When ‘Wild Wild Country‘ was first aired on Netflix, it generated quite a buzz among the cult movie lovers. The controversial documentary lured even those who abstain themselves from documentaries and prefer to stick to just cult movies. The documentary investigating the rise and fall of a spiritual cult based in Oregon of the ’80s. ‘The extraordinary success of ‘Wild Wild Country’ opened doors to a bandwagon of intriguing documentaries exploring the hidden secrets of controversial cults around the globe. For streaming platforms, it’s the time of the cults and for the viewers, its the time of binge-watching. So, here’s the list of really good cult documentaries on Netflix that are available to stream right now.
9. Wild, Wild Country (2018)
‘Wild Wild Country’ is one of the most controversial series on Netflix. Based on the Indian mystic Osho’s secretive spiritual commune in Oregon, the series explores the myth behind the orgasmic pleasure of spiritual awakening. The documentary also sheds light on the conflict between the followers of Osho and the local Oregon community, which eventually led to the first bio-terror attack in the history of the U.S.
When Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh moved from India to the U.S. and bought a ranch near the town of Antelope, nobody thought he was going to raise an entire city from scratch. Soon, the city was christened as Rajneeshpuram and opened its vast planes for his followers to live as a commune. The chief architect of the commune was Osho’s controversial and enigmatic attaché, Ma Anand Sheela. Her name was often associated with the notorious Rajneshee bio-terror attack in 1984. But when the local townsfolk develop friction with Osho people, the tensions eventually led to a series of bizarre events.
At the peak of a violent law and order situation, the state and federal intervened. A massive case of illegal wiretapping was reported. The documentary is a shocking viewing experience for those who are unaware of Osho’s mysticism. It uncovers tales of poison and paranoia and the man of massive spiritual charm. ‘Wild Wild Country’ becomes a political statement when it hints at the American tolerance for the separation of church and state, and how cunningly the Osho episode has been removed from the cultural history of the nation.
8. One of Us (2017)
Netflix has tasted the blood with cult documentaries and next in the line is ‘One of Us.’ The controversial series, which is directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, follows three people who left the impenetrable Brooklyn Hasidic community. Along with uncovering hidden truths about the Hasidic community, ‘One of Us’ also exposes the brutal methods employed by such groups to keep people in and the external world out.
The three witnesses of ‘One of Us’ include Etty, a mother of seven who broke the shackles of an abusive marriage to escape from the community. She fought a custody battle over her seven children with her former husband. Ari, the second character is a cocaine addict and was abused as a child. He reveals the religious community covered up the attack. Like the other two, Luzer, the third character in the documentary, left the community at the cost of his family.
Makers Ewing and Grady stayed with Etty, Luzer, and Ari for three years, to document their life and struggles outside the community. The documentary closely records their difficulties adjusting to life in the external world, the anxiety generated from coping up with day-to-day situations and the paranoia haunted them whenever they take a walk outside. ‘One of Us’ is more about what it’s like to leave from an impenetrable cult, and the three people say it’s devastating to the core.
7. Enlighten Us: The Rise and Fall of James Arthur Ray (2016)
In 2009, On a ranch outside Sedona, Arizona, self-help guru James Arthur Ray asked his followers to shave their heads and fast even without water for five days in the midst of the desert! There were 50 people among the group who paid 10,000 dollars each for the conclusion of a five-day seminar titles ‘Spiritual Warrior.’ Ray ended the retreat by assigning the tough task. The CNN documentary, ‘Enlighten Us: The Rise and Fall of James Arthur Ray‘ chronicles the fateful night of 50 unlucky people in the desert and how the shocking incident paved the way to the fall of the Ray cult.
By sunset, the victims were screaming for water with a dried out throat. Some of them had hallucinations. Eventually, three victims died from heatstroke, and eighteen more were hospitalized with severe mental and physical injuries. From the first witness account of a responder who reached the scene described it as a horrible mass suicide attempt.
Ray was cornered as convicted for charges including negligent homicide. After serving a two-year sentence, he walked free in 2013. ‘Enlighten Us’ follows Ray’s comeback and his life after the imprisonment. Director Jenny Carchman uses the exclusive assess he got into the Ray archives and his family. The documentary draws a vivid picture of the self-help guru using found family footage and photographs. ‘Enlighten Us’ is a harrowing experience because it tells us how far a misled mob can drag when the cult they believe is strong enough.
6. My Scientology Movie (2015)
‘My Scientology Movie’ describes the backstory of one the weirdest religions in the history, ‘Scientology.’ Directed by John Dower and written and presented by Louis Theroux., the documentary unravels a bizarre and greedy cult with ultra-controlling clutches to hold every member. The Scientology members who belong to the same family were allegedly prevented from seeing each other for the reason of ‘one of them is suppressive.’ Allegations also suggest that prominent Hollywood stars were blackmailed to force them to stay within the cult.
Louis Theroux manages to penetrate the fortress of secrets around some Scientologyfollowers in the documentary. But their defense is so strong that he eventually accepts his failure. There are some intriguing visuals in which the followers tactically avoid certain questions from Theroux, and talk about themselves for hours. Theroux digs deep to find the truth behind Scientology’s claim of the world’s leading authority on mental health and its dictum for the members to abstain from seeking proper psychiatric treatments.
5. Holy Hell (2017)
‘Holy Hell’ begins with Will Alle, a 22-year-old film school graduate being kicked out of his house for being openly gay. He is depressed and unsatisfied about his exchanges with society. Raised as a strict Catholic family boy, he is forced to battle with contradictions at an early age. The search for his haunting doubts, take him to The Buddhafield, a Los Angeles based cult spiritual group. They promise his fulfillment, love, and happiness. Will Allen finds temporary solace in the hands of the cult.
His filmmaker education lands him in the role of the group’s official videographer. He starts documenting every day-to-day activity inside the cult. The footage shows a middle-aged man called ‘Michel’ as the cult leader and under his mentorship, a pack of artistic hippies wander on beaches, splashing water, laughing, and hanging out merrily in the visuals.
Michel promises them spiritual awakening in due course; a promise that eventually turns out to be hollow. Allen, the documentarian leaves the cult and compiles hours of stock footage he shot into a mind-blowing documentary for CNN, which we are watching as ‘Holy Hell.’ The documentary is disturbing and informing at the same time. But it is a must watch for those who have a fascination for cults under iron curtains because we learn that we have to pay with our independence for our fascination.
4. The Keepers (2017)
‘The Keepers’ explores the controversial murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik, who disappeared in November 1969 under mysterious circumstances. Sister’s body was found in January of 1970. ‘The Keepers‘ sheds light on the darkest areas of the murder mystery and the alleged connection between Sister Cathy’s death and the sexual abuse incidents of teenage students at Archbishop Keough High School.
Filmmaker Ryan White investigates the allegations that Sister Cathy was going to expose the sexual abuse scandal and was killed before it. The documentary interviews six victims of the sexual abuse scandal by Father Joseph Maskell, who died in 2001. Until his death, Father Maskell had denied the allegations. According to the coroner’s report, Sister Cathy was hit by a blunt object in the head. CNN reported that Father Maskell’s body was exhumed and his DNA was matched with the DNA collected from the murder scene. A couple of days before the release of ‘The Keepers,’ Baltimore County Police declared that the DNA samples did not match.
The documentary delves deeply into this contradiction in the case including a lawsuit filed against Father Maskell by a mysterious ‘Jane Doe’ and Jane Roe,’ who was later identified as Jean Wehner and Teresa Lancaster respectively. ‘The Keepers’ earned a cult status in our times of allegations that Catholic Church covering up cases of pedophilia, for its empathetic portrayal of the devastation of the survivors and the stunning display of their courage to speak out. While Sister Cesnik’s murder remains unsolved, filmmaker Ryan White reveals in latest reports that there are positive developments in the case. ‘The Keepers’ empowered more victims to speak out and the investigators dig into Father Joseph Maskell’s past life.
Read More: Best Vegetarian Documentaries on Netflix
3. Children of God (1994)
‘Children of God’ takes us to the chamber of secrets of the horrifying sex cult, ‘The Children of God.’ Founded by David Berg in 1968 under the name Teens for Christ in Huntington Beach, CA, the cult was projected as a harmless religious group. It was inspired by the Hippie Free Love Movement, their doctrine was free to love. The founder Berg believed and preached that God loved sex because it was beautiful and that Satan hated sex.
Other weird beliefs of the man were that God wanted men to be polygamists and masturbation was a gift from God. Eventually, sexual intercourse became the focus of the cult. ‘The Children of God‘ was accused of encouraging sex with children, and forcing the women followers to attract new members into the cult through sexual solicitation. The documentary is made based on the interviews of director John Smithson that was conducted with a family which was raised within ‘The Family,’ a name used to denote the commune of the cult.
2. KKK: The Fight for White Supremacy (2015)
‘KKK: The Fight for White Supremacy’ offers a closer look at America’s most infamous supremacist group, Ku Klux Klan. Director Dan Murdoch manages to reach out the top leaders of the Loyal White Knights, one of the largest Klan chapters, and documents their secretive rituals for ‘KKK.’ The leadership reveals the truth behind their members wearing the infamous hood with a ritualistic resolution. They also claim ‘KKK’ goes through a phase of revival with new members step-in and incidents of cross burning increase across down South.
It was until a 21-year-old white man shot down nine African Americans preying in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, the world believed KKK’s proclamation of a peace-loving organization. But, with the Charleston massacre, the deep-rooted white supremacist ideology revealed its claws and the reality of a race war emerged as a future possibility.
Dan Murdoch spent several months to get into the leadership of the Loyal White Knights and filming their chores. The documentary also depicts protests organized by Black Power groups, including the New Black Panthers, advocating their counter-ideology to the white supremacy, the black supremacy. ‘KKK’ symbolically cuts the visuals of the Ku Klux Klan and the New Black Panthers protesters come face to face in rival protests organized in South Carolina. The documentary ends as a reminder of the dangers of two extreme visions that engulf the American society.
Read More: Best Political Documentaries on Netflix
1. FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019)
‘Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened,’ is the craziest addition to Netflix’s documentary vault. It is a stunning look into the Fyre Festival debacle in 2017. When a man named Billy McFarland created a wild music party invite on heaven like Bahamian island, people with expensive tastes and drives flew down with great expectations about the party. The documentary follows the bizarre events happened after the guests landed on the island.
The guests were greeted with a mess of re-purposed makeshift tents instead of suits and villas. They are served with cheese sandwiches in Styrofoam containers instead of delicious meals prepared by celebrity chefs, as promised to them when the organizers charged thousands of dollars. Unable to cope up with the mess and shock, people from the civilized world turn into mere mobs robbing and plundering the island. Some of them even peed on other’s mattresses while a few posting weird Instagram updates.
The documentary doesn’t reveal the actual cause behind the fake party, but it sheds light on the millennial culture of the social media generation. Often, ‘Fyre’ evokes the feeling that by promising supermodels and yachts, then delivering tents and cheese sandwiches and disappearing without a trace leaving behind the guests trapped on the island, is a kind of weird social experiment.
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Midsommar is a solid pick because it imagines how someone could fall into joining a cult if they are not supported in other aspects of their lives.Are there any religious documentaries on Netflix? ›
'Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey' Trailer Unveils the True Story About a Religious Cult in New Netflix Documentary. If you enjoyed the dramatized 'Under the Banner of Heaven,' this documentary series can't be missed.What is considered the best documentary of all time? ›
- Shoah (1985) ...
- Sans Soleil (1983) ...
- The Thin Blue Line (1988) ...
- Night and Fog (1955) ...
- Harlan County U.S.A. (1976) ...
- Dont Look Back (1967) ...
- The War Game (1965) ...
- Nanook of the North (1922)
- Wild Babies.
- Our Planet.
- 72 Dangerous Animals: Asia.
- Inside the World's Toughest Prisons.
- Inside the Mind of a Cat.
- Night on Earth.
- 72 Dangerous Animals: Latin America.
- Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes.
No, thankfully Archive 81 is not based on a true story. However, some of the show's elements do ring true, particularly the existence of cults. The Netflix series is based on the 2016 horror podcast of the same name, created by Dan Powell and Marc Sollinger.Is midsommar real? ›
Ari Aster's Midsommar is partially based on a real-life Swedish festival, but the customs don't involve the same violence and pagan cult activities on show in the horror movie.Are there any faith based movies on Netflix? ›
- Blue Miracle.
- VeggieTales in the City.
- The Shack.
- Seven Years in Tibet.
- 2 Hearts.
- A Week Away.
The documentary covers the inside workings of the Whitaker family. This family is the most famous inbred family. They are mostly known for their anomalies, and they are out in the world. A filmmaker named Mark Laita documented the story and shared it with the world.Where can I watch the Whitakers documentary? ›
The Whitakers Documentary is on Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is one of the best OTT streaming platforms.
The term is a portmanteau of the words cinema and philia, one of the four ancient Greek words for love. A person with a passionate interest in cinema is called a cinephile (/ˈsɪnɪfaɪl/), cinemaphile, filmophile, or, informally, a film buff (also movie buff).
- Hulu. Available at Hulu. ...
- Amazon. Prime Video. ...
- History. Vault. ...
- MagellanTV. Starting at $6.99 at MagellanTV. ...
- PBS. Documentaries. ...
- GuideDoc. Starting at $7.99 at GuideDoc. ...
- Mubi. $29.99 For Three Months at Mubi. See It (Opens in a new window)
- Ovid.tv. Starting at $6.99 at OVID.tv. See It (Opens in a new window)
A documentary film or documentary is a non-fictional motion-picture intended to "document reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education or maintaining a historical record".What should I watch on Netflix 2022? ›
- Call Me By Your Name. Sony Pictures Classics. 105K subscribers. ...
- Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers. 1.42M subscribers. ...
- I Love You, Man. Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers. 1.42M subscribers. ...
- The Color Purple. Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers. 1.42M subscribers. ...
- Sex and the City: The Movie. Warner Bros.
- Father Stu. #1 this week. Watch now. ...
- Lou. #2 this week. Watch now. ...
- Do Revenge. #3 this week. Watch now. ...
- This Is the End. #4 this week. Watch now. ...
- Minions & More Volume 1. #5 this week. Watch now. ...
- Despicable Me 2. #6 this week. ...
- A Jazzman's Blues. #7 this week. ...
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. #8 this week.
The Mind, Explained (Netflix)
As the title suggests, this docuseries explores the complexity of our minds. It includes a great variety of topics like memory, dreams, anxiety, creativity, mindfulness, brainwashing, and even psychedelics.
Though he seems quite real, Kaelego is not an actual figure in any existing mythology on Earth. “This is kind of a Lovecraftian element to this show, which is an elder god or demon depending on how you look at it.Why has Archive 81 been Cancelled? ›
With the streamer laser-focused on analyzing viewing versus cost in its renewal decisions, the number of eyeballs Archive 81 drew possibly did not meet the threshold Netflix had set for the series based on its budget.Is the Visser building real? ›
The Visser is entirely fictional. Much like the occultist details in Archive 81's first season, the series made the place up from whole cloth. That's not to say there aren't haunted (or at least “haunted”) apartment buildings in New York City.How do Swedes feel about Midsommar? ›
Midsummer is normally an occasion of large gatherings − and to be honest, many Swedes take advantage of it to fulfil their social obligations so that they can enjoy the rest of their holiday in peace. In many cases, whole families gather to celebrate this traditional high-point of the summer.Which rituals in Midsommar are real? ›
The Midsommar Celebration Is Christian-Based, Not Pagan
Swedish author Po Tidholm, who studies the pagan practices and other traditions of his country, told Esquire that many of the film's rituals are actually based in Christianity: The Swedish "midsommarstång" or "maypole" is said to be of German, Christian heritage.
Hälsingland (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈhɛ̌lːsɪŋland] ( listen)), sometimes referred to as Helsingia in English, is a historical province or landskap in central Sweden. It borders Gästrikland, Dalarna, Härjedalen, Medelpad and the Gulf of Bothnia. It is part of the land of Norrland.How many Pure Flix movies are there? ›
Pure Flix EntertainmentWhat Bible stories are on Netflix? ›
- Blue Miracle(2021)
- The Shack (2017)
- Fatima (2020)
- Mary Magdalene (2019)
- The Young Messiah(2016)
- Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (2009)
- Notes for My Son (2020)
- God Bless the Broken Road(2018)
It portrays Christianity and family in a positive light, but contains some Romantic, feminist elements. There are also some innuendoes about the birds and the bees, plus some challenging themes about harsh treatment and bigotry against orphans. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for ANNE WITH AN E.Where is inbreeding most common in the world? ›
Inbreeding is observed in almost all populations of the panel, and the highest inbreeding levels and frequencies of inbred individuals are found in populations of the Middle East, Central South Asia and the Americas.What's the story of the Whitakers? ›
The Whitaker family are from Odd, West Virginia, where they currently reside. They are considered the most popular inbred family in the United States. According to the record, The Whitaker family made it to the spotlight after a photographer named Mark Laita photographed them for his book titled Created Equal in 2004.What is the Whitaker family documentary called? ›
Inbred is something we haven't seen. The Whitaker Family is one of the most if not the most popular inbred American family. They are completely inbred, with all members of the family closely related to one another genetically and biologically. This documentary shows a close look at their real life.What are signs of inbreeding? ›
- Reduced fertility both in litter size and sperm viability.
- Increased genetic disorders.
- Fluctuating facial asymmetry.
- Lower birth rate.
- Higher infant mortality and child mortality.
- Smaller adult size.
The father, John Whittaker, had worked as a coal miner while the mother, Gracie, had stayed home and looked after their 16 children.What part of West Virginia are the Whitakers from? ›
The family resides in a town called Odd, located in rural West Virginia. Some members of the Whitaker family have mental and physical abnormalities. A few members only communicate through grunts and cannot speak.
(ˌdɒkjʊˈmɛntərɪst ) a person who makes documentaries. Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers.How do you become a documentarian? ›
- Get a bachelor's degree. While some documentarians start their careers without going to college first, many pursue bachelor's degrees in film or cinematography. ...
- Identify a documentary subject. ...
- Make a documentary. ...
- Promote your documentary. ...
- Submit your work to production companies.
(dŏk′yə-mĕn-târ′ē-ən, -mən-) also doc·u·men·ta·rist (dŏk′yə-mĕn′tər-ĭst) n. One who makes documentaries. American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
- Catch And Kill. Ronan Farrow's companion to his best selling book on Harvey Weinstein is a thrilling 10-episode series. ...
- Gangster Capitalism. ...
- Dolly Parton's America. ...
- I Am Not A Monster. ...
- Chameleon, The Hollywood Con Queen. ...
- Floodlines. ...
- Uncover NXIVM. ...
- Rabbit Hole.
Pitching an idea to Netflix
If you have an idea, game, script, screenplay, or production already in development that you'd like to pitch to Netflix, you must work through a licensed agent, producer, attorney, manager, or industry executive, as appropriate, who already has a relationship with Netflix.
Netflix has uploaded a handful of its documentary series, shorts, and feature films free, and accessing them is as simply as opening the YouTube app on your phone. Just head to its YouTube channel, where anyone to access them without paying a dime.What are the 3 types of documentaries? ›
In this VOD we examine 3 different types of documentaries: Observational, Expository and Participatory. You will see examples of films that have used each of the 3 types of genre successfully.What are the 6 types of documentaries? ›
What Are Documentary Modes? In 1991, American film critic and theoretician Bill Nichols proposed that there were six different modes of documentary—poetic, expository, reflexive, observational, performative, and participatory—each containing its own specific characteristics.Who filmed the first ever documentary? ›
The 1922 movie "Nanook of the North" follows a charismatic real character in a distant land. Though in truth filmmaker Robert Flaherty fudged a few facts, and staged a few scenes, it's generally considered the world's first documentary.What is a cult thriller? ›
A cult film or cult movie, also commonly referred to as a cult classic, is a film that has acquired a cult following. Cult films are known for their dedicated, passionate fanbase which forms an elaborate subculture, members of which engage in repeated viewings, dialogue-quoting, and audience participation.
Cult horror films are a subgenre that focus exclusively on well done horror films that remain popular among scary movie fans.Is midsommar an American movie? ›
|Release dates||June 18, 2019 (Alamo Drafthouse Cinema) July 3, 2019 (United States) July 10, 2019 (Sweden)|
|Running time||148 minutes|
|Countries||United States Sweden|
Watch all you want.What is the biggest cult classic? ›
- El Topo (1970) Film. Fantasy. ...
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1970) Film. Drama. ...
- Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) Film. Drama. ...
- Pink Flamingos (1972) Film. ...
- Repo Man (1984) Film. ...
- Clerks (1994) Film. ...
- Eraserhead (1977) Film. ...
- Heathers (1989) Film.
But as time passed, Jennifer's Body shifted into a very different cultural niche. As new feminist movements took shape and enormous strides were made for the LGBTQIA+ community, popular reception of the film evolved into one both cult-like in devotion and inspiring in the social ideals it represented.Is Jaws a cult film? ›
In that regard, Joseph Sargent's Jaws: The Revenge is a unique specimen: a cult-less classic and a quasi-fan film produced by people who should have known how not to make a bad movie in the first place.What makes a cult? ›
In modern English, a cult is a social group that is defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs and rituals, or its common interest in a particular personality, object, or goal.Is Pulp Fiction a cult classic? ›
Pulp Fiction is one of the best cult films of all time, and to some die-hards, the best film ever. As is usual with cult-classics, a certain degree of polarization is bound to be present among viewers. Cult movies go beyond what's normal in film and society.Is Mean Girls a cult classic? ›
"Mean Girls" eventually became a cult classic among its target audience, but younger tween and teen viewers were almost unable to see the film. The filmmakers butted heads with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) over the way many of the jokes were written.How disturbing is Midsommar? ›
Parents need to know that Midsommar is an extremely violent horror movie from the maker of Hereditary. It involves a sinister, ages-old ceremony that includes disturbing rituals. Characters are beaten and smashed, and bodies are cut up and burned (in some cases, alive).
Nearly all of the film takes place in the broad daylight, and the cinematography is vibrant and stunning at all times, which also helps to make the experience extremely unsettling—especially when the scenes feature some serious nightmare material that audiences aren't used to seeing so brightly lit.Why is Midsommar so popular? ›
Basing the film's central conflict around such an everyday and common issue that many of us have faced or will face makes Midsommar strangely down to earth and relatable. Even amongst the incredibly hard to watch horror that comes later, audiences are able to somehow see themselves in this film.Is Midsomer Murders on Netflix anymore? ›
Soon other British mystery faves like Father Brown will follow Midsomer Murders off of Netflix. (Father Brown is eventually going to be an exclusive on BritBox.) Midsomer Murders is not on Netflix anymore, but you can watch all twenty seasons with either a BritBox or Acorn TV subscription.When did Midsomer Murders leave Netflix? ›
The show was removed from Netflix in October 2019; only the first 19 seasons had been shown on the service.Where can I watch old Midsomer Murders? ›
Currently you are able to watch "Midsomer Murders" streaming on DIRECTV, Acorn TV, AcornTV Amazon Channel, Spectrum On Demand, fuboTV, Crackle, Hoopla, BritBox Amazon Channel, BritBox or for free with ads on The Roku Channel, Tubi TV, Freevee Amazon Channel, Pluto TV, FILMRISE.