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Film

Five clues in 'The Shining' that suggest Stanley Kubrick faked the moon landings

It’s no secret that Stanley Kubrick was one of the most enigmatic directors in the history of cinema, taking an extensive amount of time to craft his masterpieces with meticulous precision. Owning a sparkling filmography that includes the likes of Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange and Eyes Wide Shut, so mysterious and passionate was the director that he’s even been cited as having a hand in the popular conspiracy theory that suggests the director helped the US government fake the moon landings.

In the elaborate landscape of conspiracy theories, this one has a surprising amount of grounds for legitimacy, with Stanley Kubrick’s film, The Shining, sprinkled with nods to the iconic event. Released over ten years after America landed on the moon, Kubrick’s film is a mysterious supernatural horror starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall that tells the story of a man’s descent into madness.

Adapted from the novel by Stephen King, Kubrick’s film has often been cited as his most bizarre and inexplicable, despite the director himself explaining the ending in a rare interview with filmmaker Jun’ichi Yao. Asked to explain the film’s climax, Kubrick states, “It’s supposed to suggest a kind of evil reincarnation cycle, where he [Jack] is part of the hotel’s history, just as in the men’s room, he’s talking to the former caretaker [Grady], the ghost of the former caretaker, who says to him, ‘you are the caretaker; you’ve always been the caretaker, I should know I’ve always been here’”. 

Though, many believe that the film is really an elaborate nod to audiences that suggest Kubrick may have indeed been involved in the faking of the moon landings. Let’s take a look at five of the film’s biggest clues. 

Did Stanley Kubrick fake the moon landings?

The office of the Overlook Hotel

Situated in the beautiful Colorado Rockies, the Overlook Hotel is a grand, intimidating building towering over the valley that has mysteriously been engulfed by a surreal evil presence that haunts its inhabitants. 

At the start of the film, Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance meets with the manager of the hotel who is entrusting the protagonist with the building over the winter. Meeting in an ornate office, the room contains several neatly arranged items, including a small American flag on the desk and a statue of an eagle looking over them at the window. Theorists believe this eagle nods to the name of the lunar landing module that allegedly carried Apollo 11 that is also called ‘eagle’. 

The Overlook Hotel, Colorado. (Credit: Alamy)

The Grady twins

Famously unhappy with the final film, the author of the original novel, Stephen King, believed that the film was changed too much from the novel, containing little of the same character motivations and heart. 

Just one of these changes was to make the ghostly Grady girl from King’s original book, into twins, with the image of the duo standing at the end of the hotel hall having since become an iconic shot of horror cinema. Conspiracy theorists believe that Kubrick made this change to signify the failed Gemini mission by NASA, with both characters acting as ghostly reminders of wrongdoing. 

Lisa and Louise Burns in a scene from The Shining. (Credit: Alamy)

The hotel carpet 

Now repurposed as a piece of movie memorabilia to be plastered on the back of wallets and novelty picture frames, the orange and maroon carpet of the Overlook hotel has to be the most iconic furnishings in all of cinema.

A peculiar design that is given a lot of screen time, we see the carpet throughout the film, particularly when we see Danny, Torrance’s son, playing with toys in the corridor. Shot from above to appreciate all its hypnotic glory, the strange pattern looks remarkably similar to the birds-eye-view of the Apollo 11 launchpad, mimicking its sharp edges and unusual shape. 

Danny Torrance and the iconic Overlook Hotel carpet. (Credit: Alamy)

Danny’s jumper

By far the most obvious inclusion on this list, in one extended sequence of the film when Danny enters the dreaded room 237, the young boy is seen wearing a knitted jumper that reads ‘Apollo 11, USA’. 

An obvious reference to the famous space flight that took place in 1969, it is certainly a peculiar choice of clothing for Stanley Kubrick to pick. Considering the director’s meticulous control over his film sets, this choice from Kubrick was most definitely made on purpose, which fuels the theories of conspiracy fans who believe this may be the strongest piece of evidence to suggest the director’s involvement. 

Danny Torrance with the Apollo 11 jumper in The Shining. (Credit: Alamy)

Room 237

One of the strangest and most unnecessary changes that Stanley Kubrick made from Stephen King’s book was to change the number of the terrifying Room 217 in the novel, to 237 in the film. 

A strange choice that has no impact at all on the film or the story, it is believed by theorists that Stanley Kubrick changed the number to reflect the 237,000 miles that separate Earth from the moon. Entering the room in his neat Apollo 11 jumper, Danny quickly exits covered in mysterious scratches and bruises with his cosmic jumper torn at the shoulder, alluding to the mission itself failing to reach its fateful destination 237,000 miles away. 

(Credit: YouTube still)