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Stanley Kubrick

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Stanley Kubrick (1928–1999) was an American film director, writer, producer and photographer, who directed famous and lauded films such as A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr. Strangelove, and The Shining, among others. Widely regarded as one of the most innovative directors of all time, he has influenced a multitude of other filmmakers.

Kubrick has been the subject of two loosely related conspiracy theories, one regarding his role in allegedly faking the Apollo moon-landing and the other regarding his knowledge of the Illuminati.

He has been also been the subject of numerous attempts to find deep layers of symbolic meaning in his films which many other viewers doubt are actually present.

Moon landing hoax[edit]

Sometime after his death, someone with too much time on their hands[note 1] began digging through his films and finding such esoteric images as triangles and circles, no doubt the Eye of Providence. Numerous conspiracy theories have since emerged about him, one of the most notable being that he was hired to direct the Apollo moon landing[1] and that he hid a coded confession in The Shining,[2] the three clues being that the Grady twins resemble the Gemini sign (Gemini being Apollo's sister space program), the typewriter scene ("All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.") should be read as "A-11" rather than "All" and a scene where Danny wears an "Apollo-11 USA" shirt.

Other theorists have followed suit including Michael Wysmierski who promotes theories similar to Jay Weidner in his YouTube video The Shining Code.[3]

Precedent in prank article and mockumentary film[edit]

Prior to Jay Weidner promoting this theory in all seriousness, two pranksters had suggested entirely in jest that Kubrick had faked the moon landings but not everyone saw that they were being tongue-in-cheek. In 1995, the Usenet group alt.humor.best-of-usenet published an article claiming Kubrick faked the Moon landings. The joke is given away in several places in particular a sentence which states Kubrick filmed some of the material at the "Sea of Tranquillity," which is on the Moon anyway.[4] Nonetheless, true moon-hoax believer Clyde Lewis quoted this article as if it was written in earnest.[5]

The French mockumentary Dark Side of the Moon was made by director William Karel in 2002. Made with the cooperation of Kubrick's surviving relatives, his brother-in-law Jan Harlan and his widow Christianne Kubrick, the film suggests Kubrick faked the moon-landing at the behest of the Nixon administration. All the footage quoting the likes of Henry Kissinger and Donald Rumsfeld is taken out of context, and the presence of other interviewees named after characters in Kubrick films is a giveaway that the film is a put-on.

Wikipedia notes:[6]

When the film was shown to a group of sociology students studying conspiracy theories, many mistakenly believed that this was a sincere and serious film.[7] Furthermore, moon-landing hoax advocate Wayne Green cited the film as evidence for his views, apparently believing the out of context footage of Nixon staff was really about a moon landing hoax, as discussed on Jay Windley's "clavius.org" site defending the reality of the moon landings. [8] Extracts ranging from a few minutes[9] to the whole film stripped of the credits and key sequences[10] have been posted on YouTube by conspiracy theorists as "proof" that, either the images on the moon are fake, or the moon landing itself never happened. Karel himself received e-mails congratulating him for "exposing the moon landing hoax", which amused him.- Wikipedia

Illuminati involvement[edit]

It is also held he was part of a massive Freemason-Illuminati conspiracy and devoted his film career to hiding clues of its existence in his films (with the exception of Spartacus and Barry Lyndon).[11] Eventually the Illuminati decided he had crossed the line with his final film Eyes Wide Shut (for apparently exploring trauma-based mind control)[12] and went on to assassinate Kubrick,[13] this being his cause of death, rather than, you know, being an out-of-shape 70-year old man.

Generally, the Kubrick-Illuminati theory relies on nitpicking to get the point across, analyzing certain scenes (usually the more abstract, visually appealing or mysterious-looking ones), as well as a few select frames and claiming they're symbolic or that they feature hidden messages, and yes, a lot of ranting,[14] without any actual evidence, of course, but it remains a popular and widely discussed conspiracy theory to this day, unsurprisingly.

Illuminati theories boosted by speculative fiction[edit]

Although Illuminati conspiracy theories date back a few centuries, they were given an enormous boost by a work of speculative fiction by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea in the 1970s entitled the Illuminatus trilogy (which do not mention Kubrick). Unlike Dan Brown, author of The DaVinci Code, neither Wilson nor Shea were publicly committed to believing that the theories fictionalized in these novels were actually true.

Alleged secret meanings in Kubrick films[edit]

Although Rob AgerWikipedia would not exactly be considered a conspiracy theorist, he has put forth numerous claims about alleged secret symbolic readings of Kubrick's films that are widely regarded as tendentious. He argues that the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey is a symbol of the movie screen and that The Shining is really about the decline of the U.S. gold standard. Ager has received coverage in mainstream journals including Slate and Cracked.com, alternately being praised and dismissed.

Wikipedia reports: Wired.com was mixed in its reaction to Ager's first videos in 2007, saying, "Ager's analyses are a screwy mixture of intelligent film theory and zany conspiracy theories" by a "very intelligent and fascinating nutball."[15] It added that Ager had "oscillated wildly between extremely insightful commentary on the symbolism and psychology that made The Shining so effective and Ager's own wishful-thinking political wankery… an odd, fascinating mix… it's nutty, but despite Ager's weirdo conspiracy theories, he does make a convincing case that Kubrick may at least have shared his theories."[16]

Documentary on other theorists and parodies of them[edit]

A serious documentary on multiple readings of The Shining ranging from claims it is an allegory about the gold standard, Kubrick's breakdown while faking the Apollo landings, or the Native American Holocaust is Room 237Wikipedia, a 2012 documentary directed by Rodney Ascher distributed by IFC midnight. Most of the theories in the film have been dismissed by Kubrick's personal assistant, Leon Vitali, as "pure gibberish".[17]

Various videos have been placed online parodying those by the more earnest proponents of Kubrick conspiracy theories or analysts of hidden meanings in his films. Notable parody videos include Between The Shining and Lolita, 1921 Photograph Explained, Stanley Kubrick Chess Club #1 and Discovery in Stanley Kubrick's THE SHINING: THE SHONE REPORT


It is arguable that Kubrick's somewhat surreal films work so heavily on a subliminal and subconscious level that they lend themselves to this sort of interpretation.

The magazine Dangerous Minds observes of Rob Ager that "What Ager does posit is that Kubrick was working with a language of imagery that spoke directly to the subconscious and could be in contrast to the spoken words."[18]

The truthfulness of this observation of Ager's may explain why many of his less credible views and those of others have gained traction.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. That would mainly be Jay Weidner, occultist, conspiracy theorist and sometime film producer. He now runs Gaiam TV out of a reasonably well-equipped studio in Boulder, CO. His extravagant imagination would seem to have paid off.