The sheeple recount their experiences with Michel. Some mind-blowing claims kick off this doc. The followers of the Buddhafield never believed they were in a cult, and the paranoid master discouraged the term. “Michel” made it clear that anyone should leave if they were dissatisfied, but it took more than twenty years for the hypnotized children to wake up.
I like investigations of cults. Most people are in some sort of cult-like subculture. Critical faculties are turned off in favor of group belonging, group think, acceptance. It is the norm, not an aberration. Cult leaders just exploit it for personal gain and take the predispositions further than in other arenas.
The best cult film I ever saw was The Source Family, a legendary LA cult full of beautiful lost flower children trying to keep the 60s alive. Holy Hell tells a similar tale, and it includes far more footage of the master, Michel/Andreas. His cold staring eyes scream psychopath from the instant he appears on screen. More than crazed, he was a calculating hypnotherapist! He personalized every interaction and pushed buttons, one-on-one.
Echoes of this year’s Get Out, the sheeple recounted their mandatory hypnosis sessions, which cost them $50 a pop. There were 170 of them at one point.
But Michel had the goods. He convinced them they had seen God. They all hallucinated, seeing colors, like being on acid–did he dose them in the food? Who knows? But their powerful visions were quite similar, corroborated, and provided the spiritual evidence they all craved. After glimpsing God–through Michel of course–they were hooked for decades. No matter where the cult went next, they clung on, enduring all manners of abuse.
Yes, things took a dark turn after the following was established. I’ll not spoil the rest of it.
It dragged a bit in the middle, without a sign of the dark twist, but it came on strong with a memorable ending.
The Source Family still edges it out. Cults are fascinating phenomena. Come to think of it, my fraternity house was a bit like a cult.
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