The first time I was exposed to a conspiracy theory was in 1977 when I saw the film CAPRICORN ONE. The story concerned a staged NASA spaceship landing on Mars. While I was never too concerned over the whole idea that the American moon landing was a sham, I did find it a great idea for a story. But I never knew just how many documentaries about it existed, as well as many other theories, until reading CONSPIRACY CINEMA, the latest title from the UK’s Headpress Books.
Author David Ray Carter defines Conspiracy Cinema as “…films by amateur filmmakers that are used to promote a specific viewpoint on a popular conspiracy theory.” These “films” are usually shot-on-video projects, made to be watched on popular websites like YouTube, although many of them are originally released on DVD (and before that, VHS). Carter has sat through countless hours of conspiracy films, and here provides a neatly-organized look at the best, worst, and most unusual titles dedicated to each theory.
The opening section on 9/11 films is nothing short of incredible: while many have seen the popular documentary LOOSE CHANGE (one of several films to claim the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks were the work of the U.S. government and/or the New World Order), some of the other titles caused me to flat out laugh (2001: THE YEAR WE MADE CONTACT (2010) is really off its rocker) while others seem to bring up some solid, arguable points (such as 2005’s EVERYBODY’S GOT TO LEARN SOMETIME). Carter admits that many of these 9/11 films borrow footage from each other and can become tedious; thankfully he has sifted through them all and gives you URLs to the websites of the better offerings, where readers can watch and make up their own minds.
I never realized how much stuff was available about the July 7, 2005 London Bombings, so much that conspiracy fans call it “7/7,” as regularly as the average Joe uses the term “9/11.” And like the 9/11 films, the London Bombing films offer everything from government to supernatural conspiracies. Carter then takes a look at the Kennedy assassination films (including Oliver Stone’s 1991 fictional account), Martin Luther King Jr., Princess Diana, the Oklahoma City Bombing, Waco, and much more. Each section gives The Facts, then The Official Version, and finally, The Conspiracy Theories of each subject, before delivering non-biased, encyclopedia-type reviews of the films.
CONSPIRACY CINEMA’s second section, dealing with the Illuminati and the New World Order, is quite informative for anyone who has ever wondered what the differences (or similarities) of these groups are. The amount of documentaries available on both topics is staggering, and like the first section, Carter has done a fine job in narrowing down the more interesting titles.
The book finishes with Lesser Conspiracies, with everything from HIV/AIDS, airplane chemtrails and health issues all covered in documentaries, many of which run for as long as 4 hours.
After watching many paranoid religious end-times and “mark of the beast” documentaries in the 1990s, I was happy to see someone take a look at those—as well as the aforementioned titles—from an unbiased viewpoint, even when describing some of the colorful characters responsible for creating these films.
Make sure to keep a pen on hand: you’ll be wanting to see some of these films as soon as you finish the book. For a book that’s under 300 pages, it’s safe to say CONSPIRACY CINEMA will be the definitive tome on this bizarre subgenre for a long time to come. Highly engrossing stuff.
© Copyright 2012 by Nick Cato
(Author’s note: a word of warning: some of the films covered in this book are blatantly racist)