Winter 2017 Special
To celebrate the start of this website with some recent gems, here is a guide to 4 fascinating videos related to the subject of cults. Take a day to binge this theme or explore these individually. You may need access to some subscription services but I promise you, it’s worth it. This website's mission is to highlight sociologically-packed videos that are entertaining even outside of the educational context. Enjoy!
Holy Hell (2016) -- Netflix
This is a documentary made by a former original member of the cult profiled. The creator provides us with valuable insider knowledge through telling his story and the history of this cult with films he personally recorded (his unofficial role in the cult was the documentarian). We get to see how this cult began in the 1970s, the transformation of the leader from guru to god, the establishment of multiple compounds, and so much more. Perhaps most striking of all is that this cult is still active today in Hawaii even though the leader has clearly inflicted multiple forms of emotional and sexual abuse on many members. As of now, this documentary has a score of 7/10 on IMDB thanks largely to current members of the cult trashing the film in the reviews.
Yoga Scandal (2016) -- HBO Real Sports
Bikram Choudhury is best known in the United States for popularizing his special practice of “hot yoga”-- a sequence of 26 poses done in a 105 degree atmosphere which purports an impressive array of health benefits. HBO Real Sports and correspondent Andrea Kremer deserve major credit here as they provided us with a rare and off-script profile of the guru. We see his $12,000 course where students are dominated physically, emotionally, and intellectually. We see him condemn materialism but flaunt his mansions and luxury vehicles. We learn that, according to Choudhury, he does not sleep or eat; cured Parkinson’s disease and AIDS; sells his sperm for $1 million; and turns down 5,000 women per day who want sex. This is a man with many eccentricities (he is offended by the color green) and a cult-like following of mostly young white women. Now wanted by authorities in the United States, he is currently conducting his business in Thailand.
Kidnapped for christ (2014) -- Showtime
Now available on multiple platforms (Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google), this Showtime documentary captures life inside of a Christian behavioral modification camp in the Dominican Republic. Wealthy families from the United States send their teenagers here if their conduct is out of line with biblical teachings and in the true spirit of resocialization a la total institutions, life here is brutal. We see that this camp is more of a sadistic prison complete with beatings, emotional abuse, and total control of any outside information or contacts. The film leaves us furious as this practice of shipping (deviant) children overseas where their civil rights are stripped from them is legal… for now.