4 Insane Conspiracy Theories That Need Their Own Movie
There are two things Hollywood can do very, very well: milk an idea until it bleeds the last of its heartblood into the uncaring California sand, and all the cocaine. That's why it's so surprising that studio big shots have never really latched onto the more batshit end of the conspiracy theory sector. Sure, we've had the occasional JFK and From Hell, with their relatively sober shit-flinging antics, but despite all the other bullshit flying to and fro across studio executives' desks, the whole "weird-ass theories about famous mysteries" thing has never become a proper genre. This is a shame, because the Internet is chock-full of awesome and completely insane theories just waiting for someone -- and I trust we're beyond naming names at this point, Michael -- to cram them full of explosions and boobies.
Hey, here's an idea: Why don't we check out some of the more movie-worthy theories out there and see if movie makers will bite? Hell, even if these things would suck in movie form, it'd at least stop them from churning out horrible remakes of 1980s hits for a while.
"Spring-Heeled Jack Was the Victorian Batman"
At first glance, Spring-Heeled Jack seems like a classic case of a bloodthirsty villain who turns out to be little more than mass panic. For all we know, he might be that, or a large blue alien in a dollar store devil costume. We have no use for facts today -- we're here for the dirt, man.
The second most famous Jack on this list sprung (sorry) into existence in 1837, hand in hand with the Victorian era. A demonic figure clad in outlandish clothes and a dark, wing-like cape, Jack was a mysterious monster able to breathe blue fire and jump inhuman leaps. He became notorious for haunting travelers and particularly women, and over time he became something of an urban legend that is occasionally sighted even today. Jack has been theorized to be an extraterrestrial, a demonic entity, and everything in between.
Or, you know, he might just have been a Victorian superhero with a mischievous streak.
Said streak starting with his fashion sense.
Some authors suggest that Spring-Heeled Jack was a masked identity devised by Lord Henry Beresford, Marquess of Waterford, a notable rich playboy of the time. Beresford was an accomplished athlete, a spoiled brat, and a notorious prankster, already famous for coining the phrase "paint the town red" by literally painting a town red.
His first character was "Neck-Beard Jack," but women ran away before he had the chance to whip out the fire breath.
According to this theory, Beresford had an "unfavorable altercation" involving a police officer and a lady. For reasons that probably made sense to him at the time, this led to the perfectly logical decision to don a carnival costume and creep around in order to hassle both police and women. The blue fire was achieved with common fire-breathing techniques and a hefty dose of brandy (a substance I suspect played a large part in creating the character). The giant leaps were part spring-loaded shenanigans achieved by consulting his engineer friends, part athleticism, and a great big helping of the aforementioned mass panic and exaggerations by eyewitnesses.
So ... essentially, we have a costumed, crazy, rich playboy prowling the night, terrifying citizens with his skills and special equipment and playing ridiculous, cruel pranks just because he can? Holy shit, the dude was both Steampunk Batman and the Joker. Come on, Hollywood, it's right there! He even had access to a crew of gadgeteers, for fuck's sake. Really, all you need is a script and some giant-ass springs we can strap onto an American Psycho-mode Christian Bale and you can start ordering yachts for every day of the week, because you're about to make all the money.
Might want to look into redesigning the suit, though.
"Amelia Earhart Was Eaten by Coconut Crabs"
Aviatrix extraordinaire Amelia Earhart has been the subject of a big-budget movie before. Still, the theory we're about to look into could easily provide material for a whole sequel, although probably one where the lead role would need to be recast from Hilary Swank to, say, Linda Hamilton or Sigourney Weaver. Oh yeah, that's the kind of story this is going to be.
After her legendary flight across the Atlantic in 1932, Earhart was the toast of the entire country, until, in 1936, she up and disappeared over the Pacific Ocean during a 29,000-mile attempt to fly around the world. Since then, the final fate of Earhart's Lockheed Electra 10E has been the subject of much speculation, cannonballing her disappearance to the status of a legendary mystery, despite the fact that the whole thing is pretty much solved. They found parts of her skeleton on an island, where she had managed to save herself from what I'm going to go out on a limb and guess was an emergency landing in the ocean. The bones were later lost, but at least that's a plausible enough explanation.
Hey, did you notice that they only found her partial skeleton? Here's what some researchers think took the rest of it:
That, friends, is the coconut crab: the world's largest terrestrial arthropod, Cracked alumnus, and star of your nightmares tonight. They use their giant claws to open coconuts, can grow up to 3 feet across, and enjoy eating kittens, because of course they fucking do.
Oh, and they were all over the island Amelia Earhart ended up on. Can you guess where this is heading?
Large enough to crush your skull, small enough to live under your bed.
Some researchers suspect that the island's coconut crab population is responsible for dragging Earhart's bones to their burrows, where they presumably fashioned them into musical instruments with which they play their own extremely non-Disney version of "Under the Sea" at night. While this might not be too impressive from the point of view of a drugged-up Saw sequel-greenlighting studio executive, consider the situation: a heroic woman marooned on a small island populated by hordes of huge, flesh-eating monsters with coconut-crushing scissors for hands. Are they really going to wait until she kicks the bucket to try and have a bite? Did Earhart have to live out the plot of Aliens during her last remaining days? Did shit get all Pitch Black whenever it got dark? Did the crabs Voltronize into a massive mega-crab to match the mighty armor she had fashioned herself from their fallen comrades? We need to know, people, and only Hollywood can answer these pressing questions.
Oh, and even if we choose to take the boring route and believe that Earhart perished relatively peacefully, it could at least provide material for a post-credits scene to end all post-credits scenes. Chances are that the second she stopped moving, this happened.
(Note: That link contains a video of a pig carcass getting thoroughly obliterated by a bunch of crabs, so click only if you're in a suitable environment and/or really into that sort of thi- oh, goddammit, there you go. Don't say I didn't warn you.)
"Stephen King Shot John Lennon"
Although John Lennon's murder on December 8, 1980 was one of the most straightforward "shot by a crazy fan" situations in the history of straightforward crazy fan murder cases, it still attracts its share of conspiracy theories by sole virtue of a celebrity winding up dead. Some say it was a two-man job, and an innocent man was convicted. Others claim Mark David Chapman was the killer, but was hypnotized to do the deed by the book The Catcher in the Rye. But the true connoisseurs of ball-slappingly stupid conspiracy brain-poops know who really pulled the trigger:
Stephen King ...
... who was working with Ronald Reagan ...
... and Richard Nixon.
Wait, wh- oh, never mind. That there's the face of a man that could totally shank a motherfucker.
Yes, according to a particularly inspired conspiracy enthusiast (who I'm specifically not calling a loon, for loons are a fine folk and I have no wish to offend them), horror luminary Stephen King got his start in the success game by acting as a CIA assassin for the Gipper and Tricky Dick, who sent him messages in the headlines of TIME magazine and Newsweek. This seems a little like overkill for busting a cap in an ex-Beatle, but I fully admit my (relative) ignorance re: hashing complex governmental revenge schemes. Still, if the powers that be are that prepared to rain doom on pop singers with funny glasses and obnoxious opinions, how come Bono's still out there?
There's no need to describe the plot of the film this would make -- chances are it's playing behind your eyelids right now. This is The Manchurian Candidate meets Michael Mann shit right here, with maybe a dash of Secret Window thrown in to evoke the central Maine writer character properly. Hell, I'm so busy thinking about all the potential of this movie, I can't even begin to imagine the optimal cast (ball's in your court, comment section). Really, the only thing standing between this idea and greatness is probably Mr. King himself, who has been confronted by the man behind this theory on several occasions, yet refuses to comment no matter how many "YOU PULLED THE TRIGGER, STEVE! RAAAAHHHH!" signs he's waving at him. What's up with that, anyway? Could it be because he has something to hide? After all, he has used the "writer who winds up killin'" character in several of his works.
Well, maybe it's that. Or maybe it's the fact that the dude who keeps screaming this bullshit to everyone who listens not only used to more or less actively stalk King, but did so while driving a van that looks like this:
"And #2 on our list of Cars Stephen King Should Probably Avoid is ..."
"Jack the Ripper Was an International Supervillain"
Jack the Ripper.
Jack the fucking Ripper.
The most high-profile serial killer in the Western world. The one that got away, the murder machine who managed to keep his identity hidden from conclusive proof, despite the fact that he was and remains pretty much the most investigated non-war criminal in history.
A large part of his success is the fact that he quit while he was ahead -- five victims, and that was it. Stab-stab-stab-stab-stab-retire. That's one of the weirdest things about the case. As anyone who has watched crime dramas can attest, it's actually pretty rare for a serial killer to just stop doing their thing; they usually keep going until they're caught. That's why many people assume that the Ripper either was on a mission with specific targets (the various "royal conspiracy" theories) or had something incapacitating happen to him, thus ending the killings.
But what if it's all wrong? What if Jack the Ripper never stopped?
No, I'm not talking about ghost Jack the Ripper, or superpowered Jack the Ripper, or even space Jack the Ripper -- those have all been done before. I'm talking about merchant seaman Jack the Ripper: a global menace that has women in every harbor. And a number of very confused detectives. Because those women are dead.
According to former murder squad detective and expert Ripperologist Trevor Marriott, it seems likely that Jack the Ripper's true identity was Carl Feigenbaum, a German sailor and convicted killer who was in London during the Whitechapel murders. His boat left soon after Mary Kelly, the final "official" Ripper victim, was murdered, which in itself wouldn't be much in the way of proof if it wasn't for the fact that extremely similar murders kept happening in countries as diverse as Nicaragua, Germany, and, as it happens, right back in Whitechapel. Many of those murders matched Jack the Ripper's modus operandi, and an awful lot of them seem to have occurred while Feigenbaum's boat was in the harbor. The Nicaraguan murders -- six women in Managua, the capital city -- were even labeled "some of the most horrible crimes the city has ever seen," in a similar fashion to the Ripper-London dynamic.
Oh, and there's also the fact that Feigenbaum was caught and eventually executed for a distinctly "Ripper-like" murder in New York, a few years after the Whitechapel killings.
"Uh ... Parlay?"
Although he does seem like an awfully suitable candidate, I'm not outright claiming that Feigenbaum is the true Jack the Ripper. Neither is Marriott, actually; he fully admits he's just analyzing old evidence and determining the most likely suspect from his point of view. Still, think of the potential of the story -- Jack the Ripper, sailing from harbor to harbor, creating a horrifying reputation in each and moving on like it ain't no thing. Every new city would see new challenges, new police officers foolishly attempting to hunt him down. One of them would be played by Sean Bean, complete with all the inevitable hilarity that ensues. They'd try to stop Feigenbaum from following his true calling, but he'd show them. He'd show them all!
Wait, shit. I'm making Jack the Ripper a protagonist here, aren't I?
Pauli Poisuo will not be selling film rights to his story until the statute of limitations expires. Follow him on Twitter.