Everyone at Discovery Space loves a good space conspiracy theory, from Ray Villard's awesome post about NASA airbrushing out moon cities to Ian's weekly battle against whatever the latest cosmic doomsday craze happens to be. We all know these "theories" are just so much bunk, but we can't look away.
To quote John Hodgman: “Truth is stranger than fiction, but never as strange as lies." We love strange things, and the following conspiracy theory is one of the strangest (yet oddly compelling) ones I've ever heard. Are you ready?
The U.S. government hired director Stanley Kubrick to film the fake moon landing and, to protect the lives of himself and his wife, he made 1980's "The Shining" as a veiled confession of his part in the secret project. This would have seen Kubrick filming the landing conjointly with "2001: A Space Odyssey."
That's the argument Internet conspiracy theorist Jay Weidner makes on his webpage "Secrets of the Shining." Yes, all the new age advertisements, Egyptian fonts and Alex Grey illustrations along the rail make this a very hard sell on the discerning reader. But the whole theory (like the best of them) is strangely fascinating. Weidnere grasps onto various bits of imagery in the film and deviations from Stephen King's novel as Kubrick revealing his secrets to the unsuspecting audience.
The basic premise is that, in the film, the protagonist Jack Torrance and his son Danny both represent different aspects of Kubrick, the pragmatist and the artistic visionary. Jack (Kubrick's practical side) makes a deal with the manager of the Overlook Hotel (America) to protect it through the coming winter (the Cold War). Weidner also points out that the Overlook, like America, is new, garish and built on the bones of Indians.
All of this builds on the notion that the moon landings were faked as a show of strength to the Soviet Union. But Weidner waves his crackpot flag a little more fervently by stating it was all necessary to "hide the advanced U.S. saucer technology from the Soviet Union."
Consider the following additional evidence:
Room 237: In King's novel, the haunted room is numbered 217. In the movie, it's 237. Why? "Because the average distance from the Earth to the Moon is 237,000 miles." It's actually 238,857 miles, but close enough, right? Weidner proposes that the haunted room represents the filming of the faked moon landing itself. "It's just like pictures in a book, Danny. It isn't real."
You probably remember the creepy twins from the film, the slain children of the previous Overlook caretaker. In King's novel, however, there was only one slain child. Weidner insists that Kubrick's alteration is a nod to NASA's previous Gemini (Get it? twins!) program. Given the genuinely creepy nature of this scene, you might not have noticed that Danny is in fact wearing an "Apollo 11" sweater. It's easy to get caught up on that last little factoid. View it here.
The Bears: The film features a large number of stuffed bears and, in one disturbing scene, Danny witnesses a man cavorting in a hotel room with a stranger in a horrifying bear suit. (Sheer nightmare juice!) Follow the conspiracy argument and all these bears, naturally, represent the looming Soviet threat.
The Typewriter: In one scene, the film reveals that Jack has been typing "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" over and over again. In one of Weidner's more, um, far-fetched moments, he proposes that "all" should actually be read "A11" for Apollo 11.
The Dead Guy: In King's novel, Danny sends a psychic distress signal to the hotel's elderly black chef Dick Haloran — and Haloran lives to escape the Overlook with the child and his mother. In the movie, however, the Overlook uses Jack to kill Haloran pretty much the second he arrives on the scene to save everyone. The reason for this alteration? Weidner insists that Kubrick wanted to tell the world that he had naively tried to tip someone off about his role in the moon landing hoax — and his doing so resulted in their murder. Worried for his own life and that of his wife, Kubrick had to reveal the secret both widely and clandestinely to protect himself.
So there you have it. Are you won over by any of this and, if so, do you agree that "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension" actually reveals the secrets of the Kennedy assassination cover-up?
Either way, I'll never view this film the same way again. You can view the original film trailer here.
Thanks to Dave Striepe for bringing this to my attention!
Images: Photos, in order, credit Hulton Archive/Getty Images, NASA and Warner Bros.