TV lineups are taking a dark turn now that shows about cults are causing a buzz.
Ever since Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey lured in viewers with its shocking revelations about the FLDS, it seems everyone is wondering about other types of sinister groups and their practices. To satisfy those curiosities, we've rounded up documentaries and TV films that explore everything from the faithful devotees of Charles Manson to the mysteries behind Scientology.
Have a look at some of the popular selections below, but do note that the picks cover heavy material. If you or someone you know should be in danger and need help, contact authorities or resources like the National Domestic Health Hotline or the American Psychology Association's tools.
Shows about cults on Netflix
'Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey' (2022)
The latest project to join the canon of best true crime on Netflix, Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey recounts Warren Jeffs' rule over the polygamous FLDS, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Where is Warren Jeffs now? The 66-year-old is imprisoned at the Louise C. Powledge Unit in Palestine, Texas, where he is serving a life sentence plus 20 years.
'Children of God' (1994)
Narrated by Dame Helen Mirren, Children of God focuses on the Padilla's family involvement in the doomsday cult of the same name. Later branded as The Family, this 1960s organization lead by David Berg is infamous for sexual abuse of children.
'Wild Wild Country' (2018)
Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajnees put down roots in the Oregon desert but his followers did not mesh well with local ranchers, which ultimately causes the first bioterror attack in the United States.
'Charlie Says' (2018)
When discussing cults, is there a name more notorious than Charles Manson? In this fictional story based on the frightening real-life events, a graduate student visits a group of incarcerated women from the Manson family as they reflect on their lives and their choice to follow Manson.
'Bikram: Yogi Guru Predator' (2019)
It's not all namaste and downward dogs here. Bikram Choudhury founded the hot yoga method, but his supposed wellness empire was built on accusations of abuse, rape and sexual harassment.
'Pray Away' (2021)
Exodus International attempted to rid young people of homosexual desires through conversion, and five members who broke away recount the problematic and discriminatory organization.
'Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath' (2016)
Scientology is synonymous with Tom Cruise, but for those who know little about the problematic religion, actress Leah Remini—a former member of the organization—speaks to those who left the faith. During this investigative project, a bunch of frightening revelations about the practice come to light.
Shows about cults on Hulu
'Cults and Extreme Beliefs' (2018)
Journalist Elizabeth Vargas delves deep into the inner workings of cults—everything from NXIVM to the Children of God.
'Truth and Lies: Jonestown, Paradise Lost' (2018)
Jim Jones ordered his followers to have a cyanide-laced drink, which lead to the death of 900+ people, considered the largest murder-suicide that's ever taken place in the U.S.
'Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult'
- Watch with a premium Hulu subscription
What began as a self-help outlet quickly turned into quite the opposite. This four-part docu-series examines Keith Raniere's abusive, horrific sex slave cult.
'The Cult of the Family' (2019)
- Watch with a premium Hulu subscription
An Australian-based cult, The Family was focused on the end of time. It believed raising children to be "superior" would ultimately save the world post-Armageddon.
'Manson: the Women' (2019)
- Watch with Hulu Live TV
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Manson murders, new interviews and experts delve into the story behind the women who willfully hopped aboard Charles' bandwagon.
'Deadly Cults' (2019)
- Watch with a Premium Subscription
From a vampire coven in search of a subject to sacrifice to self-proclaimed religious leaders spewing their bizarre ideology, Deadly Cults examines groups that are out for blood.
Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few.
When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.
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