Since Europeans established the earliest settlements of what is known today as the United States over 500 years ago, the country we know as home has endured a significant amount in the form of its storied history. From the revolutionary war which gained us independence as a country to the civil war which almost divided it into two nations, the expansion of the rights of women and minorities as the United States has grown into a truly unrivaled democracy, the history of our country is so unique that it is seemingly impossible for another country to emulate due to cultural and historical differences amongst many others. Take, for example, the role of government in the United States, how its perceived and how that in turn influences Americans and how they elect to shape their history: while the concept of a democracy essentially guarantees the citizens autonomy over their individual lives, the United States government is an imposing presence that often acts in ways that the majority of Americans may not see but are certainly poised to feel the effects of in some way and at some point down the line. Now one of those instances is set to be explored in significant depth, given the fact that the government indirectly gave up its own secrets: production company Cinedigm is producing a new film that centers around a mysterious CIA experiment which was conducted in secrecy for two entire decades, and this week we received the official trailer for the psychological thriller that will share the same name as that infamous CIA experiment when MK Ultra debuts to audiences around the world this fall.
Originally beginning in 1953, CIA director Allen Dules ordered esteemed chemist and psychologist Sidney Gottlieb to lead a new project that would examine the potential to use certain substances to control an individual’s mind and how they behave after it was alleged that the Soviet Union and China were attempting the same. This was long before the War on Drugs was even a thought and the many substances we consider nefarious today were not understood fully; thus, the CIA elected to test substances such as LSD and other psychedelic on American citizens who agreed to participate in the study that we now know was MK Ultra, but that fact and its implications certainly was not made obvious to the participants. I’m sure you can already begin to imagine the effect that would have upon both the individual’s participating in the experiment as well as the society they make up, and now MK Ultra will also serve as the name of a film which will look at its namesakes origins and illuminate one of the biggest secrets in American history. This week we even received the official trailer for MK Ultra in which Anson Mount, best known for his work on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, plays a psychiatrist who found himself at the epicenter of MK Ultra and is forced to go against his moral and ethical beliefs in support of the project and, what he is made to believe is, progress. Despite the project being historical in nature, the trailer, which can be seen below is backed by an ominous score that captures the terrifying gravity of the research being conducted in support of MK Ultra in a way that makes the film appear as though it should be in the horror genre; in reality however, Mount’s character like many real life scientists had to horrifyingly justify their actions in a way that is akin to something out of a horror film, and moviegoers can find out for themselves when MK Ultra the film premieres in theaters and on-demand on October 7th.
As anybody today would have expected, MK Ultra’s pitfalls ended up being far greater than any knowledge the CIA may have gleaned as many Americans now had to deal with the negative impacts of being experimented on with such powerful substances. Some historians even contend that notorious cult leader and murderer Charles Manson was an MK Ultra subject and they have connected the dots in a way that nearly confirms that suspicion, though it cannot be said for certain given the fact that virtually all of the records of MK Ultra be destroyed as to hide their mistakes. Clearly they didn’t do a good enough job however, and now arguably the CIA’s most egregious abuse of power since its inception is set to hit the big screens. Eager history fans as well as anyone else who may be interested in our government’s misdeeds can begin counting down the days until October 7th when MK Ultra will officially premiere.