Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is one of the scariest horror films of all time. The story of the film revolves around Overlook Hotel where a struggling writer descends into madness over the course of the winter but apart from the performances and the plot progression of the film, another notable factor that has kept conspiracy theorists interested in the film is their belief that this was Kubrick’s way of confessing that he shot Apollo 11’s landing on the moon.
The conspiracy theory begins with Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey that released just one year before America claimed that they had landed their first manned mission on the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
Various documentaries have pointed out inconsistencies in the video that has since become a historic moment for the world where two astronauts step out of Apollo 11. Questions like ‘Who shot the event from outside the capsule?,’ ‘How is the American flag waving?,’ ‘Why do the shadows look like they are the result of multiple light sources?,’ ‘Why is the letter C visible on one of the rocks? (which looks like a prop on a film set)’ have all kept conspiracy theorists interested for decades.
And with The Shining, they believed they got their answers. Since Stanley Kubrick had already shot 2001: A Space Odyssey, it was believed that he was hired by the American government to shoot the ‘fake landing’.
But how does The Shining come in the picture?
Conspiracy theorists believe that there are multiple clues in the Jack Nicholson starrer that point to the fact that Kubrick shot the moon landing and this was his way of confessing it. In the 2012 documentary Room 237, these clues were deeply examined by Jay Weidner.
The Overlook Hotel
In the beginning of the film, we are told that Overlook Hotel stands on an Indian burial ground. The manager who meets with Jack has an American flag on his table with an eagle looking over them. This is taken as a nod to the ‘Eagle’ which was the name of lunar landing module that carried Apollo 11. It is also assumed that Overlook Hotel represents America with its long brutal history.
The dead twins
The Shining is based on a book by Stephen King but Kubrick changed a lot of details when he made the movie and one of those elements is the appearance of the dead twins. In the book, there was a single child but it is believed that Kubrick used the twins to signify the failed Gemini mission by NASA.
In a shot taken from above, we see Danny playing in the corridor on a patterned carpet. Conspiracy theorists believe that it looks strikingly similar to the Appollo 11 launch pad.
Danny eventually rises up from the carpet and he is seen wearing a sweater with a rocket with the text Apollo 11. This is seen as the big clue that Kubrick is indeed talking about his involvement with the ‘fake moon landing’ project.
As Danny rises up with from the carpet (seen as launch pad) wearing his sweater (Apollo 11), he enters the dreaded Room 237. In the book, the room number was 217 but it is widely believed that Kubrick changed it to 237 as the distance between the Earth and the moon is roughly 237,000 miles.
In a spine-chilling scene, the audience, along with Jack’s wife, discovers that all his writing comprises of one sentence written over and over again – ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. While it’s kind of a long shot, conspiracy theorists believe that the ‘All’ actually signifies ‘A11’ i.e. Apollo 11.
The conspiracy theories around the moon landing started as soon as America announced its success. This was also a big win for them as USSR was winning the space race during the Cold War. John F Kennedy had announced in 1962 that they would put a man on the moon before the end of the decade and many see this as a strategy for saving face in the space war.
With the 1977 film Capricorn One, the conspiracy theory got more steam as the plot of the film revolved around the government deceiving the American public into believing that they had landed a manned mission on Mars.
There are plenty of conspiracy theories that point to the fact that Kubrick confessed through The Shining that he was indeed involved in the big government hoax.
Theories of Kubrick being the director of moon landing started soon after the success of the mission so there is a big possibility that he was just messing with the audience by planting elements of Apollo 11.