We don’t cover much True Crime on Horror Freak News. We don’t have an aversion to it per se, especially when it connects with our beloved genre; but there are plenty of sites where True Crime is bread-and-butter and our focus has always been horror in film and television. But since the announcement yesterday that the 7th season of American Horror Story is titled Cult, it seemed like the perfect time to take a foray into the dark territory of real life cults.
Over the next few weeks, leading into American Horror Story: Cult’s premiere on FX September 5th, we’ll be bringing you explorations of cults, secret societies, and the appearances of cults in horror movies. First, we’re featuring a video from our friends at WatchMojo: The Top 10 Most Infamous Cults! Have a watch and let us know what you think in the Comments section!
If you can’t stream, the cults and a brief description of their infamy are listed below the video. Enjoy!
Official Synopsis: Crazy beliefs and practices, crimes, mass suicides and even murder are all things that have been associated with cults due to a few bad groups. WatchMojo picks the ten most infamous cults in modern society.
#10. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s Communities (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh): This cult was founded in Oregon by and Indian sex guru; the group gained infamy for poisoning salad bars—because religion.
#9. Order of the Solar Temple (Luc Jouret): Founded by a Neo-Nazi and based on the teachings of the Knights Templar, these guys were outlawed after sacrificing an infant as part of a religious ritual—because God.
#8. The Raëlian Movement (Claude Vorilhon): This is one of that largest and most organized religions based on UFOs. They believe in mind transfer and cloning and one of their members recently claimed to have given birth to a clone—because aliens.
#7. Heaven’s Gate (Marshall Applewhite): These guys raised eyebrows for walking around in matching jumpsuits, but shocked the world by committing a mass suicide in order to catch a ride on a spaceship hiding behind a comet. Their leader and several male members of the cult were self-castrated—because Armageddon.
#6. Aum Shinrikyo (Shoko Asahara): What began as a yoga studio became a full-blown terrorist cell when the group began hoarding weapons. They achieved peak infamy after carrying out the sarin gas attacks in Tokyo—because karma.
#5. Unification Church (Sun Myung Moon): Better known as “Moonies”, these guys have been accused of brainwashing and aggressive recruiting tactics, but have otherwise been historically benign. They’re known for performing mass marriage—because love.
#4. Hare Krishna (A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada): Members of this Hindu sect strict vegetarian and shun material possession. Chanting is a common form of spiritual expression—because why not?
#3. Branch Davidians (David Koresh): An ultra-orthodox offshoot of Christianity, the Brand Davidians will forever be remembered for a 50-day siege against the FBI at their compound in Waco, Texas—because damn the Government.
#2. The Manson Family (Charles Manson): Charles Manson’s band of hapless hippies carried out the Tate/LaBianca murderers; the trial that followed shocked the nation and effectively killed the “Peace & Love” ideologies of the 1960s—because Helter Skelter.
#1. Jonestown (Jim Jones): Jim Jones’ South American Utopia became the scene of a mass suicide the likes of which remain unprecedented—because the fucker was completely insane.
About WatchMojo on YouTube: Top 10 lists on Music, TV, Film and Video Games. We publish 4 or more Top 10s daily. Subscribe for new top 10 lists every day, and binge watch on Top 10s covering Pop Culture, Celebrity, Movies, Music, TV, Film, Video Games, Politics, News, Comics, and Superheroes. WatchMojo’s back catalog has ten thousand videos on Top 10 lists, Origins, Biographies, Tips, How To’s, Reviews, Commentary and more Your trusted authority on ranking Pop Culture.