Unbelievably, some confuse “cult cinema” with cult documentaries. Whereas movies like Pulp Fiction and Back to the Future earn cult status, with life-long fans. A cult documentary is real-life, from a different perspective, however disturbing and horrifying.
For example, the Rajneeshees from Wild Wild Country on Netflix showed a cult leader who performed yoga in the rain, who practiced “free love”, while simultaneously poisoning nearby salad bars:
However, Wild Wild Country doesn’t make it on to our top 5 Best Cult Documentaries list.
WARNING: The footage shown in the trailers and documentaries may not be suitable for some people. Watch at your own discretion.
5. Waco (2018), Stream on Fubo TV
In Waco, Texas, the FBI and the ATF were involved in a tragic conflict with a fundamentalist religious sect known as the Branch Davidians, which resulted in the death of one of the agents.
This miniseries tells the account of the events that led to the deaths of 76 people from the point of view of the cult, and it provides new insight into what could have happened.
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4. Heaven’s Gate: The Cult Of Cults (2020), Stream on HBO Max
Members of the UFO cult known as “Heaven’s Gate” are easily dismissed as being deranged. However, Marshall Applewhite’s passionate, space-loving organization was a victim of the culture in which it operated at the time, which is the subject of this docu-series.
The members of this cult, which was considered one of the most extreme in history, were compelled to cut off all communication with the outside world, which resulted in mass suicide.
3. Holy Hell (2016), Stream on IMDb TV
It wasn’t until he moved to the Buddhafield commune that director Will Allen discovered the true extent of what was going on. The organization had been in existence for more than 20 years when things eventually came to a head, and Allen recounted his experiences as a member of the organization.
In the end, the leader was exposed for what he truly was: a vicious bully who used manipulation and coercion to gain control over his prey.
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2. Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator (2019), Stream on Netflix
A new yoga craze swept the country in the early 2000s, ushering in a new period of yoga’s popularity in the United States. Bikram yoga, started by Bikram Choudhury, drew tens of thousands of practitioners and became a multimillion-dollar business.
Bikram, on the surface, appeared to be a calming presence. Hundreds of yogis were subjected to atrocities, and their empire was destroyed in this documentary.
1. Children Of God (1994), Stream on The Roku Channel
As a leader in the evangelical movement, David Berg was a proponent of the “good news” from the beginning. Berg founded the Minors of God ministry since he saw he wasn’t receiving enough attention in the Christian world.
Polyamory and sex with minors were among the concealed theologies promoted by this ministry. It climbed to notoriety before its corrupt techniques were discovered, attracting the attention of celebrities such as the family of Joaquin and River Phoenix, as well as other well-known figures.