Slate’s Conspiracy Thrillers Movie Club

Conspiracy Thrillers Movie Club

With Sam Adams

Surveillance. Political secrets. Paranoia. Mind control. Enter the unsettling dystopias imagined by conspiracy thrillers—fictional worlds that reflect and sometimes predict the political instabilities of their times.

Join Slate’s Sam Adams and leading culture critics as they watch and review some of the best conspiracy thrillers of the past decades, from The Manchurian Candidate to Get Out.

Follow along with book commentaries and past reviews, and discuss your thoughts in a members-only Facebook group. Remember: This goes all the way to the top.

Read Sam Adams' introduction to the series.

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This movie club includes:
  • An eight-episode podcast featuring Sam Adams and leading culture critics discussing the history of conspiracy thriller movies
  • A Facebook group to discuss your thoughts with Sam and other Movie Club members
  • Book excerpts and essays on the nature of politics, paranoia, cinema, and history


A tale of brainwashing, war, and politics told two ways, based on the same novel. Sam Adams talks with Mark Harris, journalist and author of Five Came Back, about how each film reflected the crises of their times.

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The ultimate based-on-a-true-story political thriller. Sam Adams and The Washington Post’s Alyssa Rosenberg discuss the nail-biting journey of Bernstein and Woodward as they unveil the truth about Nixon.

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Who’s listening? Who’s watching? Surveillance breeds paranoia in these two tense thrillers. Writer Isaac Butler joins Sam Adams to talk about the striking similarities between the two.

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The story of being at the wrong place at the wrong time and patriotic duty gone horribly wrong. Sam Adams talks with film critic Carrie Rickey about why paranoid thrillers’ obsessives are almost always men.

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A political assassination, a shady corporation, and an ambitious young reporter. Writer Matt Zoller Seitz talks with Sam Adams about a film that helped boost conspiracy theory paranoia in its time.

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Is the truth being hidden from us? Time Out’s Joshua Rothkopf joins Sam Adams to chat about the satirical sci-fi flick, no sunglasses necessary.

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Action meets worldwide conspiracy in this adaptation of a spy novel series. Sam Adams and Slate’s movie critic Dana Stevens discuss the original trilogy and the political crises that influenced the storylines.

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What secrets lurk beneath utopia? Sam Adams and The Ringer's K. Austin Collins talk about this (very) dark comedy that proves suburbia has something to hide.

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Supplementary Reading

TOP PHOTO: All the President’s Men: Warner Brothers // Enemy of the State: Touchstone Pictures // The Manchurian Candidate (1962): © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. // Bourne series: Universal Pictures // Get Out: Universal Pictures // Stepford Wives: Columbia Pictures // They Live: Universal Pictures // Blow Out: Filmways Pictures
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