It’s natural to have a healthy obsession with cults. They represent the darkest, weirdest, fringes of society, they often have maniacal narcissists for leaders, and when we get really lucky there’s some kind of celebrity involvement. In watching Wild Wild Country or Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, we get to learn about the twisted workings of infamous cults, without leaving the safety and comfort of our sofas.
Our obsession with all things cult isn’t going anywhere, and it’s continuing to dominate popular culture. Every mass murderer has a true crime podcast dedicated to unpicking the crimes. A deal for a film about the Nxivim sex cult scandal has been signed off, while the real life ending is still somewhat up in the air. Here’s BURO.’s pick of the best cult content.
Netflix’s shocking six-part docu-series tells the story of controversial religious guru Baghwan Shree Rajneesh and the founding of the group's commune, Rajneeshpuram, in rural Oregon in the 1980s. Expect new-age mysticism, paranoia, ‘free love’ and orange-clad followers.
Directed by American Psycho's Mary Harron and starring Matt Smith as Charles Manson. Though, instead of focusing in on the cult leader, Charlie Says is told through the lens of the three women (Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel and Susan Atkins) who became sucked into Manson’s orbit and remained on the infamous ranch.
Hulu’s dark thriller series, starring Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, follows a family at the center of a controversial (fictional) cult movement - Meyerist - as they struggle with relationships, faith, and power. Warning: will make you uber-sceptical of self-help.
You can’t talk about cults without mentioning Scientology. Alex Gibney’s powerful exposé profiles eight former members of the Church of Scientology - including Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis - to reveal the bizarre inner workings of one of the world's most mysterious (and well-funded) organizations.
A harrowing documentary that delves into the largest murder-suicide in American history, when over 900 members of the Peoples Temple consumed a deadly cyanide-laced drink on the orders of leader Jim Jones.
Images I Alamy, Getty, Landmark Media, Shutterstock
BURO.’s pick of the best true crime podcasts to listen to.