen in black and white. It's as if the aliens have colorized us. That means, of course, that Ted Turner is really a monster from outer space." (Turner had received some bad press in the 1980s for colorizing classic black-and-white movies.) The director commented on the alien threat in an interview, "They want to own all our businesses. A Universal executive asked me, 'Where's the threat in that? We all sell out every day.' I ended up using that line in the film." The aliens were deliberately made to look like ghouls according to Carpenter, who said: "The creatures are corrupting us, so they, themselves, are corruptions of human beings."
Because the screenplay was the product of so many sources: a short story, a comic book, and input from cast and crew, Carpenter decided to use the pseudonym "Frank Armitage," an allusion to one of the filmmaker's favorite writers, H. P. Lovecraft (Frank Armitage is a character in Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror). Carpenter has always felt a close kinship with Lovecraft's worldview and according to the director, "Lovecraft wrote about the hidden world, the "world underneath." His stories were about gods who are repressed, who were once on Earth and are now coming back. The world underneath has a great deal to do with They Live." -- (Wikipedia.org)
The complete film "THEY LIVE"
"Reality is incredibly larger, infinitely more exciting, than the flesh and blood vehicle we travel in here. If you read science fiction, the more you read it the more you realize that you and the universe are part of the same thing. Science knows still practically nothing about the real nature of matter, energy, dimension, or time; and even less about those remarkable things called life and thought. But whatever the meaning and purpose of this universe, you are a legitimate part of it. And since you are part of the all that is, part of its purpose, there is more to you than just this brief speck of existence. You are just a visitor here in this time and this place, a traveler through it."
-- Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek
"The universe is a big place, perhaps the biggest." (Philip Jose Farmer), "Venus on the Half Shell"
Venus on the Half-Shell is a science fiction novel by Philip José Farmer, writing pseudonymously as "Kilgore Trout," a fictional recurring character in many of the novels of Kurt Vonnegut. This book first appeared as a lengthy fictitious "excerpt"—written by Vonnegut, but attributed to Trout—in Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965). With Vonnegut's permission, Farmer expanded the fragment into an entire standalone novel (including, as an in-joke, a scene that incorporates all of Vonnegut's original text). Farmer's story was first published in two parts beginning in the December 1974 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The plot, in which Earth is destroyed by cosmic bureaucrats doing routine maintenance and the sole human survivor goes on a quest to find the "Definitive Answer to the Ultimate Question," bears some resemblance to the later Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, first launched as a radio serial in 1979.
According to Farmer's introduction in Venus on the Half-Shell and Others, Vonnegut was initially reluctant to allow the project, but finally relented. After publication, a poorly-worded magazine article gave Vonnegut the impression that Farmer had planned to write the story regardless of his permission, which angered Vonnegut. Also, it was popularly assumed that Vonnegut wrote the book. This problem was solved by the book being reprinted under Farmer's by-line.
A common element to this novel is the origin of many of the characters' and locations' names. Farmer "put in a lot of references to literature and fictional authors... Most of the alien names in Venus were formed by transposing the letters of English or non-English words."
The title and paperback cover art are a reference to an Italian Renaissance tempera painting by Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus, which depicts the birth of the goddess Venus as her rising from the sea on a scallop shell.
Here are a few of the thousands of 'Wizards', 'Magical Beings', Renegade Spirits, Mad Scientists that appear in modern science fiction stories, films and TV. There are many, many more powerful, mysterious and mystical than those listed in this article from 'i09', but it's a start: Ten Wizards Who Found Themselves In Science Fiction Stories.
A few other more powerful examples can be found in my book PAN-GOD OF THE WOODS ( http://lawrencerspencer.com/pan-god-of-the-woods/ )