The Illuminati controls the world from the shadows. Atrazine turns the frogs gay. Paul McCartney passed away in 1966 and was replaced by a doppelganger. There’s a wide variety of conspiracy theories out there, and some of them are truly wild. And while many of these stories are interesting and entertaining, there are actually people out there who are convinced that they’re real.
You can find conspiracy theories in the darker corners of politics, science, culture, and entertainment. The world of cinema is no different. Throughout the years, wacky stories about notable films and actors have emerged and garnered an army of believers. With this in mind, here are some that are particularly fascinating, even if their accuracy is questionable.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind was Funded by a Government UFO Agency
Since its original release in 1977, Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi masterpiece has been the subject of much speculation among UFO buffs. Some theorists believe the movie was produced by a government agency to help humanity prepare for the arrival of visitors from another planet. When you also consider that then-President Jimmy Carter was interested in UFOs, the theory isn’t entirely far-fetched.
On top of that, the Project Serpo conspiracy theory, which can be traced back to 1965, boasts similarities to the movie. According to the story, there was an exchange program between the US military and a race of aliens from the Zeta Reticuli star system. Even though the story didn’t become public knowledge until 2005, some members of the UFO conspiracy community believe that Spielberg had knowledge of it when making Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
NASA wasn’t happy with the movie, though. They wrote Spielberg a 20-page letter calling the movie dangerous, so it’s highly unlikely that they funded the film.
Keanu Reeves Is Immortal
Despite being a working actor of 35 years at the time of writing, Reeves has barely aged a day since he first appeared on our screens. He’s 54-years-old but he barely looks a day over 20. The actor either uses some fantastic anti-aging cream or he’s an immortal being who’s been around for centuries. Some folks genuinely believe the latter.
The website Keanu Reeves Is Immortal argues that Reeves has appeared in several iterations throughout the years, the first of which was the medieval emperor Charlemagne, who supposedly passed away in 814 AD. Afterward, he adopted the moniker of Paul Mounet, a 19th-century doctor-turned-actor whose body was never found. These are only his “confirmed” identities.
The theory also proposes that Reeves’ well-noted kindness is the result of his long existence. By living an everlasting life, he’s learned to become generous and nice toward his fellow citizens of the world.
Max Schreck was a Vampire
The movie Shadow of the Vampire tells the story of director F.W. Murnau’s struggle to make Nosferatu. In the film, he’s obsessed with creating the most authentic horror movie ever, so he casts a real vampire to play the bloodsucker. Shadow of the Vampire is a biopic that adds horror elements to great effect, but the film’s supernatural parts do have some basis in reality.
In his 1953 book Le surréalisme au cinéma, author Ado Kyrou birthed an urban legend by proposing that Schreck, who played Orlok in the original Nosferatu, was a vampire. The actor lived a very private life, and Kyrou believed that the man behind the make-up was actually a monster.
These days, we know all about Schreck’s career. Back in 1953, however, access to information wasn’t as readily available as it is now. The theory is very silly, but once upon a time, enough people believed this rumor to lend it some credence.
Sinbad Starred in a Genie Movie
Last year, a post appeared on Reddit which discussed a ’90s movie called Shazaam. In the movie, the comedian Sinbad plays a goofy genie who grants wishes to young children. But here’s the thing: the movie doesn’t exist.
False memories are common among individuals, but this movie has been “seen” by others. As noted by the New Statesman, some of those viewers even recall the movie scene-by-scene. One of the subjects interviewed was a video store employee when he saw it, and he vividly remembers customers renting the movie and returning it.
Sinbad has no recollection of making the movie and has stated that it doesn’t exist. Psychologists have stated that the film is an example of the Mandela Effect, the informal term for collective false memory. Conspiracy theorists, meanwhile, believe that the movie is out there somewhere and being kept hidden from us.
Stanley Kubrick Helped Stage the Moon Landings
There’s certainly no shortage of conspiracy theories out there which argue that the Apollo Moon landings were fake. However, the longstanding rumor that Stanley Kubrick was recruited by NASA to direct the first three is as credible as any of them. If anyone could create convincing footage of people stepping foot on the Moon’s surface, it was the director of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
According to the conspiracy theorists, Kubrick shot the footage in a Hollywood studio using a technique known as front screen projection. The technique, which 2001 pioneered, projects pre-filmed footage over the onscreen performers and onto a reflective surface. Additionally, Kubrick worked with NASA representatives on 2001 and later used special lenses provided by the organization when filming Barry Lyndon. The association with the space agency was certainly there.
Furthermore, in December 2015, an old video surfaced which depicted a Kubrick lookalike confessing that the landings were staged. Many people believe that the interview is real, though, and to this day Kubrick’s alleged involvement in the hoax is a debated subject in conspiracy circles.