Plots featuring dubious government testing have long drawn inspiration from MK-Ultra.
Coerced drug testing and mind control are common themes in thrillers and science fiction films. That’s why fiction about mind control, brainwashing, and evil government testing have drawn inspiration from MK-Ultra, a real-life attempt to obtain a grip on the human mind through a series of extremely dodgy (and illegal) pharmacological trials.
There have been MK-Ultra-inspired stories in many of our favorite movies and television shows, from The Manchurian Candidate to Fringe episodes. Stranger Things, Netflix’s newest series, was the most current. Let’s see what else is inspired by the real-world MK-Ultra in terms of plot.
1. Stranger Things
Everyone’s buzzing about Netflix’s new ’80s-inspired show. Winona Ryder is back in her element, delivering strong performances in this stylish science fiction thriller. MK-Ultra is heavily involved in the investigation into Will Byers’s disappearance in Episode 3, which uncovers evidence of unlawful drug research on children during MK-Ultra.
2. The Manchurian Candidate
The Manchurian Candidate films (from 1962 and 2004) are must-sees if you want to learn more about experimental mind control and brainwashing.
3. The Banshee Chapter
The Banshee Chapter is a gloomy mystery thriller about the disappearance of a young woman, with plenty of MK-Ultra allusions and fragments.
4. The Prisoner
In this British miniseries, a British man (nicknamed Number Six) is held against his will and subjected to various techniques of persuading him to reveal why he resigned his post as a spy in a community from which he cannot escape.
5. “Unusual Suspects” (The X-Files)
It seemed inevitable that The X-Files will address MK-Ultra at some point. Vince Gilligan wrote the episode “Unusual Suspects,” which explores the idea of testing gas on humans through asthma inhalers.
6. Conspiracy Theory
starring Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts, a 90s film about a man who operates a tiny publication of conspiracy theories that becomes a huge target when one of his claims is correct. Oh, and he was a former student at MKU.
7. Dream Logic” (Fringe)
When it came to delving into the murky world of classified government information, Fringe was a no-brainer. Despite the numerous similarities between Walter Bishop’s work and MK-Ultra, the episode’s fifth episode specifically mentions it.
8. The Killing Room
Focused on three subjects and “testing the lim
The Killing Room, which focuses on three subjects and “tests the limits of the human psyche,” received poor reviews, but does get to the essence of the MK-Ultra creepiness.
9. American Ultra
Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg), a stoner/programmed murderer, finds himself on the government’s kill list and must use the skills he didn’t know he possessed to save himself and KStew from extinction.