Rodney Ascher’s fantastic Room 237 looks at conspiracy theories surrounding readings of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror masterpiece The Shining. In celebration of the documentary, Roobla compiles 20 of the most bizarre, ludicrous, entertaining and downright mind-blowing movie theories. How many of these do you agree with?

Please note: These are all actual theories held by some fans.

20. The Joker didn’t Kill Batman’s parents.

In Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman, could the climatic face-off between Jack Nicholson’s Joker and Michael Keaton’s Batman have been more psychologically motivated than first thought? Many hold the belief that Batman’s “revelation” that a young Jack Napier (The Joker) killed his parents was little more than him projecting his despair onto his current foe?

19. James Bond is a codename

James Bond has changed face more times than Anne Robinson but there may be a reason for that. What if there was no James Bond, only various agents assuming the codename James Bond and being readily replaced by another after their duties were done? Well, explains how Bond’s age fluctuates! Although the recent prequel-like Casino Royale skews the theory somewhat.

18. Chewbacca and R2-D2 are Rebel Agents

Many hold the belief that R2-D2 and Chewbacca were not only drawn into the Rebellion’s war with The Empire but were assigned, deep undercover, rebel agents. R2-D2 never had his mind wiped after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and we know Chewbacca met Yoda long before Luke ever did. Did they both know of Vader’s origins and the Empire’s formation and were they were assigned roles by the Rebellion, in their cause for freedom?

17. Soul in case

What was in that briefcase in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction? Well here’s a theory; it was gangster Marsellus Wallace’s (Ving Rhames) soul. No wonder it was so closely guarded and gave off a kind of gleaming light. That is why Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) are retrieving this briefcase for their boss. Could it literally be that vital to him?

16. Andy’s mum and dad are going through a divorce

Toy Story is a great series about toys coming to life and their bond with each other, unless you look at the view that the film’s contain social undercurrents of family separation. Many hold the belief that Andy’s mum and dad are going through a brutal divorce. We never see Andy’s father and his mum seems to keep Andy happy with gifts and trips out – is she keeping him withdrawn from family issues?

15. Demons hate water

Remember those aliens in M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs? Well they are not aliens, they are demons. It actually makes sense, for a start the film proposes these creatures are aliens but their weakness is water, why would intelligent life invade a planet that was 71% water? If you submit to this theory it adds plausibility to a very ‘off’ climax. These demons are weak to water, in this case holy water that has come from the home of a priest!

14. Cobb’s Totem is his wedding ring

As if Christopher Nolan’s Inception was not narratively technical enough, you have this extra turn of the mental screw. Given validity by the fact that whenever Dominick Cobb (Leonard Di Caprio) is in reality he is wearing his wedding ring but when he is a dream, he is not. If you accept this, this answers that lingering question as to whether that finish was a dream or not.

13. John Patrick Mason is James Bond

Michael Bay’s action film The Rock stars Sean Connery, famous as being the first James Bond – but could the film be portraying the retired original Bond? It actually works in conjunction with the codename theory and, even though the film calls Mason ex-SAS, is this merely a cover for his real past?

12. The Dark Knight Rises Controls your mind

According to this view The Dark Knight Rises is not only a film about an animalistic terrorist taking Gotham and breaking the Batman, it is also a mind control device. Christopher Nolan’s film set the details out for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings that were to follow, as Sandy Hook featured on a map of Gotham. In fact many have gone as far to say that The Dark Knight Rises’ mind control triggers were the result of the Colorado Cinema shootings.

11. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was all in Cameron’s head

John Hughes’ classic rebel comedy gets a psychological comb over with quite a popular film theory. The theory asserts that Cameron (Alan Ruck) was a sheltered, closet homosexual who led a tedious existence. What better way to enliven his life than invent the rebellious Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) who takes him on his own personal revolution and breaks the tedium of Cameron’s life?

10. Willy Wonka was a child murderer

Why did those Oompa Loompas know those songs, when to sing them, where and so on… Also how come, following Augustus Gloop (Michael Bollner)’s accident, there were not two spare seats on the boat? Wonka (Gene Wilder) knew Gloop would fall into his trap and was looking to pass his murderous empire on. Some have even said the secret ingredients to his candy were his victims. Basically this theory turns Willy Wonka into Sweeney Todd!

9. Drag Me To Hell is all about Eating Disorders

As much as Sam Raimi’s horror/dark comedy, about a gypsy curse, seems far from this, there is a good bit of backing to this theory. The sequences of constant vomiting, self-punishment, the negative images of food (bleeding cake) and constant references to swallowing things and having things in the mouth all visually denote this very meaning. Was this girl suffering delusions related to her extreme eating disorder? And is Drag Me To Hell, ultimately a film about the female conforming to the accepted body image? Food for thought.

8. Prometheus is all about Greek mythology

Ridley Scott’s prequel-come-standalone sci-fi epic was somewhat polarising with audience feedback. Yet many state that Prometheus means far more as a piece of Greek mythology. In fairness the film’s title alone references Greek myth, as Prometheus created humanity and had a rivalry with Zeus over the humans. As for the film, some assert the opening sequence as reminiscent of Prometheus angering the gods and the spaceship containing the black goo as Pandora’s box. It is not actually that barmy a theory; in fact it answers a few questions. Sold!

7. Aladdin is set in the future

The theory goes that Disney’s Aladdin is set in a post apocalyptic world where the Arabian culture is one of the few that has survived. Hence why the Genie (Robin Willaims) is knowledgeable about the world (and constantly references pop culture). Another theory is that the Genie himself has been to the future or that the whole film is a made up story that the salesman in the opening tells, as he is trying to sell you the lamp.

6. Keith David is The Thing

As the end approaches and there are only two survivors in John Carpenter’s The Thing, there is a theory that when Kurt Russell’s MacReady offers Keith David’s Childs a drink, it is no drink. In the bottle is gasoline from earlier and as Childs doesn’t notice the taste, he must be the Thing, as the alien wouldn’t know the difference between the taste of a drink and gasoline. It certainly adds a paranoid factor to the end of an already established sci-fi horror.

5. Indy is dying

The theory is that the entire second half of Steven Spielberg’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was all in Indy’s mind as he died in the fridge. One wonders if this is more of a kneejerk from the dissenting voices against the controversial fourth Indiana Jones film. During the infamous scene where Indiana Jones climbs into a fridge to avoid a nuclear blast, he never gets out. In fact, radiation poisoning is causing him to hallucinate, as he slowly dies. So the second half of Indiana Jones didn’t happen, Indy imagined it. Some fans will certainly hope that is the case, in spite of the fact that KOTCS is no sillier (and no less enjoyable) than the rest of the franchise.

4. The Bride doesn’t kill Bill

At the end of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. II, the theory persists that Bill (David Carradine) isn’t dead. After the film finishes the names on the list are crossed off but Bill’s isn’t, despite him appearing to have been killed at the film’s climax. Many suggest that The Bride (Uma Thurman) is thanking Bill for caring for her daughter and leaving Bill his dignity by giving him a climatic ending. In fairness the film says, Pai Mei (Gordon Liu) never taught anyone the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique.

3. Toy Story 3 is about the Holocaust

Granted Pixar’s third Toy Story film echoes the likes The Great Escape but this theory is certainly a jaw dropping one. Andy leaving the toys behind is like fellow countries leaving the Jewish behind to the Third Reich invasion. There are other points that consider the escape sequences as concentration camp escape attempts and the Woody pep talk scene early in the film as almost identical to a scene from Roman Polanski’s The Pianist.

2. Anton the angel

According to this theory, in the Coen BrothersNo Country For Old Men, the film’s hitman antagonist is an angel of death, sent by God to punish those in the drugs industry. The indestructibility of Anton (Javier Bardem) certainly supports this, as does his gambling with the lives of victims. Could this biblical element be way more than an outlandish theory in this literary-to-film adaptation?

1. Harry Potter is all a dream

You read that right… people hwo support this theory also suggest that the dream begins in the scene where Harry (Daniel Radcliffe)’s cruel uncle shuts him in his room in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. This theory basically suggests that an entire franchise is in the imagination of a lonely young boy who dreams of a grander, better life as he sits in the converted closet that is his room. Sorry Potter fans!

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There's 44 Comments. Add yours
  1. Joe

    The Harry Potter movies couldn't have been a dream because the begining of the first movie shows him being delivered to his uncle's house be wizards.

  2. Johandry

    i've heard a theory but it is from a tv serie… what if rick from the walking dead has never woke up from his comma?

    • Matthew Murphy In reply to Johandry

      Holy Shit that would not only be freaking awesome but probably piss quite a bit of people off…but I would love it I have constantly wondered how The Walking Dead could end with a happyish ending without killing everybody and this would be a good way to do it I guess

      • Johandry In reply to Matthew Murphy

        right? i just saw that in one of those silly images of facebook with a troll face and it kept me thinking how crazy would that be…

    • cheesy In reply to Johandry

      I had no idea comma's could put people to sleep… tragic.

    • Anonymous In reply to Johandry

      In which case, there never was a zombie apocalypse. I like that theory 😀

  3. Daniel Gadomski

    Where is the "Edd, Ed & Eddy" limbo theory?

  4. Ghoul

    Some think that Hellraiser may have been metaphorical of the AIDS crisis. That's an interesting one.

  5. James

    As far as Pulp Fiction goes…It is NOT a theory. The case WAS M.W.'s soul. Tarantino confirmed this in an interview saying he read an old novel where the devil removes souls through the back of your neck. Hence the band-aid on the back of his neck.

    • aprince66 In reply to James

      FTW! Beat me to it

    • Mike Whittemore In reply to James

      It is a theory. Tarantino always said that anything can be in the briefcase. It's up to the viewer. He never claimed this in an interview, because he gets asked this all the time and his answer is always the same.

    • David Mock In reply to James

      That's a flat out lie. They were going to make it diamonds but that was the central conflict in Reservoir Dogs. So they made it ambiguous. It was a Maguffin, the contents weren't important, it was just supposed to move the film along.

  6. Louis

    There is also this theory that some directors try to send us messages of things that they know but can't say. That's what got me when I watched The Fourth Kind, I thought the director was telling us what he knew about extraterrestrials and I thought I was going to die that same day because of what the movie says. I admit I'm a bit naive.

  7. sgoodell

    How about the Gilligan's Island theory, where the stranded passengers all represent the deadly sins and Gilligan is the Devil…think about it, look it up, really strange parallels.

  8. Alphanumeric71

    John Carpenter has confirmed that Keith David was the thing. Just youtube the ending and you can see that while Kurt Russells character is breathing, you can see his breath, whereas Keith Davids Characters breath isn't visible at all.

  9. Mahgawd

    Season 7, episode 1 of Doctor Who, there is a Dalek with a scar shaped crack in its helm. What if the entire Harry Potter series was just his way of escaping reality like Clara did? Given this, it gives entirely new context to Dumbledore's quote, "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”"

    And it doesn't hurt that Tennant was in Harry Potter. just saying.

  10. Lisa Morningstar

    None of the children in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory die, they just fall victim to their own selfishness, gluttony, and greed. They don't die at the end of the original book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory either.

  11. RandomColoradan

    In reality some of these theories are true because they are all fiction. Harry potter really kind of was an escapism for the author don't you think? I'm not that analytical when it comes to movies…but I thought inception was poking fun at the brainwashing theories of television/subliminals, that twilight was about gang violence in crime families, and that Harry potter was a parallel to WW2 with voldemort as hitler. Harry is acctually in the army. How about that? It's all fake though cause it's just fiction. T(ry reading some nonfiction once in a while.

  12. George Palaziol

    in the movie "Signs" they are aliens. Never heard of demons creating crop circles

  13. cheesy

    Finding Nemo…. I think this is about Christianity and finding Jesus, believers vs non believers, etc. Why Nemo? backwards for Omen. Think about it…

    • NateHale In reply to cheesy

      The word Nemo means "no one". So essentially the movie is about people looking for someone who doesn't exist.

  14. NateHale

    The James Bond code name and the Rock theories are dumb. First off Sean Connery wasn't technically the first Bond, He was the fourth, but that is a side note. James Bond was a birth name. His full history is known, including his parents names and his childhood home.

    • Timothy In reply to NateHale

      I agree, the codename is silly idea. If people think this, how does one explain Rodger Moores bond visiting the grave of his dead wife who got killed in honer madj secret service (1969) where Lazenby played bond.

  15. Matthew Croy

    I always thought Andy's dad died and they had to move to a cheaper house. I assumed Andy was so attached to Woody because his dad gave it to him.

  16. rub

    This is just rubbish.

  17. Martytronic

    So many of these theories make absolutely no sense because the author of this article does not seem to have seen enough of these movies to actually say anything about them… it's like he's 15 years old or something and wouldn't know anything that existed before Sean Connery – that and… it's Skyfall that we also learn that James Bond is likely his real name (or at least Bond is his real surname) because he visits his old estate where you can see his parents names on their headstones.

    I literally stopped reading and was just checking for errors instead. There's nothing mind-blowing about these theories, they're either wrong, weird at best or insulting to the movie, its cast and directors at worst…

    • Alex In reply to Martytronic

      Don't use age as an insult. I'm fifteen and am offended. This is one of the reasons I'm a misanthrope. And number sixteen is actually logical:

      Look it up. There's many reasons why Andy's mum and dad are going through a divorce. This is a very logical assumption. The author of this post didn't go into detail and failed to mention everything, which is extremely annoying. Andy's parents are probably going through a divorce. Look it up.

  18. OfficialJab

    I used to like the James Bond one, before Skyfall came out. The Aladdin one is mostly crap, except the last idea that it's a made up backstory to hock some junk.

    The coma/dreaming theories are the laziest kinds of analysis. Certainly not bizarre or mind-blowing.

  19. TimeWasted

    wow, where do i even start with this terribly written tripe? #20 Napier did kill the wayne parents in the movie, but in the movie only. burton speaks about this twist in later commentary #19 gravestones debunk the surname. #18 entertaining conjecture. #17 this was a cinematic "MacGuffin (google it) #16 didnt see the movie so i wont add to the bullshit #15 tap water in a priests home is not holy water unless he blessed each glass. that movie sucks anyway. #14 Cobbs totem is the tractriciod top. see the prologue Inception: the Cobol Job. where cobb first learns of inception and recieves the top. #13 and #12… youre an idiot. #11 see #18 this wasnt fight club. #10 read the book #9 havent seen yet #8 that is not a theory, that is an observation, and an obvious one at that. youtube "prometheus actually explained" submitted by user Twin Perfect if you need things spelled out for you #6 kieth david IS the thing see Alphanumeric71's comment below. now im bored and skipping the rest. your shite list would pique not the interest of even jesse ventura. get off the internet.

    • TimeWasted is gay In reply to TimeWasted

      Someone is shedding their uterine lining today. "you'er and idiot", "see", "add to the bull shit", "read the book" are all pathetic rebuttals. Also, don't use a "book" to justify a movie. Both are going to be different. Get off the interent

    • Chris Straub In reply to TimeWasted

      Some of these are obviously wrong, yes, but you tried to disprove some that are certainly good theorys.

      1. Cobbs totem is not the top. The top was his wive's. He makes a clear point in telling Ellen Page, that you must never let another person use/touch your totem. So yes, It makes sense that his totem is his wedding ring. Go back and watch focusing on this detail.
      2. Drag me to Hell is definitely references eating disorders.
      3. As a whole, I have seen each of these listed on other sites, so you can not entirely blame the writer. As stated, these are just some of the out there fan-theorys that make these films fun to rewatch, and give them all a different level to look at the film on. Don't be such an ass.

  20. Curtis Andrew Hedrick

    R2's memory wasn't erased…Bail said "wipe the PROTOCOL droids memory." only 3p0 was mind wiped.

  21. Tom

    Here's a theory for Lost fans. After the plane crash we see jack lying in the bamboo forest. Perhaps it was all a dream, because after all, jack was the main character who seemed all knowing. He started out "seeing" his father as a desperate attempt to ignore his father's death. He quickly become's "their leader". It would explain all the weird events that happen later. The only portions of the series that were real were him lying in the bamboo forest in the first episode, and dying there in the last. I could probably go into MUCH more depth, but don't really feel like being the "Question" today ( DC reference).

  22. Crosshairs

    Dumbest list I've ever read.

  23. Albert Feyen

    Crazy Theories. What was the author smoking when this was written?

  24. QS

    Loved No. 16.

  25. Marzyman

    There's actually a pretty good crazy theory this guy made about how all the Pixar movies are set in the same universe

  26. David meaks

    In "The Thing" Carpenter said in an interview he is the thing, not because of gasoline but because his breath doesn't freeze. Some of these are ludicrous, which is fun, some are off the mark, and some are just ridiculous but I like fun film theories. "Room 237" is fun for that.

  27. Ken

    I lost all respect for this article when they said that the wanna-be 4th Indy film was "no less enjoyable" than the real trilogy. No taste, at all.

  28. Patches

    Interesting theories. But I have something to say about the Harry Potter theory…not that it isn't cool but it's totally impossible. At the very beginning of the first book is clearly explained how Herry got to live with Dursleys. No dreaming, it was even before he was old enough to dream afterall.

  29. Timothy

    If Anton is an angel then why does he kill the driver at the start, kills people who involved with the drug trade. No evidence to say him and kelly McDonald's (who he suposibly killed) characters were involved in the trade.

  30. Timothy

    Maybe his soul wasn't pulled through his neck but was an injury. After all, he is a gangster.