Once you’ve enjoyed a horror movie for its surface scares, inquisitive aficionados want to know more, delving into a film’s symbolism and subtext on a quest for deeper answers. Filmmakers can be tricksters, often burying messages and parallels only the truly adept can decipher. On the other hand, some fan theories are absolutely ridiculous—like the idea Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is a confession that the director faked the Moon landings.
Somewhere at the intersection of insight and madness come fan theories that are both shocking and plausible, giving us an entirely new way to look at our favorite films. The folks at Grunge have assembled a list of 8 film theories that are legitimately creepy and objectively sound. Have a watch; it may forever change the way you think about Donnie Darko, Home Alone, The Mist, The Blair Witch Project, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Signs, Drag Me to Hell, and IT.
Have a watch and let us know what you think in the Comments section! Which of these theories do you find most compelling? Have you heard any other shocking theories that make horror movies even more terrifying? Let’s discuss.
If you can’t stream, the 8 theories are briefly summarized below the video. Enjoy!
Warning: Below There Be Spoilers!
Official Synopsis: There’s nothing better than a good horror movie. But it’s easy to get so distracted by the blood and guts that you don’t really take the time to analyze what might have been going on in the filmmaker’s head. Fortunately, there are plenty of people on the internet who do exactly that sort of thing, and they’ve come up with some wild ideas that make some of our favorite horror movies even scarier…
Donnie Darko (2001, Directed by Richard Kelly): Forget tangent universes, living vessels, and relics; some have theorized that Donnie Darko is a condemnation of drunk driving. Internet detectives have noted that the Halloween carnival is sponsored by M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Driving Drunk), and (of course) Frank kills Gretchen while on a beer run. When asked, director Ricard Kelly didn’t disavow the theory, explaining he’s long considered himself an activist against intoxicated driving.
Home Alone (1990, Directed by Chris Columbus): There’s a fan theory that Home Alone is an origin story for the Saw Franchise. Proponents point out that Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) has some anger issues and loves creating traps for unsuspecting targets to trigger themselves. Then there’s the “furnace monster” in Home Alone that bears a strong resemblance to a future Saw traps. Folks can imagine young Kevin growing up to become The Jigsaw Killer (played in the Saw franchise by Tobin Bell)—heck, they even look alike!
The Mist (2007, Directed by Frank Darabont): Some argue that the execution of David Drayton’s son needed to happen in order for the mist to recede. They point out that Mrs. Carmody demanded the boy’s execution, claiming it would bring an end to God’s wrath. By coincidence or design, the global threat evaporated almost the instant the boy died.
The Blair Witch Project (1999, Directed by Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick): Some have theorized the reason the trio in the original Blair Witch Project couldn’t find their way out of the woods is that they were stuck in a time loop. This theory was bolstered when 2016’s sequel, Blair Witch, used time loops and other metaphysical elements blatantly. Fans also point to the pseudo-documentary created by the Syfy channel, Curse of the Blair Witch, as proof of this hypothesis.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971, Directed by Mel Stuart): Many have posed the idea that the titular Chocolate Factory is nothing of the sort—it’s Hell. The describe the terrifying boat ride as a trip across the River Styx and not that each child’s dispatching corresponds to his/her specific sins. This can also be seen as a parallel for Dante’s Inferno.
Signs (2002, Directed by M. Night Shyamalan): M. Night Shyamalan’s alien invasion shocker is actually about demons; so say many ardent film theorists who have explored the film ad nauseum. Wouldn’t aliens be smart enough to avoid a planet covered with water—the one thing that can kill them? This would also explain why we never see any alien technology, and the entities are naked.
Drag Me to Hell (2009, Directed by Sam Raimi): According to some, Drag Me to Hell is about a woman suffering with an eating disorder. Christine (played by Alison Lohman) mentions she was overweight as a child, and many of the trials she endures suggest an aversion to eating. Throughout the film, all kinds of disgusting things enter her mouth, from insects to vomit and even corpse-goo. Also, pay attention: Christine never actually eats anything, even while others around her dine.
IT (2017, Directed by Andy Muschietti): Pennywise is Bob from Twin Peaks if you believe the theory posed by some ardent film theorists. Pennywise’s “real name” is Robert (Bob) Gray, and both fiends are interdimensional travelers. Could The Black Lodge and The Macroverse be the same place? Finally, both villains feed on pain and suffering.
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