Dark Side of the Moon: A Mockumentary on Stanley Kubrick and the Moon Landing Hoax

Poor moon-land­ing con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists. Lack­ing the his­tor­i­cal and cul­tur­al grav­i­tas of JFK assas­si­na­tion con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists or the brazen pseu­do-rel­e­vance of 9/11 con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists, those who believe the Apol­lo 11 mis­sion came out of a Hol­ly­wood back­lot must toil in deep­est obscu­ri­ty. Imag­ine suf­fer­ing from the aching con­vic­tion that the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment, in league with a respect­ed auteur or two, hood­winked the entire world with a few min­utes of blur­ry, ama­teur­ish video and gar­bled walkie-talkie speech — hood­winked the entire world except you, that is. Now imag­ine a Truther and a sec­ond-gun­man obses­sive shar­ing a laugh about all your impor­tant rev­e­la­tions. If indeed you do hold that mankind has nev­er vis­it­ed the moon, make sure you don’t watch usu­al­ly seri­ous doc­u­men­tar­i­an William Karel’s Dark Side of the Moon. In it, you’ll see your ideas fur­ther ridiculed, which would be unpleas­ant — or, even worse, you’ll see them vin­di­cat­ed.

These moon-land­ing con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists offer many alter­na­tive his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tives, and Karel picks a rich one. He pro­ceeds from the ques­tion of how, exact­ly, film­mak­er Stan­ley Kubrick came into pos­ses­sion of the advanced cam­era lens­es he used to shoot 1975’s can­dle-lit Bar­ry Lyn­don. Per­haps NASA, who had the lens­es in the first place, owed Kubrick for cer­tain ser­vices ren­dered six years ear­li­er? Cut­ting decon­tex­tu­al­ized file footage togeth­er with script­ed lines deliv­ered by actors, NASA staffers, and Kubrick­’s actu­al wid­ow, Karel tells an omi­nous­ly earnest sto­ry of how the CIA recruit­ed Kubrick and his 2001-test­ed cin­e­mat­ic crafts­man­ship to “win” the space race, at least on tele­vi­sion. Though lib­er­al­ly pep­pered with small false­hoods and inside jokes for film buffs, Dark Side of the Moon has nonethe­less inad­ver­tent­ly won its share of sin­cere adher­ents, includ­ing self-styled “Speak­er of Truth” Wayne Green. It’s been said many times, many ways: human­i­ty isn’t quite smart enough to effec­tive­ly con­spire, but we’re just smart enough to invent an infini­tude of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.

Find Karel’s Dark Side of the Moon housed in our col­lec­tion of 500 Free Movies Online.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Stan­ley Kubrick’s Very First Films: Three Short Doc­u­men­taries

Ter­ry Gilliam: The Dif­fer­ence Between Kubrick (Great Film­mak­er) and Spiel­berg (Less So)

The Best of NASA Space Shut­tle Videos (1981–2010)

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

by | Permalink | Comments (8) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (8)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Isn’t it pos­si­ble that we went to the Moon, came back and then shot the footage as to ensure the safe­ty of the astro­nauts and to keep the PR peo­ple con­tent that they could main­tain con­trol over the images?

  • Ian Wood says:

    Wayne Green is a Seek­er of Truth, not a “Speak­er” of Truth. It says so right on that pic­ture of him dressed up like a west­ern fron­tier sher­iff.

    “Speak­er” of Truth would just be weird.

  • ED says:

    some prob­lems with dis­cussing so-called “con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries” are:
    a) peo­ple who have been “conned” react emo­tion­al­ly and rea­son it out after­wards, sort of like vot­ing

    b) the debunkers are usu­al­ly just as con­vinced that they are employ­ing rea­son when in fact both sides are exceed­ing­ly faith-based

    c) debunkers deny the fact that con­spir­a­cies suc­ceed — adopt­ing this fal­la­cy whole­sale then pre­cludes the need to crit­i­cize ratio­nal­ly an indi­vid­ual the­o­ry

    d) the prob­lem with the moon hoax isn’t that con­spir­a­cies can­not suc­ceed — it’s that this par­tic­u­lar one would have to have suc­ceed­ed mul­ti­ple times. To espouse the the­o­ry you have to at least sug­gest a motive for the repeat­ed moon shots, not just for the first one.

  • Nicholas says:

    What on earth is “brazen pseu­do-rel­e­vance”?

    Let me under­stand this writer’s anal­o­gy: because we clear­ly did go to the moon, and some peo­ple think we did­n’t, and those peo­ple are called con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists, JFK was in fact shot by one gun­man and oh, by the way, the offi­cial sto­ry of 9/11 is com­plete­ly accu­rate.

    OK. Wait a minute. Yes. I see it now. Five fin­gers, O’Brien, five fin­gers!

    This faux doc­u­men­tary does not need log­i­cal­ly fal­la­cious expla­na­tion by weak minds. We get it, bub­ba. Just let us watch the dang thing with­out suf­fer­ing ad hominem attacks and spe­cious harangues! Open Cul­ture, for shame!

  • Hal says:

    The con­jec­ture of con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists are typ­i­cal­ly so out­ra­geous it makes me won­der if they con­spired to make these the­o­ries.
    The debunkers need to get a hob­by.

  • Jack says:

    Con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists are noth­ing more than the fol­low­ers of snake oil sales­men. There is and has nev­er been any proof to a con­spir­a­cy no mat­ter how you look at it. Com­mon sense dic­tates that there must be a shred of fac­tu­al, con­crete evi­dence for some­thing before it becomes truth. such as is the case with UFO’s and aliens and 9/11…

  • john.g says:

    Shal­low and stu­pid com­ment on doc­u­men­tary indeed.
    Where’s the proof for offi­cial ”truth” reports cov­ered by cor­po­ra­tive media run by zion­ists ? you poor, pro-zion the­o­rists.

  • Joseph L. says:

    Please repeat after me: Your gov­ern­ment always tells you the truth and will nev­er ever would lie to you.

    One more time –just to be sure.


    Your gov­ern­ment.

    Nixon, FDR, Clin­ton, George W, Oba­ma et al.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.