On the weekend I watched the crazy 1980s film They Live and it was full of scary alien propaganda that reminded me of Barbara Kruger pictures. Here, make the comparison for yourself:
And some screenshots from They Live:
Both Kruger and Carpenter play with the themes of slogans and branding and dismantling the idea that advertisements are anything more artistic than direct instructions. The similarity between both of their worlds lies in their shared simplicity and dark humour: both make beautiful use of irony in the idea that advertisers put massive amounts of time and effort into distilling their product down to a slogan, an act that is quick and simple to turn against them. How easy would it be to churn out a heavy-handed and didactic movie/art piece based around this same topic? But here it’s sidestepped beautifully and kept accessible and sarcastic. It’s no coincidence that a Barbara Kruger postcard appears in Heathers.
I’d absolutely recommend They Live if you love both insightful criticisms of capitalism and consumerism, but ALSO, really cheesy B movies led by wrestlers that utterly fall apart before the ends. Also, Childs from The Thing. You love him, don’t you? Of course you do. What a champ.