11 Documentaries About Real-Life Cults That Will Blow Your Mind

May 15, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Collage of real-life cult documentaries
Image: Netflix; CNN/Design: Ashley Britto/SheKnows

With Netflix’s new docu-series Wild Wild Country, it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of the Rajneesh movement. Then, once you’ve made it through the entire six-part series, it’s impossible to stave off your curiosity about other cults. What is it that makes certain people susceptible to such polarizing pedagogy? What leads a person to the “calling” of a cult leader? And, most pressingly, can binge-watching documentaries about real-life cults offer any insight into the bizarre worlds inhabited by such people?

The lives of members of infamous cults, like the one chronicled in Wild Wild Country, make compelling fodder for limited television series and TV movies. So, you be the judge. Thanks to streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, it’s easier than ever to take a psychedelic trip into the belief systems of cult leaders and their followers.

We’ve gleaned 11 mind-blowing examples to get you started. But be forewarned, the following documentaries may leave you with more questions than answers.

1 /11: 'Wild Wild Country'

Cult Documentaries 'Wild Wild Country'
Image: Netflix

1/11 :'Wild Wild Country'

2 /11: 'Children of God: Lost and Found'

Cult Documentaries 'Children of God: Lost and Found'
Image: Netflix

2/11 :'Children of God: Lost and Found'

3 /11: 'The Source Family'

Cult Documentaries 'The Source Family'
Image: Amazon Video

3/11 :'The Source Family'

4 /11: 'Enlighten Us'

Cult Documentaries 'Enlighten Us'
Image: Amazon Video

4/11 :'Enlighten Us'

5 /11: 'Waco: The Rules of Engagement'

Cult Documentaries 'Waco: The Rules of Engagement'
Image: Amazon Video

5/11 :'Waco: The Rules of Engagement'

6 /11: 'Going Clear'

Cult Documentaries 'Going Clear'
Image: Amazon Video

6/11 :'Going Clear'

7 /11: 'Heaven's Gate: The Untold Story'

Cult Documentaries 'Heaven's Gate: The Untold Story'
Image: Amazon Video

7/11 :'Heaven's Gate: The Untold Story'

8 /11: 'The Cult at the End of the World'

Cult Documentaries 'The Cult at the End of the World'
Image: YouTube

8/11 :'The Cult at the End of the World'

9 /11: 'Holy Hell'

Cult Documentaries 'Holy Hell'
Image: Netflix

9/11 :'Holy Hell'

10 /11: 'Jamestown: The Life and Death of People's Temple'

Cult Documentaries 'Jonestown: The Life and Death of People's Temple'
Image: Firelight Media

10/11 :'Jamestown: The Life and Death of People's Temple'

11 /11: 'Manson'

Cult Documentaries 'Manson'
Image: IMDB

11/11 :'Manson'