Something about movies from the ’80s brings out the inner nerd in people. Whether these films make us sing along with Cindy Lauper or quote Schwarzenegger quips, ’80s movies give viewers all sorts of warm, fuzzy feelings. Many beloved titles also lend themselves to wild speculation, and theories about classic ’80s films range from potential tie-ins, to amazing sci-fi crossovers, to total reversals of the films’ heroes and villains.
The most believable ’80s movie theories provide an entirely new perspective on films you’ve probably watched hundreds of times. Some of these ’80s movie fan theories will make you want to go back and start connecting all the dots you never noticed, while others will make you critical of the film’s entire premises.
Judge Doom From ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ Is Actually A Cartoon Possum
At the end of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, it’s revealed that Judge Doom began his life as a cartoon, even though he now wants to kill other cartoons. However, the film never explicitly divulges what cartoon character Doom used to embody. Some viewers have noticed a string of Easter eggs strewn throughout the film that illuminate the Judge’s original identity: the Pistol Packin’ Possum.
During an interrogation scene, there’s a poster on the wall that depicts the Pistol Packin’ Possum, a character with red eyes that look exactly like Judge Doom’s at the end of the movie. The character also wields a super long cartoon gun, just like the one that Doom uses to kill R.K. Maroon. The biggest hint comes when Doom shoots Maroon, as his reflection perfectly overlays the poster for the Pistol Packin’ Possum.
‘E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial’ Is A Jedi
It’s time for people to admit that Spielberg/Lucas definitely share a fictional universe, and their work is connected by a certain extra-terrestrial. In The Phantom Menace, Lucas includes a shot of several E.T.’s — or Asogians — who hold a place in the Galactic Senate.
The link between worlds predates the prequel trilogy. In E.T., our main man uses the force to heal Elliot’s finger after he cuts it on a saw blade, and makes Elliot’s bike fly at the end of the movie. That’s some serious Jedi stuff.
Beetlejuice Isn’t Dead
After close analysis of the film Beetlejuice, Redditor /u/patrckhh20 realized that the ghost with the most isn’t actually a ghost. Instead, he’s a living person who somehow found his way into the land of the dead. There’s a ton of evidence to support this, but the most obvious clue is that when Betelgeuse is eaten by a sandworm at the end of the movie, he winds up in the waiting room for the afterlife. Why would be there if he was already dead?
Whenever Adam and Barbara want to take a trip to the afterlife, all they have to do is draw a door on a wall, and they never have to sit in the waiting room (since they’re dead). This can only mean that Betelgeuse is very much alive up until the film’s conclusion.
Indiana Jones Inadvertently Sparked World War II In ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’
Redditor /u/msgrmdma theorizes that if Indie had just shown Belloq the Ark, then the Frenchman would have been able to carry out his real plan. Given his doctoral status, it’s possible that Belloq knew that whoever opened the Ark of the Covenant would be destroyed by God’s light. The theory suggests that he wanted the Ark delivered to Hitler. If Hitler had opened the Ark, his face would have melted, and World War II would have ended before it began.
The Goblins In ‘Labyrinth’ Used To Be Babies
There’s an absolutely insane fan theory surrounding Labyrinth that makes the whole thing seem even creepier than it already is. It’s theorized that a long time ago, Jareth was a sorcerer who fell in love with a brown haired woman named Sarah. He kidnapped her baby brother, and when the child began to grow too old, he turned it into a goblin.
Jareth never stopped kidnapping children, and every time he finds a young, brown haired woman named Sarah, he kidnaps her baby brother so that she is forced to come looking for them. Each time this happens, he turns the baby into a goblin, and the cycle repeats ad infinitum.
The Ghostbusters Caused The Dimensional Rift
Everyone loves the Ghostbusters — those New York dudes that throw a bunch of ‘tude while cleaning up paranormal messes — but what if they’re the ones creating the ghostly problem that’s tearing apart Halloween? That’s what Redditor /u/ToliB theorizes; in 2017, they suggested that, by putting all of the creepy crawlies in one place, the Ghostbusters actually draw more specters to their area. This high concentration of paranormal energy creates a figurative magnet for ghosts that ends up causing the dimensional rift that the Ghostbusters have to shut down.
Daniel Is The Bully In The ‘The Karate Kid’
The Karate Kid is one of the quintessential ’80s movies. In the film, the young Daniel LaRusso moves to Los Angeles, where he quickly attracts the attention of Johnny Lawrence and the rest of Cobra Kai. After meeting Cobra Kai, Johnny starts learning karate so he can beat up all of his new neighbors. This kind of aggressive behavior is exactly why people think that Daniel’s the main antagonist of The Karate Kid.
Viewers have noted that Daniel instigates every aggressive situation in the film, and goes out of his way to get into fights with Cobra Kai. In contrast to this, Johnny is kind of a jerk, but spends the majority of the movie trying to become a better person while facing constant adversity.
‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ Is All About Non-Linear Thinking
Redditor /u/AngrySpock believes that Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is more than just a lark about two dopes traveling through time; this user argues that it’s an exercise in non-linear thinking. They posit that when Rufus sets up the ticking clock for Bill and Ted at the Circle K, he’s telling them that they need to think outside the box with regards to normal time.
The Redditor writes, “While ostensibly Rufus got involved to help them pass their report, his real impact is helping Bill & Ted start down the path of exploring what Q called the ‘unknown possibilities of existence.’”
The Elite Of Astoria Knew About The Pirate Ship In ‘The Goonies’
One of the major plot holes in The Goonies is the giant pirate ship that the Astoria water and sewage company has never seemed to notice. The ship is discovered less than a week after the Goonies set out to find it, yet the people in charge of maintaining the sewers in which it rests have never stumbled upon it.
Redditor /u/87StickUpKid has figured out why no one ever mentioned the vast treasure that lay under the town at a community meeting. This user thinks that the wealthy elite of Astoria actually knew about the treasure, but never said anything about it. According to the theory, Astoria was founded with dirty pirate money, and excavation of One-Eyed Willy’s ship would produce records of the the town’s problematic history.
‘The Terminator’ Takes Place In The Same Universe As ‘Predator’
An eagle eyed Arnie-head noticed a connection between two of Schwarzenegger’s greatest films, and it’s perhaps one of humanity’s greatest discoveries. The theory is that Dutch, the protagonist of Predator, served as the model for the T-800 in The Terminator. This theory is bolstered by the fact that there’s a character named “Dutch” in the arcade game Alien Vs. Predator who’s a cyborg. Do you need any more proof?
Doc Tried To Commit Suicide In ‘Back To The Future’
When the audience first meets Doc in Back to the Future, he’s testing out the DeLorean in a mall parking lot, and he’s deeply depressed. Most of his inventions have been failures, and he lives in a house full of machines that no one wants. Up until this point, his life has been a drag.
After he tells Marty, “I’ve never tested the time machine,” he stands in the path of the car that’s about to speed towards him at 88 miles per hour. Considering his uniformly botched track record, he’s essentially saying, “I hope I die.”
As he drives the car at himself using a remote control, Doc grabs Marty and holds him tightly, hoping to end both of their lives in a bizarre murder-suicide ritual. Then, the DeLorean performs the task it was created for, and Doc is given a chance to do things over.
Ferris Doesn’t Exist In ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’
How does Ferris get away with so much tom foolery in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, despite warnings from his killjoy friend Cameron? Well, some people think that he doesn’t exist. When Cameron wakes up in bed, he’s completely depressed, and the only way he gets going is by splitting his consciousness, Fight Club style.
Cameron would never dream of venturing out of his house while skipping school, but Ferris is more than happy to play hooky. While Cameron would never sneak into a fancy restaurant and pretend to be the sausage king of Chicago to get a free meal, Ferris is always down for profitable deception. Ferris is everything that Cameron is afraid to be: cool, assertive, and brave enough to wear a beret.
Totoro Is The God Of Death In ‘My Neighbor Totoro’
My Neighbor Totoro follows the adventures of two young girls, Satsuki and Mei, who move to the countryside after their mother falls ill. Once there, they befriend a supernatural creature named Totoro by helping him stay dry on a rainy night. As cute as their plush friend is, Totoro might also be the God of death.
Theorists believe that people who can see Totoro are either about to die, or living proximally to death in some way. The mother of the two girls is growing sicker with each passing day, so Totoro’s appearance makes sense in this context.
After Satsuki and Mei get into an argument, Mei goes missing, and many viewers believe that she drowns. Satsuki seeks out Totoro to help find her sister, and he’s all too happy to guide her along her journey to the spirit realm.
Stanley Kubrick Admitted To Faking The Moon Landing In ‘The Shining’
Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of The Shining remains one of the most terrifying and intense films of all time, and there are a large number of fans who believe that Kubrick included secret messages throughout the movie. One such theory suggests that he was trying to come clean about deceiving the American public about the original moon landing.
Many conspiracy theorists believe that after directing 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick was recruited by NASA to help create realistic footage of astronauts walking on the moon. In The Shining, Kubrick hints at this by putting the protagonist, Danny, in a sweater with the Apollo 11 rocket on the front. Allegedly, he also intentionally places a series of eagles throughout the film, and heavily features the colors of the American flag.
One of the biggest clues that Kubrick offered viewers is the inclusion of room 237. In the original Stephen King novel, the pivotal hotel room is numbered 217, but Kubrick allegedly changed it to reference the number of miles between the Earth and the moon (roughly 237,000).