A Few Bizarre 1980s Movie Fan Theories

James Logie

Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash

The movie you love may not be what you think.

There are some great fan theories out there that completely transform a movie you thought you knew.

Some of these you may have heard of, and some may be brand new. The great thing about movies is, we all can interpret them in our own way.

Some of the theories will never die: like the Shining is Stanley Kubrick’s confession that he faked the moon landing — and some pop up never to be seen again.

OK, here we go, in no particular order.

Beetlejuice Is Actually Alive

The crazy true fact about Beetlejuice is how little he is in his own movie. Check this out the next time you watch it; he’s barely on screen for 20 minutes.

In this fan theory, we are led to believe that he isn’t deceased. He isn’t even a ghost at all. This gets a little “6th Sense,” but the most obvious way to explain this is by the end of the movie.

When Beetlejuice gets eaten by the Sand Worm, he ends up in the waiting room for the afterlife.

This wouldn’t make sense as if he is already deceased, there would have already been a transition to the afterlife.

Yes, Beetlejuice is actually a real man.

If he was truly dead-the way Adam and Barbara are — he would just have to draw a door on the wall to get to the great beyond.

They are also never forced to sit in the waiting room. We can conclude that Beetlejuice does perish at the end, and is transitioning to the afterlife.

Daniel is the Real Bully in The Karate Kid

This theory has been given some more weight with the release of the Kobra Kai series.

We always think of Daniel as the hero in Karate Kid — which he obviously is. But he is a bit of a d-bag in the movie. He is the one who is most often aggressive, and sometimes a bully.

You can change the way you perceive this movie by considering that Johnny Lawrence is actually the good guy.

He starts out as a jerk, but he is taking the steps to improve himself. He has more of a positive trajectory than Daniel who stays the same throughout the movie.

When you look at it from this perspective, it completely changes the movie.

Basically, Every Single Thing in The Shining

We can’t ignore the 80s movie that redefined what the fan theory could be. However, I’m not going to fully cover this for one main reason: we would be here for 72 years.

But, I do have to at least touch on some of the main theories, including:

  • The faked moon landing
  • Wendy is imagining the entire thing
  • The Overlook Hotel represents the plight of the Native American
  • The hotel is actually alive and controlling Jack
  • Danny is the one that let Jack out of the locked pantry
  • The hotel represents the evil that exists deep in the heart of mankind
  • The theme of the movie is about the Holocaust
  • Everything that happened was a figment of their imagination, thus revealing the power of the mind.

Sandy Died at the Beginning of Grease

This whole movie seems to be set in reality, so why did Danny and Sandy drive up into the heavens at the end of the movie?

This seemed like such a bizarre, and surreal, ending to a high school movie. But maybe they were really going to heaven.

At the start of the movie, during the “Summer Nights” song, we hear that Danny had saved Sandys life at the beach because “she nearly drowned…”

So what about the fact that maybe she did drown? The telling of the Rydell High story could have just been Sandy’s subconscious working before she actually passed away.

It would explain some of the other “heavenly” scenes such as “Beauty School Dropout.”

But then, she finally succumbs to the effects of the drowning, and that’s when we see her ascend into heaven.

E.T. Is a Jedi

This is a super common fan theory and now seems to be confirmed thanks to "The Phantom Menace."

In E.T., we see him drawn to a Yoda costume when they are out on Halloween.

E.T. obviously recognizes a fellow Jedi and is immediately drawn to him. There are no other costumes that grab his attention.

The race of E.T.s exists in the Star Wars universe and this has been confirmed when we see several of his kind in the Galactic Senate in the Phantom Menace.

E.T. is considered an Asogian, and he can use the Force by moving things with his mind.

All of the Goblins in Labyrinth Used to be Babies

All of those small little Goblin heads we see in Labyrinth are former babies. This would explain why The Goblin King is trying to steal Sarah's younger sibling.

He is trying to build up an army and get all the resources he can.

He has a backstory, too: He wanted to marry a girl named Sarah, but her parents wouldn’t allow it.

He creates a kingdom waiting for her, but she eventually grows too old and passes on. He never gets over this and tries to find a replacement.

This is kind of like the Dracula story, but with more eyeliner.

He now is scouring the world for someone to replace her. Over the centuries, he has found dark-haired Sarahs and tried to get them to his kingdom.

The way he does this is by stealing their babies, or very young siblings. They then have to get to his kingdom to rescue them.

All of the goblins represent the Sarah’s that either didn’t make it or weren’t the right one for him.

Each of those past Sarah’s has failed in some way, and Jennifer Connely’s Sarah is believed to be the true one for him.

The maze was built to keep the Sarahs in longer, so he could figure out if they could serve as a replacement.

Ferris Bueller Isn’t Real

This is the fan theory that has probably been around the longest. This theory predates the internet, and it is simply this: Ferris Bueller is a figment of Cameron’s imagination.

This has a real Fight Club feel to it and there’s the possibility that both of these films exist in the same universe.

The entire wacky-filled day actually never happened. The whole day-and Ferris himself-are just thought up in the mind of Cameron while he is sick in bed.

This could even be considered a fever dream, or some sort of hallucination.

The idea is that Sloan is real, but this is the only way that Cameron can have any interaction with her. It goes a bit further in that Ferris is an extension of Cameron’s personality.

Ferris is everything that Cameron wished he could be.

Ferris is bold, confident, adventurous, and can easily talk to a girl like Sloan. This whole “day off” is Cameron imagining he’s cool enough, and not afraid to talk to Sloan.

This is meant to resonate with all of us. Cameron is who really are, and we all aspire to be Ferris.

We all struggle with our personal identity, and this is reflected in the character of Cameron.

We witness this when Cameron says: “Ferris can do anything.” These are all his desires being manifested in this character he is imaging.

Ferris is that voice in our head and it’s why he’s always talking to the camera.

Ferris also seems to know what’s going on in Cameron’s mind. In the scene when Cameron is in bed, he mumbles out loud that “he’s dying.”

Soon after, Ferris phones up and says “you’re not dying.” There’s obviously no way he would have known that.

This one really holds up, and it’s hard to watch the movie without this new interpretation of it.

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Personal trainer, podcaster, Amazon best-selling author. Writing about some health, a little marketing, and a whole lot of 1980s.


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