Itching to start your own cult? Check out Netflix series How to Become a Cult Leader

How To Become a Cult Leader - Courtesy Netflix
How To Become a Cult Leader - Courtesy Netflix /

Netflix knows what people like to see in a docuseries. Their true crime docs are among the best, and now they are piquing the interest of those of us who are fascinated with cults and cult leaders with How to Become a Cult Leader.

Cults naturally interest those who enjoy horror and true crime, mostly because of how they are formed and how they often end up. Let’s face it, the most notorious cults have ended in a very dark way, with either murder or suicide (or both).

Since cult originators are extremely narcissistic and also very good at brainwashing their converts, their stories are often dark and serious, but with How to Become a Cult Leader, Netflix has used a unique approach. It’s serious subject matter, yes, but this series is set up as a sort of playbook, and presented in a way that alternates between tongue in cheek and documenting the actual history of well-known cult leaders.

The titles of each episode are presented as chapters in the “playbook.” For example, we get episodes with titles like “Grow Your Flock and “Reform Their Minds.” And lest we forget that some of these stories ended in a very bad and dark manner, actual former cult members are interviewed. The commentary by a survivor of the Jim Jones cult is especially compelling, and puts us in the place of realizing that many of those who “drank the Kool-Aid” were actually children.

How to Become a Cult Leader
How To Become a Cult Leader – Courtesy Netflix /

Some of the featured leaders are better known than others, of course. The stories of Charles Manson, Jim Jones, Heaven’s Gate and Sun Myung Moon are presented, and most of us are familiar with them. But I was personally not as familiar with Jaime Gomez or Shoko Asahara – both fascinating leaders with that dangerous narcissistic streak.

Each story is presented with both archival footage and animated illustrations, which is an interesting blend of styles that holds the attention of the viewer. Oh, and the series is narrated by none other Peter Dinklage, who Game of Thrones fans will know as Tyrion Lannister.

How to Become a Cult Leader is a compelling and engrossing series that is always entertaining and never dry or boring. Heck, it’s even educational!

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