I jumped at the chance to speak with writer-director Christopher MacBride, a man who appears to be as obsessed with conspiracy theories as yours truly. Inside you can see what kind of chilling real-life events inspired The Conspiracy, and find out what’s next on his top secret agenda.
In The Conspiracy, “When two young filmmakers (played by Aaron Poole and Jim Gilbert) select a crazed conspiracy theorist as the subject of their new movie, they have no idea the terrifying peril they will put themselves in. When the man disappears without a trace, the filmmakers begin an obsessive quest to uncover the truth that will lead them to an ancient and dangerous secret society. A meticulously researched thriller based on real conspiracy theories, The Conspiracy blurs the line between fact and fiction, news and propaganda.”
Thanks to Xlrator, the film will be opening on VOD platforms this Thursday, with a limited theatrical run on August 23.
BLOODY DISGUSTING: Where did the inspiration come from?
CHRISTOPHER MACBRIDE: A friend of mine sort of got me hooked on the world of conspiracy theories a few years back. And it really is a world unto itself. There’s millions of people all over the world who are part of a, let’s call it a “conspiracy community”. For several months I got lost down that rabbit hole and eventually a light bulb just went off and I realized there was a really compelling story to tell set in that world.
BD: How long have you been into conspiracies?
CM: I was never really a, for lack of a better term, true “conspiracy theorist”. But after I started exploring that world, I became fascinated by it. I realized how easy it is to be seduced by the allure of so-called “secret information” and how so many different types of people can become addicted and obsessed with that world for many different reasons. But I also became fascinated by how many conspiracy theories seem frighteningly plausible. I don’t think people should pre-judge all conspiracy theorists as being “tin foil hat loons.” There are a lot of smart people in that world who just care about their society and care about the truth and are asking questions that no one else seems to be. As an example, the recent NSA revelations were just “conspiracy theory” a few years ago.
BD: What’s your favorite conspiracy theory?
CM: The aspect of conspiracy theories that always interested me most was the existence of these secret groups. Whether it’s secretive think tanks like the Bilderberg Group or secret societies like the Freemasons. That stuff just fascinates me. That’s really what the heart of my film is about. One of these secret groups that hold a lot of influence over events that occur in the world, but no one has any idea how powerful they are.
BD: Do you believe in the Bohemian Grove? What do you think is really going on?
CM: There’s no question that the Bohemian Club is very real. They meet once a year at a place called Bohemian Grove and perform a pagan ritual in the woods. People would be shocked if they knew the types of ultra powerful people that are a part of this organization. CEOs of fortune 500 companies. Ex-presidents. Whether they are up to anything nefarious or are just a secretive and exclusive club is up for debate. Conspiracy theorists will certainly tell you they’re up to no good, but I have never seen definitive evidence of that myself. What I do find fascinating is how there is next to nothing mentioned about them in the media. If 100 actors or athletes all got together in the woods and performed a pagan ritual, you’d have every journalist in the world covering it, but the people that actually sort of run the world do it, and nothing is reported about it. Whether that’s indicative of anything nefarious, I don’t know, but it’s fascinating. The Bohemian Club was definitely a big inspiration for this film.
BD: Was it hard to create a storyline with so many insane real-life ideas to utilize?
CM: Yes it was tricky. Though the film is fictional it incorporates a lot of real conspiracy theories. Like The Conspiracy around 9/11. The New World Order conspiracy theory, which is an agenda by certain “powerful elites” to create a one-world government. It was always a balancing act as to how much reality and how much fiction to incorporate into the film. Ultimately though I like the balance we struck. I never wanted to convince people our film was “real” like Blair Witch tried too, but I did want the line to be blurred as to what parts where made up and what parts were factual. The reason I did that was because that’s exactly what it’s like when you’re investigating a conspiracy theory. It’s very hard to tell how much is the truth and how much is a warped perception of the truth.
BD: Was there anything you wish you had included?
CM: Well there are so many fascinating and terrifying conspiracy theories. In my first draft of the script I incorporated a lot more about the push to create a one-world government incrementally by creating these “unions”. So first you have the European union, and then the African union, and eventually the North American union and so on. And eventually the borders and sovereignty of individual nations gets eroded and more power is placed in fewer hands. You could make an entire movie about this one subject. Unfortunately I had to lose a lot of that stuff because you have to keep the story moving forwards and keep building momentum and tension, and it’s hard to do that if you stop and give a half hour lecture on globalization.
BD: What’s next? More genre?
CM: Well right now I’m working on a film at 20 Century Fox. It’s a thriller called ECHO that revolves around the CIA and has some great mind f**k Philip K Dick style elements. I’m still at the script stage, but that’s most likely what’s coming next. Assuming I don’t mysteriously go “missing” after The Conspiracy opens.