* AdaptationDisplacement: The plot originally comes from a ScienceFiction short story involving a man who can see the messages after being hypnotized. The aliens in there also [[ToServeMan eat humans]].
* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: Because the aliens are just stand-ins for the wealthy class in Reagan's America, it can be easy to wonder just how truly evil they are. They might be exploiting humanity, but they're hardly genocidal conquerors.
** Until they murder innocent people forced to live in shanty towns.
* {{Anvilicious}}: In spades.
* MemeticMutation:
** The saying "[[ChewBubblegum I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum!]]" existed before this film, but virtually every subsequent use finds its ancestry to this film.
** The subliminal OBEY/CONSUME/etc signs have been remixed all over the place, notably into Shepard Fairey's OBEY GIANT campaign.
** [[http://iruntheinternet.com/lulzdump/images/they-live-glasses-mlp-my-little-pony-never-marry-and-reproduce-1375809560C.jpg This edit]] is pretty popular among [[FanHater anti]]-[[MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic bronies]].
* MisaimedFandom: Naturally, given that it's a film about shadowy elites ruling the world from behind the scenes, {{Conspiracy Theorist}}s have taken a significant liking to it. Carpenter insists that it's a satire of '80s yuppie capitalism run amok, and has told [[ThoseWackyNazis neo-Nazi]] fans of the film (who read a specifically anti-Semitic meaning into it) to go [[http://www.avclub.com/article/john-carpenter-thinks-internet-nazis-need-put-sung-247940 piss right the hell off]].
* ParanoiaFuel: The whole point, in a way. That commercial you just saw on television ... just a commercial or a subliminal message telling you to "OBEY" and "CONFORM"?
* SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped: By many people's assertion, there were a lot of things wrong with 1980s American consumerism.
* TooCoolToLive: [[spoiler:Nada and Frank]].
* ValuesResonance: The only things outdated in this film are the hairstyles.
* WhatAnIdiot: So you find a pair of glasses that show you the truth: that aliens have basically taken over the world and are controlling our minds as we speak. There is absolutely no way you can fight them gun to gun, since they control ''everything''. You need to go about this the smart way, because it's the only way. So what do you do? You start yelling at everyone you see about aliens.
** COULD be justified by the notion that the glasses are said to mess with your psyche a bit and that Nada was having a serious case of GoMadFromTheRevelation.
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