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.

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Comments (8)
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  • 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.

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