From one of the best cheesy movies of all time comes one of the most fun costumes I’ve ever made. They Live is a classic 80s John Carpenter movie starring Rowdy Roddy Piper. It’s about a man who finds a pair of glasses that show him the world as it truly is: the elite are aliens that are brain washing humans into submission. My husband and I love this movie and so I made these costumes.
Because the aliens are disguising themselves as normal people, there clothes are the clothes my husband and I generally wear. However, in the movie, regular billboards and ads are displayed as messages of submission (like OBEY or REPRODUCE) when the glasses are worn so our shirts and my shopping bag display just that . I purchased iron on transfer inkjet paper to make the wording. The wigs were simply bought at a party store.
The masks were the tricky bit. You cannot buy masks like this anywhere so I had to make them from scratch. I bought one plain white mask and one mask with a demon’s toothy grin. On the first mask, I created the muscle tissue using Crayola Model Magic. After that dried, I cut the grin off of the other mask and glued it to the first mask using hot glue. I then created the facial ridges and blended the mouth piece to the rest of the mask using model magic again. Once all this was, dry, I painted the mask (see image). While this dried, I took the eyes out of a pair of costume geek glasses and cut slits in them to match the aliens’ eyes. I then painted them silver. Once those had dried, I glued the eyes to the mask using hot glue. To get the plastic-y sheen, I sprayed the completed mask with a glossy spray.
The reaction of those who knew They Live was awesome. So many people began to rave about how awesome the masks looked and recount on how great the movie was. even artist Tommy Castillo requested a commissioned copy of the mask! Not bad for a costume I whipped up in two days