Review: They Live Male and Female Aliens by NECA
They Live is a classic of ’80s sci-fi horror, but it some ways, it hasn’t aged well. Its premise was radical in that decade: the news media and big corporations are subliminally brainwashing you. Using hidden messages, they tell you what to buy, what to think, what to do, and you go along with it. Only by viewing the media through special, headache-inducing sunglasses can you see the aliens giving out marching orders that the population follows.
Here on the cusp of 2020, this seems so quaint because we’re used to the media and corporations just flat-out telling us what to think and buy, with no pretense. Regardless of a viewer’s political ideology, there’s at least one network out there telling people to believe falsehoods. And at least some companies pushing unhealthy product shamelessly. We may disagree which ones, but we can see the methods at work.
Actor likeness rights for toys weren’t something R-rated movies needed to deal with in the ’80s. Thankfully, NECA recently hinted they have come to a deal with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper’s heirs. But for the fleshy-faced aliens, nobody needs to look like a specific actor. NECA maximized their tooling budget for this They Live two-pack by using existing 8-inch scale male and female bodies, then adding appropriate alien parts and accessories. No doubt the collector can make a joke that they represent their least favorite news anchors at whatever partisan network they dislike. I have, and it kills every time.
As usual with non-likeness heads on the 8-inch bodies, the detail is killer. These faces look grotesque and terrifying. In my youth, I might even have been scared to look at them. It’s also impressive that they’ve made the female’s hoop earrings effectively part of the hair sculpt, rather than separate, breakable rings.
Accessories include a magazine and newspaper cover with the subliminal message revealed. And a TV set that appears to be a partial reuse of the Freddy TV from NECA’s Nightmare on Elm Street 3 accessory pack. Like that one, it has a hook slot on the back to hang on the wall should one so choose.
The bodies underneath the clothing are generic, although the necks have been painted with spots to maintain continuity. The female’s thighs are straight gray. The male’s suit is all attached with velcro, so one can strip him easily. The female feels sewn into hers, and the skirt is super-tight. Mine had the left arm break at the elbow when I tried to move it, though it fit back in so long as I don’t make big gestures with it.
Super-poseability may not have been a top criterion, but they can strike a few poses.
If NECA ever wants to do a Tommy Wiseau figure from The Room, they can reuse the suit and the TV. But if NECA does end up making Roddy Piper’s antihero, Nada, the play opportunities will open to include all manner of kicking ass and chewing bubblegum. In the meantime, they work great in ironic humor displays.
$64.99 is the average price tag, which puts each figure at around $32.50. If that seems a bit high, consider that you’re unlikely to see any other company do these in such detail again.
Check out the gallery below for more looks. Will you “obey” and “consume”? Let us know in comments.