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 We never see Andy’s father and his mum seems to keep Andy happy with gifts and trips out – is she keeping him withdrawn from family issues?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 Brothers’ No 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!