Top 20 Darkest Movie Theories

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
These theories will make you stop and think. For this list, we're looking at the darkest and most depraved movie theories on the internet and ranking them based on how well each of them works - however twisted they may be. Our countdown includes "Titanic", "Toy Story 3", "Pulp Fiction", "The Dark Knight", “The Incredibles”, and more!

top 20 Darkest Movie Theories

Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 20 Darkest Movie Theories.

For this list, we’re looking at the darkest and most depraved movie theories on the internet and ranking them based on how well each of them works - however twisted they may be.

#20: Rose Imagined Jack to Cope with Her Depression

“Titanic” (1997)
There are a lot of theories circling the web regarding “Titanic,” but none are likely as dark as the theory that Rose imagined Jack to cope with her depression. After all, the first time Jack and Rose meet, she is deeply unhappy with her life. Perhaps she imagined this beautiful and charming man to cope with her misery and abusive fiancé. This would also explain why there are no records of Jack – he simply doesn’t exist. Some people also believe that Jack is a time-traveler from the future, and while a case could be made for that, it isn’t quite as dark as “depressed woman imagines a charming man to save her from herself”.

#19: Kevin McCallister Grows Up to Be Jigsaw

“Home Alone” franchise (1990-) / “Saw” franchise (2004-)
As you all know, the first two “Home Alone” movies concern Kevin setting traps against a couple of stupid criminals. But doesn’t he seem to have a little too much fun in torturing and causing these men extreme pain? According to some, Kevin never grew out of his need to create elaborate, sadistic traps, changed his name to John Kramer (perhaps after serving some time?), and later became the Jigsaw Killer to satisfy his psychotic need to torture people. OK, the timeline doesn’t really add up, as Kevin is eight in 1990 while Jigsaw is in his fifties come the early 2000s, but just ignore that and go with it.

#18: The Ghostbusters Died When They Crossed the Streams

“Ghostbusters” (1984) & “Ghostbusters II” (1989)

It’s made very clear by Egon that crossing the proton pack streams is catastrophic. Yet at the end of the movie, the Ghostbusters intentionally cross their streams to destroy the dimensional gate. Some fans posit that the Ghostbusters died, and that “Ghostbusters II” takes place in purgatory. This would explain the repetition of the first movie’s plot, the Ghostbusters’ bad reputation, and why no one believes in the supernatural, despite the events of the first movie. Finally, “Ghostbusters II” ends with a chorus of Auld Lang Syne, a song often sung at funerals, and a painting of heavenly Ghostbusters. Both could signify that the Ghostbusters are finally moving on, having completed their mission in purgatory.

#17: The Joker Is a Disgruntled Ex-Soldier

“The Dark Knight” (2008)
This one isn’t so much dark as it is just sad and scary. According to one popular theory, the Joker is a war veteran who has gone psychotic. There are numerous traits to his character that seem to support this, including his weapons knowledge, his physical fighting skills, his tactical know-how, and his ability to perfectly perform the funeral ritual. A few of his quotes also suggest military experience, including, “Never start with the head, the victim gets all fuzzy,” and resentment, like “when a truckload of soldiers will be blown up… nobody panics.” The Joker is clearly psychotic, but he could also be a very pained and traumatized man.

#16: Donny Died in Vietnam

“The Big Lebowski” (1998)
One of the most popular aspects of “The Big Lebowski” is the friendly-yet-hateful relationship between Walter and Donny. However, some fans believe that Donny doesn’t actually exist. You see, Donny is actually an old friend of Walter’s who died fighting alongside him in Vietnam. The reason Walter is always telling Donny to shut up is because he knows Donny isn’t real and he’s trying to get a grip on reality. This also explains why people barely address Donny. When the nihilists attack Walter, he is reminded of his time in Vietnam and confronts the memory of Donny’s death, allowing him to release both his guilt and the memory of Donny, signified by Donny’s heart attack.

#15: The Briefcase Contains Marsellus Wallace’s Soul

“Pulp Fiction” (1994)
The mysterious briefcase is a classic example of a MacGuffin. It drives the plot, but understanding it is ultimately inconsequential. Theories abound, but some have gone so far as to suggest that it contains the very soul of Marsellus Wallace. According to the theory, the Devil took Marsellus’ soul from the back of his neck, hence the weird neck Band-Aid. The code to the briefcase is also 666, suggesting Marsellus’ deal with the Devil. Another thing to note is the orange glow that flashes upon Brett’s death, which is perhaps indicative of his soul leaving his body. Is orange the color of our souls, and is Marsellus’s contained within that briefcase?

#14: “Aladdin” Is Set in a Dystopian Future

“Aladdin” (1992)
Some Disney fans seemingly have a thing for the post-apocalypse. According to them, “Cars” takes place in a distant future where humans have gone extinct, and “Aladdin” takes place thousands of years from now in a dystopian social reality. Why? Well, the Genie states that Aladdin’s outfit is “so third century,” and he does various impressions of modern celebrities like Jack Nicholson, indicating that he was around between the 3rd and 20th centuries. But he also states that he has been imprisoned for 10,000 years, which means “Aladdin” could take place around the year 12,000, when humanity has been ruined by a catastrophe that decimated modern technology and lifestyles.

#13: The Entirety of “Grease” Is Sandy’s Death Fantasy

“Grease” (1978)
Charming, nostalgic, musical, or elaborate death fantasy? You be the judge. Because you all secretly know every word to “Summer Nights”, you all know Danny’s line, “I saved her life. She nearly drowned.” But what if he didn’t? According to the theory, Sandy DID drown, and the entire movie is a wish-fulfilling fantasy that Sandy’s brain plays out as she dies. This certainly helps to explain the weird ending where Danny and Sandy fly away in the car, which can be interpreted as Sandy’s final ascent into the afterlife. For those who’ve always wondered what the deal was with that scene… you’ve got a possible explanation - just not a very happy one.

#12: It’s All in Bond’s Head

“Spectre” (2015)
James Bond meets a worthy (and old) adversary in “Spectre.” After being directed to Blofeld’s base, Blofeld tortures Bond with a brain drill. Bond then escapes with the help of a too-perfectly-timed Madeleine, defeats Blofeld, and destroys his base in a video game-y fashion. Or does he? Perhaps the ridiculous escape and subsequent third act are simply visions Bond has while he dies from Blofeld’s brain drill. This theory borrows heavily from Terry Gilliam’s brilliant “Brazil,” where the tortured character envisions his rescue and subsequent heroics. So . . . does that mean that the rest of the series will be James Bond’s adventures in the afterlife?

#11: Josh Killed Heather & Mike

“The Blair Witch Project” (1999)
The ending to “The Blair Witch Project” is already dark, but this theory makes it even darker. Midway through the movie, Josh goes missing, and Heather discovers a bundle of sticks containing bloody clothes and teeth. However, Josh’s body is never found, and Heather and Mike continue to hear him screaming, indicating that he is still alive. At the end of the movie, both Heather and Mike are seemingly killed by the Blair Witch. However, it very well could have been Josh who murdered the students, either through possession or of his own free will. The lack of answers is precisely what makes this movie so divisive - inviting this sort of dark “what if?” interpretation.

#10: Michael Becomes Travis Bickle

“The Deer Hunter” (1978) & “Taxi Driver” (1976)
Robert De Niro played two of the most iconic movie characters of the ‘70s –Mike Vronsky, a Pennsylvania veteran dealing with the fallout of his (and his friends’) tour in the Vietnam War; and the unhinged taxi driver Travis Bickle, another ‘Nam vet. While ‘Nam was obviously a topical subject for films back in the ‘70s, the relationship between these two characters could be much deeper. “The Deer Hunter” ends in 1975 when Mike buries his friend Nick. “Taxi Driver” takes place the following year, with the troubled Travis unable to sleep. Perhaps Mike changed his name and moved to New York City in a futile attempt to shed his old life and inner demons?

#9: Peter Pan Is the Angel of Death

“Peter Pan” (1953)
Well, so much for this whimsical children’s tale. There are numerous theories regarding Disney’s “Peter Pan,” and a lot of them boil down to Peter Pan being a childish Grim Reaper and Neverland being the afterlife. One theory posits that Wendy dies of leukemia and Peter guides her to the afterlife, AKA Neverland, where many of Wendy’s real-life acquaintances are cartoonishly exaggerated. Another theory posits that Wendy, John, and Michael all died, were transported to the afterlife by Peter, and met more dead children, AKA the Lost Boys. Why do you think they never grow up? Well… if you died in childhood, you literally can’t.

#8: Bruce Wayne Died in the Nuclear Explosion

“The Dark Knight Rises” (2012)
Many fans had issues with “The Dark Knight Rises,” including the overly-dramatic ending which sees Batman hauling a nuclear bomb out of Gotham. While many rightfully assume that Batman is dead, having sacrificed himself for Gotham, Alfred later spots the very-much-alive Bruce and Selina while vacationing in Italy. Now what are the odds of that? Some people believe it was simply a figment of Alfred’s imagination. Bruce really did die in the nuclear explosion, and the grieving Alfred traveled to Florence to alleviate his sorrow. He then wills himself to imagine the happy couple and finally lets go of his grief, happy at the thought of Bruce’s contentment.

#7: “Toy Story 3” Is About the Holocaust

“Toy Story 3” (2010)
We all know that “Toy Story 3” is the saddest movie ever, but this theory does the seemingly impossible… by making it even sadder. To begin with, the toys are left behind, similar to the Jewish people in Germany during the Third Reich. They then discuss what happened and what to do in a scene very similar to “The Pianist,” and Buzz suggests going to the attic like Anne Frank. They are then transported in a box (like a train) to a daycare full of undesired toys (like a concentration camp). Here they are mistreated and eventually sent to an incinerator. We’re not sure if this was intended or not, but the parallels are heartbreaking.

#6: Ferris Bueller is a Figment of Cameron’s Imagination

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986)
Speaking of imagination, there’s a widely-held belief that the events of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” take place entirely inside the head of the bed-ridden Cameron.This is also known as the “Fight Club” Theory due to its similarities with that movie’s plot. It posits that Ferris is a symbolic representation of Cameron’s wish to be more confident and daring. While laying in bed, he imagines his confident alter-ego joyriding in a fancy car, cozying up to his sexy girlfriend, and just generally enjoying a carefree existence. It could also be a meditative method Cameron uses to assert more control over his life, symbolized by the destruction of his controlling father’s car.

#5: Totoro Is the God of Death

“My Neighbor Totoro” (1988)
This Miyazaki masterpiece is about two girls who move into an old house after their mother becomes ill, and then befriend a forest entity they name Totoro. But who, or what, is this creature? Could it be . . . the God of Death? According to legend, only people who have died or are close to death can see the God of Death. And near the movie’s beginning, the girls see soot sprites, rumored to represent impending death in Japanese folklore. As the theory goes, Mei actually drowns in the pond and Satsuki cannot bear the pain of this loss. They then posthumously visit their dying mother with the help of Totoro, and she feels their presence. Shudder.

#4: Edna Purposefully Gave Syndrome a Cape

“The Incredibles” (2004)

Was Edna scheming all along? She makes it painfully clear that she does not give superheroes capes, as previous superheroes have struggled and died due to them. Yet Syndrome’s superhero outfit comes equipped with one. Yes, it’s entirely possible that Syndrome designed and created the suit himself; but did he go to Edna for help knowing that she was the go-to creator of top-of-the-line superhero suits, and could therefore make a better suit than he ever could? And did Edna outfit his suit with a cape, knowing that it would hinder his plans? Perhaps she even hoped for it to get caught in a jet turbine, just as Stratogale’s did.

#3: Willy Wonka’s Secret Ingredient

“Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” (1971)
Throughout the movie, it’s established that Willy Wonka is a candy genius, as his candy tastes far better than his competitors’, perhaps indicating a secret ingredient. That secret ingredient? Children - at least according to this theory. Wonka brings children into his factory under the guise of a tour, then rigs his factory into a massive death trap to capture the children. This would explain his uncaring attitude towards the kids’ health and safety. It would also explain the human-sized pipes and how the boat and Wonka Mobile don’t have any vacant seats – Wonka knew the numbers would dwindle because he had every intention of using those children for his candy!

#2: Doc Brown Wanted to Get Hit by the DeLorean

“Back to the Future” (1985)
Have you ever wondered why Doc was standing in the path of the DeLorean? Well, wonder no more. According to this theory, he did not wish to live any longer. Right before sending the DeLorean back in time, Doc laments his many past failings, which speaks to motive – he feels like a failure himself. He is also being hunted by “the Libyans” and, perhaps, plans on taking severe action before they can. As Doc sees it, it’s a win-win situation - either the time machine is a success and his work respected, or he dies and his troubles with failure and the Libyans die with him. If so… he fully intended on taking both Marty and Einstein with him.

#1: Childs Is Actually the Thing

“The Thing” (1982)
After blowing up the station and defeating The Thing, MacReady and Childs share a bottle of scotch as they freeze to death. It’s most definitely a depressing ending, but it could be made even worse if Childs actually is The Thing. Fans of this one of many dark “The Thing” theories point to numerous supposed pieces of evidence, like the fact that Childs is wearing a different coat. Others point to Childs’ lack of visible breath. Finally, and perhaps most popular, is the concept that the bottle is actually filled with gasoline and MacReady was testing Childs, who inadvertently proved that he wasn’t human, resulting in MacReady’s demoralized chuckle after Childs takes a drink.