The Best Cult Documentaries to Leave You Shocked and Bewildered

Wild, Wild Nation, 2017

Nothing on this Oscar-winning docuseries, govt produced by the Duplass brothers, is precisely what it appears. You’d be forgiven for watching solely the primary episode of Wild, Wild Country and assuming the entire present is a couple of sex-crazed hippie commune impressed by Jap religions, however issues get extra sophisticated rapidly.

This collection is definitely the story of two very in contrast to communities — the folks of Rajneeshpuram and Wasco County, Oregon — as they rub up towards one another on barren American land.

Certain, cult chief Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh is fascinating, however his second-in-command takes heart stage after some time. Indian-American-Swiss co-cultist Ma Anand Sheela proves to be a extra formidable energy within the cult over time, and he or she was instrumental to the 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror assault. Extra so than another collection on the record, watching this can go away you shocked that you just hadn’t heard this nutso story earlier than.

5. The Misplaced Girls Of NXIVM

NXIVM is without doubt one of the newest cults to make headlines. Based by Keith Raniere in 1998, NXIVM was initially marketed as a ‘private growth firm’. Nonetheless, it has since been revealed that NXIVM was truly concerned in human trafficking, pressured labor, and different unlawful actions. The Misplaced Girls Of NXIVM facilities round 4 ladies who have been a part of the cult who’ve since died or disappeared beneath uncommon circumstances.


2. Wild Wild Nation

When Wild Wild Nation was launched on Netflix in 2018 it rapidly took the world by storm. The documentary informed the story of Rajneesh who began a non secular neighborhood in Oregon known as Rajneeshpuram. Though the group initially appeared to have created a respectable real-life utopia, issues finally began to vary.

8. The Supply Household (2012) Administrators: Marie Demopoulos Jodie Willie

It is generally alluded that the hippie movement e

It’s typically alluded that the hippie motion ended with the Manson household murders in August 1969. However a number of the impressionable younger hippies of early Seventies adopted the megalomaniac and miracle-performing guru, Father Yod. Born James Edward Baker, Father Yod (served within the Marine Corps throughout World Struggle II) armed himself with the information of esoteric non secular teachings and was a follower of Yogi Bhajan, an American-Sikh non secular chief. By late Nineteen Sixties, Baker opened Supply restaurant in Los Angeles, which served natural vegetarian meals (celebrities like John Lennon, Brando have been stated to be the restaurant’s regulars). Then he metamorphosed right into a cult chief, promising a lifetime of pleasure, knowledge, and love.

Maria Demopoulos and Jodie Willie’s The Source Family paperwork the ‘household’ unit of Yod by counting on archival footage and interviewing ex-members. The Supply Household wasn’t the supply of any tragic killings or suicide, and for the big half, the documentary portrays Yod as a wierd, however not a sinister individual. Though Marie and Jodie contact little concerning the emotional trauma and sexual abuse attributable to Yod, there have been quite a few painful accounts of the chief’s authoritarian angle, particularly in direction of ladies. Though the cult dissipated after the loss of life of Yod (in 1975), his psychological and bodily abuse of energy has scarred his victims for all times.

Witches: A Century of Homicide, 2015

Typically, the rise of strict religions comes with a physique rely. Within the case of Puritan Christianity in Britain, ladies have been tortured and killed beneath the suspicion that they have been witches, possessed, or have been in any other case communing with the occult.

Witch trials are a typical topic in creepy popular culture, however Witches: A Century of Murder makes the topic really feel freshly disturbing, by setting it outdoors the American colonies and in rural Britain. Although it’s not technically a couple of cult, Witches explores what occurs to a gaggle of individuals when their new beliefs override their shared humanity.

3. Holy Hell (2016) Director: Will Allen

Buddhafield was a little-known West Hollywood cult

Buddhafield was a little-known West Hollywood cult which was based within the Nineteen Eighties by Jamie Gomez, who glided by the identify Michele and now generally known as Andreas. Buddhafield appeared to exude the image of an ideal commune with younger folks dancing round and its leaders blended philosophy targeted on bodily health and wholesome dwelling.  Michele or Gomez was a former small-time homosexual porn star who additionally skilled as a hypnotherapist. His commanding determine additionally cultivated a higher affect upon his devoted followers. The tyrannies and sexual abuse adopted later when he overdosed on his followers’ veneration.

Will Allen’s Holy Hell chronicles the director’s personal experiences with the cult. Allen, who left his household after popping out as homosexual, first encountered Buddhafield in 1985, and was completely satisfied to reside with like-minded, inventive younger folks (for practically 22 years). He turned the group’s in-house videographer and that footage types the crux of this cautionary story. Allen sprinkles his footage with present-day interviews of different longtime group members to supply an in depth, intimate insider’s perspective. Although a little bit of an goal look would have made this documentary extra fascinating, Holy Hell does present how folks nicely indoctrinated right into a subculture could by no means discern the purpose at which it turns abusive and insidious.

Holy Hell

The stereotypical cult exists someplace on the literal fringe of society. It’s arrange within the woods or on an island or someplace else that’s laborious to achieve. Buddhafield was (and technically nonetheless is, because the lively members moved to Hawaii) a cult that shirks that stereotype. Throughout the time Holy Hell covers, Buddhafield was based mostly in Los Angeles, although it maintained the sort of isolation cults favor. Members could be pressured to abstain from nearly all the things good about trendy society, together with household, buddies, relationships, intercourse, alcohol, and even pink meat. On prime of that, there are allegations that rape and sexual abuse have been widespread within the cult, all of it hinging on the just about magical charisma of Michel, the person on the heart of all of it. He introduced good, regular folks down in his cult and Holy Hell places all of it on show. Netflix

3. The Jonestown Bloodbath: Paradise Misplaced – Documentaries about Cults

The Jonestown Bloodbath: Paradise Misplaced is a particular documentary about cults displayed on the Historical past Channel. It talks concerning the final days of Jim Jones, the Folks’s Temple, and Jonestown. In keeping with the survivor accounts and eyewitnesses, this documentary exhibits the ultimate week earlier than the mass murder-suicide of the residents in Jonestown, which has occurred on 18 November 1978.

The present shows how erratic and paranoid was Reverend Jim Jones was at the moment, possibly due to the pressures he obtained. Jones was the one who ordered his followers to commit mass suicide. One of many members who survived that insane order was Hyacinth Thrash. Other than her, Jones’ son additionally survived the bloodbath.

2. The Immortals

The foothills of the Himalayas are dwelling to a cult whose chief is called God. Ziona Chana is the chief of a polygamous sect the place his household numbers 163, of whom 38 are his wives. Followers consider that Ziona is immortal. The New Technology cult is put beneath the microscope within the RTD documentary The Immortals.

Inside a Cult: Messiah on Trial

What’s the one factor higher than a superb cult documentary?

A cult documentary sequel!

That’s precisely what Inside a Cult: Messiah on Trial is – a follow-up to The Finish of the World Cult (so watch that one first!).

The documentary tracks the fallout of crimes Michael Travesser admitted to within the first documentary. This contains the trial and sentencing, one thing you not often get to see on this planet of cults.

Along with footage of proceedings, you meet former members of the cult which have come to see their one-time Messiah lastly pay for his crimes.

When you have been captivated by The Finish of the World Cult, then you’ll love this follow-up. Add it to the queue!

Going Clear: Scientology and the Jail of Perception

One of many distinctive points of Scientology is how large it’s getting.  Most cults by no means get out of the early phases of membership drives, and even when they do, they’ll often flame up and flare out with some sort of Waco-esque confrontation. Scientology is simply too large for that sort of finish, which places it in territory that’s uncharted outdoors of main religions. The perfect factor we are able to do from right here is attempt to perceive it. Going Clear is a documentary that picks aside the church, its historical past, and the way it brings folks into its congregation.  It’s a type of preliminary protection towards being introduced right into a cult, which is nice observe for everybody. HBO