* 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]].
* {{Anvilicious}}: In spades.
* HarsherInHindsight: The preponderance of mass shootings since the film's release can create some uncomfortable overtones to scenes where Nada bursts into crowded public areas and starts shooting at incognito aliens.
* 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]].
** A lot of conservatives read this movie as anti-socialist, mostly as an offshoot of "elites = liberals, liberals = socialists" line of thinking. Nevermind the fact that the whole thing is a criticism of an overly capitalist society (and, by WordOfGod, satire of the Reagan administration's consumerist society), and that the heroes are branded as DirtyCommies.
* OlderThanTheyThink: The plot revolves around creatures that have infiltrated the human race by [[TheyLookLikeUsNow making themselves look indistinguishable from us]] and posing as benevolent members of our society. With the help of at least one other human ally, our hero finds out about these grotesque foes, thereby learning how to identify them and how to protect himself and other humans. Eventually, he stumbles upon a secret meeting of the monsters (along with a human who was previously unaware of their existence). After one of the monsters at the meeting gives a speech detailing their plans, the hero discovers an enemy weapon that he hijacks to deal a debilitating blow to the inhuman enemies. Although he and the other human who witness the meeting have their lifespans severely shortened from the encounter, the hero considers it a worthy sacrifice since he enabled humanity to defeat the infiltrators...Yeah, sorry Creator/JohnCarpenter, but it looks like a certain ''[[Creator/RoaldDahl other]]'' master of scares [[Literature/TheWitches beat you to it]].
* 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: Nada is an everyman with little apparent education and limited skills. When confronted by a massive alien conspiracy in the heart of modern society, he simply starts shouting at people around him that he sees aliens and shooting at them. Some audience members might hope for a lead who acts more strategically, but this isn't that sort of movie.
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