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Don’t you think you should plan such an important event?

Escape from Jonestown: Julia Scheeres describes the lives of people in the last days of the infamous compound.
They’d only told him the day before that he was leaving for South America. His head was still spinning with the quickness of it all. He was glad to get away from the never-ending church meetings and rules. But mostly he was excited about seeing his father. Jim Bogue left for Guyana two years earlier, and although he’d called home using the mission’s ham radio, the conversations were rushed and marred by static. His father sounded proud of all the pioneers had accomplished at the mission post, and Tommy was eager to see it for himself.
At Port Kaituma, Pastor Jim Jones finally emerged from the wheelhouse, wearing the dark-lensed, gold-framed sunglasses that rarely left his face. He welcomed them to the village—which seemed to consist of little more than stalls selling produce and used clothing—as if he owned it. Tommy listened attentively to Pastor Jones, who was only there for a short visit. Guyana was a fresh start for him and he wanted to make his father proud.
[more inside]
posted by frimble on Nov 18, 2014 - 57 comments

PET ME HARDER

Following a sucessful Kickstarter, the puppet crew is back for DON'T HUGE ME I'M SCARED 3 (Previously, Previously)
posted by The Whelk on Nov 1, 2014 - 19 comments

carne vera sacra

Venerated Members - Europe's History of Penis Worship [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 19, 2014 - 15 comments

Inflammatory Seattle pastor of Mars Hill Church steps down

Following an investigation by church elders that cleared him of behavior disqualifying for a pastor, "charismatic but choleric" Mark Driscoll has voluntarily stepped down after 18 years as the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Dozens of elders and church members disagreed with the ruling of the investigation, and the megachurch has been steadily bleeding members and donations over recent months. [more inside]
posted by torticat on Oct 16, 2014 - 52 comments

Let Me Tell You About Homestuck

5 years.
7,000 pages.
13,000 panels.
700,000 words. [Approximately the length of the Bible.]
Over 3 hours of animation.
Over 23 hours of soundtrack.
15 separate games, in 3 unique styles.

PBS once called Homestuck the "Ulysses of the Internet". Its author, Andrew Hussie — who resembles Joyce in his impishness, stylistic maximalism, and fondness for disturbing smut — calls it "a story I've tried to make as much a pure expression of its medium as possible". It has become a cultural phenomenon, inspiring proms and dominating Amazon makeup reviews. But most importantly, it's a rollicking good read, equal parts slapstick and epic, bildungsroman and cultural commentary.

What on earth about it makes its fans so overly zealous? And how the hell does one start the daunting process of reading Homestuck? If you're even the remotest bit curious about this Internet phenomenon, the following is a teensy-weensy introduction to just what makes Homestuck so terrific. [more inside]
posted by rorgy on Oct 16, 2014 - 231 comments

A beacon, shining in the darkness of a world left behind...

The Online Legacy of a Suicide Cult and the Webmasters Who Stayed Behind. A short history of the Heaven's Gate Millenarian Cult and the (ex?) members who still keep the page running seventeen years after their last contact with the leader and members.
posted by 1f2frfbf on Sep 17, 2014 - 14 comments

Cromagnon’s only album: a jumble of sounds, shouts, and one actual song

Depending on one's point of view, Orgasm (later reissued as Cave Rock) is either a ridiculously self-indulgent artifact of the '60s counterculture or an underground gem that was way ahead of its time -- and it's probably a little bit of both. The basic idea behind Cromagnon, an obscure East Coast group led by vocalists Austin Grasmere and Brian Elliot, was psychedelic rock combined with the sticks and stones of prehistoric cavemen, as well as with traces of folk-rock; it's a bizarre concept, certainly, but at times, it works. You can hear the whole crazy album on YouTube, or stick with the most song-like track (featuring bagpipes, tribal beats and some sort of scream-singing), Caledonia, seen here with an unofficial video. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 26, 2014 - 6 comments

The Man Who Saves You From Yourself

David Sullivan was a private investigator who specialized in cults. In 2013, Harper's printed a fascinating, if too brief, overview of Sullivan's career in cult rescue. Among his other accomplishments he allegedly assisted in procuring a confession in the Helzer Brothers murders. He died of cancer shortly after the publication of the article, before he could even start on his memoirs.
posted by ChrisR on Jun 17, 2014 - 25 comments

posting such things on an Internet forum could cause incalculable harm

Some people familiar with the LessWrong memeplex have suffered serious psychological distress after contemplating basilisk-like ideas ... The notion is taken sufficiently seriously by some LessWrong posters that they try to work out how to erase evidence of themselves so a future AI can't reconstruct a copy of them to torture. Yudkowsky considers the basilisk would not work, but will not explain why because he does not consider open discussion of the notion of acausal trade with possible superintelligences to be provably safe.
If it's the first time you've heard of Roko's Basilisk, this post may have unfortunately put (a perfect future simulation of) you in danger of eternal torture by a Friendly Artificial Intelligence.
posted by crayz on Jun 15, 2014 - 271 comments

So many floating tone arms!

Mesmerizing internal Scientology promotional video - GATII Success Stories
posted by The Whelk on Jun 10, 2014 - 239 comments

'Way USA': Sleazy Punk/Comedy Travelogue

(the following post was lifted from Richard Metzger via the Dangerous Minds website. All links should be considered NSFW) :
It’s called Way USA, a pilot for a punk/comedy travelogue that was done for MTV in 1988 and hosted by the silver-tongued Tesco Vee of The Meatmen. It was directed by Peter Lauer, then a staffer with MTV’s graphics department who has since gone on to direct dozens upon dozens of major television shows that you have seen, including Strangers with Candy and Arrested Development. [more inside]
posted by item on Mar 5, 2014 - 5 comments

Delicious Delicious

"Liquid Sky is one of the most visually ambitious films ever made about fashion, heroin, New Wave clubs, UFO saucers, ordering Chinese food and having them put it on your tab, the Empire State Building, androgyny, neon and tin foil. The 1982 cult classic may be the perfect embodiment of camp. " The Awl talks to the director of the film about his plans for a sequel.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 20, 2014 - 46 comments

The epic journey....

As part of this weekend's Guardian series: 50 years of Doctor Who, six of the actors who have played The Doctor's companions - Louise Jameson, Freema Agyeman, Katy Manning, Carole Ann Ford, Billie Piper and Karen Gillan discuss their experiences on the show in video interviews. (Links to print interviews within.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 28, 2013 - 26 comments

"This is the voice of Vrillon..."

The alien cult that hacked British TV: In 1977 a British television channel was hijacked by someone claiming to be a space alien called ‘Vrillon’. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Sep 23, 2013 - 14 comments

Right, Zach?

The cult 2010 video game Deadly Premonition gets a Director's Cut this week. The brainchild of a guy who calls himself SWERY, one could make a strong case for Deadly Premonition being the most entertainingly bizarre game ever made. It's undeniably influenced by Twin Peaks and more than a touch of Japanese horror, yet that doesn't begin to explain how unique, disturbing and hilarious the game is. The humor is intentionally unintentional. Everyone agrees there are significant gameplay problems, but the phrase "so bad it's good" does the game a terrible disservice. "Capable of swinging from zany to nasty, inspired to absurd within the course of a single sequence," and boasting an eccentric, often inappropriate soundtrack, Deadly Premonition is either a joke, a masterpiece or both. (Previously: It's like watching two clowns eat each other.)
posted by naju on Apr 30, 2013 - 33 comments

Plate of Shrimp

It is an apocalypse tale with no doomsday, a punk movie with no concert, a science fiction story with less than ten seconds of aliens - Repo Man: A Lattice of Coincidence, a look back at the 1984 classic film by cult director Alex Cox, whose current project is a crowdfunded adaptation of Harry Harrison's Bill, the Galactic Hero.
posted by Artw on Apr 21, 2013 - 84 comments

And Now For Something....

(minor Spoilers should be assumed for most of the post) Fringe, which many have called a cult show, has a pension for playfully populating its episodes with pop culture references and has continued to do so into its fifth and final season. [more inside]
posted by sendai sleep master on Dec 15, 2012 - 75 comments

The Yodeling Astrologer

When Jim Holmberg fractured his skull after a motorcycle accident in the 1960s, it left him several things - deafness in the left ear, a belief in cosmic forces that had cured the resulting spinal meningitis, and an astonishing sopranino range in his voice. [more inside]
posted by solarion on Nov 23, 2012 - 10 comments

Life Without Father.

My mother finished with, “If Jesus came to you and said that he had found your perfect spouse, what would you say to him?” She paused for effect. “Now, how much more is Father?” Photographer Jen Kiaba writes a first hand account of courtship and a mass wedding under the direction of Reverend Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church. Not every arranged marriage story is unhappy, but inside and outside observers are curious to see what happens to the organization (and its finances and investments) after Moon's death this past September. Oh, and of course there is a goofy TLC special. Previously. (And previously, on the Moonies and the Washington Times.)
posted by availablelight on Oct 23, 2012 - 30 comments

De-listing of the MEK

The Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), or People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, is an Iranian dissident group that has been formally designated for the last 15 years by the US State Department as a "foreign terrorist organization". When the Bush administration sought to justify its attack on Iraq in 2003 by accusing Saddam Hussein of being a sponsor of "international terrorism", one of its prime examples was Iraq's "sheltering" of the MEK. Its inclusion on the terrorist list has meant that it is a felony to provide any "material support" to that group. Now, in the with the support of A-list American politicians who have been handsomely compensated for their efforts, the MEK are being delisted. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 24, 2012 - 41 comments

Audrey Blue

"On the 23rd day of the month of September...in an early year of a decade not too long before our own...the human race suddenly encountered a deadly threat to its very existence." [more inside]
posted by roger ackroyd on Sep 23, 2012 - 33 comments

W.D. Richter's "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension"

... Buckaroo Banzai is paradoxically decades ahead of its time and yet completely of its time; it’s profoundly a movie by, for, and of geeks and nerds at a time before geek/nerd culture was mainstreamed, and a movie whose pre-CG special effects and pre-Computer Age production design were an essential part of its good-natured enthusiasm. What at the time was a hip, modern take on classic SF is now, almost thirty years later, almost indistinguishable from the SF cinema that inspired it in terms of the appeal to modern viewers: the charmingly old-fashioned special effects, and the comparatively innocent earnestness of its tone. - Danny Bowes [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 19, 2012 - 119 comments

An introduction to cult movies

"What is a cult film? A cult film is one that has a passionate following, but does not appeal to everyone. James Bond movies are not cult films, but chainsaw movies are. Just because a film has become a cult movie does not automatically guarantee quality. Some are very bad; others are very, very good. Some make an awful lot of money at the box office; others make no money at all. Some are considered quality films; others are exploitation movies. One thing cult movies do have in common is that they are all genre films - for example gangster films or westerns. They also have a tendency to slosh over from one genre into another, so that a science fiction film might also be a detective movie, or vice versa. They share common themes as well, themes that are found in all drama: love, murder and greed." - of the British TV film slots accompanied by an introduction perhaps the most celebrated is Moviedrome, running between 1988 and 2000 and presented first by Repo Man director Alex Cox and then film critic Mark Cousins. [more inside]
posted by Artw on Aug 3, 2012 - 88 comments

CRASH AND BURN

The Onion's AV Club Asks: Just How Prescient Was Hackers Anyway?
posted by The Whelk on Apr 13, 2012 - 111 comments

Church or Cult?

Inside the creepy and controling world of Seattle's Mars Hill Church, home of "real marriage".
posted by Artw on Feb 2, 2012 - 81 comments

Aum Shinrikyo fugitive surrenders after 16 years

Makoto Hirata, a senior member of doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo and one of three remaining fugitives from the group, has turned himself in to police after more than sixteen years on the run, leading to questions about the timing of his surrender now, after all these years. While Aum is best known as the group responsible for the deadly sarin-gas attack on Tokyo's subway system that killed 13 people and injured more than 6000, Hirata is wanted on suspicion of taking part in a different crime, the kidnapping and murder of Kiyoshi Kariya, the brother of an ex-Aum member who had left the group. Despite the fact that police stations and koban (police boxes) throughout Japan have prominently displayed wanted posters of the three Aum Shinrikyo fugitives for the past 16 years, Hirata had remained at large and hadn't had plastic surgery, leading to police speculation that he must have been helped by others while on the run.
posted by Umami Dearest on Jan 1, 2012 - 22 comments

It's a window *and* a metaphor of your life!

In 1999 MTV launched Downtown, an animated slice of life show about young people in Manhattan's Lower East Side based on interviews with non-actors (Pilot part 2 part 3 ) created by animator Chris Prynoski (Daria, Beavis And Butt-head, Metalocalypse). Despite an Emmy nomination, the show was cancelled after one season (with one unaired episode). Like so many MTV shows, licensing complications prevented it from reaching DVD, meaning the only way to watch the show was to e-mail Chris directly. Until someone uploaded the entire series to Youtube.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 16, 2011 - 18 comments

Alex Cox's "Repo Man"

Alex Cox: REPO MAN was made as a "negative pickup" by Universal at the time when Bob Rehme was head of the studio. At the time, the big deal over there was STREETS OF FIRE, and nobody really noticed our film [8 MB PDF] at all. Which was lucky for us, since Bob Rehme had "green-lighted" a film which was quite unusual by studio standards. (previously)
posted by Trurl on Oct 31, 2011 - 92 comments

Animated Truth

In the 1990s, the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo ("Supreme Truth"), infamous for their gas attack on the Tokyo subway released a number (NSWF) of anime videos as a recruitment tool.
posted by griphus on Sep 6, 2011 - 17 comments

Inside The Order

One crime had been solved — but the chest of gold stolen from Patty Kingston's closet remained a mystery. The deputy heard the Brown boys knew who stole the gold — but suddenly, without explanation, they and everyone in the clan clammed up. [more inside]
posted by Ahab on Aug 7, 2011 - 17 comments

Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill!

Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill! is a blog dedicated to 'world pop cinema', and covers everything from Russian science fiction to Italian superhero films.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Jul 3, 2011 - 9 comments

Alex Cox's "Straight to Hell"

Straight to Hell is a 1987 action-comedy film directed by Alex Cox, featuring Sy Richardson, The Clash frontman Joe Strummer (after whose song the film is named), Courtney Love, Dick Rude, Dennis Hopper, Grace Jones, Elvis Costello, Xander Berkeley, Kathy Burke, Jim Jarmusch, Edward Tudor-Pole, Miguel Sandoval, as well as members of The Pogues, Amazulu and The Circle Jerks. ... While the film received almost no positive reviews, it has (like several other of Cox's films) achieved a minor cult status, largely due to its cast of musicians, many of whom have cult followings of their own. A soundtrack has been released. (previously, awesomely)
posted by Trurl on Jul 1, 2011 - 44 comments

Grape Fields to The Game

The Madness of Cesar Chavez
posted by telstar on Jun 18, 2011 - 44 comments

The Ghost of Gulliver's Kingdom

Kamikuishiki was a village in the Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan that gained unwanted international attention in 1995 as a key location for Aum Shinrikyo, the religious cult behind a number of acts of violence, including the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. To change the nature of attention given to the picturesque village, a new attraction was built on the former site of the cult complex: Gulliver's Kingdom, a mixed up theme park with a Scandinavian town, a petting zoo, a French puppet theater to tell the story of Gulliver, and a 45 meter version of Gulliver himself, pinned to the ground. The park was opened in 1997, but Niigata Chuo Bank was facing serious problems two years later, collapsing "under the weight of nonperforming loans." The theme park's owners were the largest borrowers from the bank, and the park closed in 2001. The park was finally purchased in 2002 in the 3rd auction attempt. In 2006, Kamikuishiki disappeared, divided and the parts merged into neighboring municipalities. The next year, Gulliver's Kingdom was demolished, leaving behind photos (new and old), and memories.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 6, 2011 - 4 comments

Beat the Devil

"Beat the Devil" went straight from box office flop to cult classic and has been called the first camp movie, although Bogart, who sank his own money into it, said, "Only phonies like it." It's a movie that was made up on the spot; Huston tore up the original screenplay on the first day of filming, flew the young Truman Capote to Ravallo, Italy, to crank out new scenes against a daily deadline and allowed his supporting stars, especially Robert Morley and Peter Lorre, to create dialogue for their own characters. (Capote spoke daily by telephone with his pet raven, and one day when the raven refused to answer he flew to Rome to console it, further delaying the production.) - Roger Ebert's Great Movies
posted by Trurl on May 22, 2011 - 21 comments

Juju Apple, Voodoo Apple

Looks like FOX News called it -- UK neuroscientists now suggest that the brains of Apple devotees are stimulated by Apple imagery in the same way that the brains of religious people are stimulated by religious imagery.
posted by hermitosis on May 19, 2011 - 162 comments

"What I wanted was to create a prophet"

"I wanted to do a movie that would give the people that took LSD at that time the hallucinations that you get with that drug, but without hallucinating. I did not want LSD to be taken, I wanted to fabricate the drug's effect." - Alejandro Jodorowsky's Dune (previously) is to be the subject of a new documentary.
posted by Artw on May 16, 2011 - 32 comments

Liquid Sky

It’s about time people started rendering unto Liquid Sky. Its long lipstick trace is smudged through much of indie cinema. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on May 11, 2011 - 69 comments

I am not a Rajneesh

"The tale is stranger than fiction." begins the opening line of The Oregonians retrospective "Rajneeshees in Oregon The Untold Story." The cult, began by sex guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh came to a self-rule a rural part of Oregon that battled with the native residents of the area. The conflict lead to a bio-terror attack on the residents of The Dalles to sway the outcome of a local election, global manhunts, and jail. [more inside]
posted by wcfields on Apr 18, 2011 - 97 comments

Abode of Peace

The Santiniketan Park Association, known informally as "The Family" was a group founded around 1964 after Dr. Raynor Carey Johnson began hosting regular meetings of a religious and philosophical discussion group led by the yoga teacher Anne Hamilton-Byrne on his property on the outskirts Melbourne, Australia. The group began to recruit potential new members from Newhaven Hospital, a private psychiatric hospital, owned and managed by Marion Villimek, a Santiniketan member, and staffed by other Santiniketans psychiatrists who would administer LSD to patients. [more inside]
posted by wcfields on Mar 29, 2011 - 23 comments

We’re Tearing the Heart Out of Saturday Night!

"Let's do those drive-in totals. We have: Nineteen dead bodies (plus fragments). Ten breasts (shame on you, TNT censors). Two zombie breasts. One-hundred twenty-five zombies. Mummy dogs. One-half zombie dog. Ten gallons blood. Brain-eating. Gratuitous embalming. Zombie fu. Nekkid punk-rocker fondue. Gratuitous midget zombie. Torso S&M. One motor vehicle chase (totalled by zombies). Pool cue fu. No aardvarking. Heads roll. Brains roll. Arms roll. Hands roll. Joe Bob says, Check It Out." Only on MonsterVision. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 3, 2011 - 31 comments

It's really, really not lupus.

Nobuhiko Obayashi's House (also called Hausu) has been a cult film legend pretty much since its 1977 release in Japan. As director, Obayashi alchemizes the usual horror trappings (seven pretty young girls, each defined by one personality trait, visit a mysterious aunt who lives in a creepy house in the middle of nowhere) into a glorious, barely coherent, eminently watchable fever dream. The film has been discussed by those in the know for some time, but unless one knew who to ask, or lucked into the right festival, actually seeing the movie outside of the trailer or scenes on Youtube has been a bit of a difficult task. This particular injustice has officially been remedied, in a move for which very few people were calling out, but more might have if they'd known about it: House has been released on region 1 DVD and Blu-Ray by no less an entity than the Criterion Collection, finally taking its rightful place in cinematic history alongside such films as Rashomon, The Seventh Seal, and Olivier's Hamlet. Just in time for that Halloween party! Provided you not only want your guests to be entertained but also thoroughly bewildered and maybe slightly shellshocked.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER on Oct 26, 2010 - 40 comments

It gets better.

"You think you die alone, but that's not true. Nobody is alone in this world. We have to co-exist and take care of each other." (Caution : Video contains images which some may find disturbing.) [more inside]
posted by crunchland on Oct 25, 2010 - 39 comments

"For me, the high point of the lyrics was rhyming ‘attitude’ with ‘I’ve been screwed’."

Carrie: The Musical, is legendary for closing after 5 performances and being perhaps the biggest instant flop in Broadway history. It has also achieved cult status, with fans demanding the performance rights be released (they've been held back since its Broadway closing). [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Sep 14, 2010 - 46 comments

Rich Girls Give It Away

Meet Sara and Clare Bronfman. Their father is rich. Their brother is sort of dumb. Their nephew is married to MIA. Sara is a poet, and Clare an equestrian. Now they have handed over $100 million to a cult called NXIVM.
posted by oldleada on Aug 11, 2010 - 80 comments

Eyes pop, skin explodes, everybody dead

Alex Cox, director of Repo Man and Sid and Nancy, and one-time presenter of Moviedrome, which was a cult movie education for an entire generation of British people, has posted a ton of free stuff on his site: 10000 ways to die (pdf) - his book on Spaghetti Westerns, the Moviedrome guide parts 1 and 2 (pdf), a video defence of Walker (quicktime), and much much more.
posted by Artw on Jun 18, 2010 - 50 comments

Weird Forgotten History

Before David Koresh, there was simply "Koresh." Cyrus Reed Teed was an eclectic physician from New York who experienced a "divine illumination" (Google Books) in 1869. He recruited over 200 followers to settle a utopian commune in Estero, Florida based on his revelation of a unique hollow-earth theory called the Cellular Cosomogony. Elaborate experiments showed conclusive "proof" that the world's surface was a concave sphere. Despite this, his movement failed to gain traction; relations grew increasingly strained between the Koreshans and the Lee County locals. In 1906, the aging Dr. Teed was severely beaten in a Ft. Myers street brawl (PDF, see pp. 12-14) and died from his injuries on December 22, 1908. His martyrdom sealed, the Koreshans refused to bury the remains (PDF) in the belief that their messiah would be resurrected on Christmas Day. The commune has been preserved as a state historic site where Floridians can learn more about the cult leader in their backyard. [more inside]
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis on May 13, 2010 - 14 comments

Warning: Contents May Wipe Out Civilization (Again)

For the first time ever, a look inside the most secure room in the world. Not Disney's Club 33. Not the White House Situation Room or the Gold Vault at Fort Knox. Welcome to the OT VIII Course Room aboard the Church of Scientology's flagship MV Freewinds. This room is the only place (on this planet at least) where you can read an authorized copy of Scientology's highest level.
posted by scalefree on May 7, 2010 - 62 comments

Wanna come back to my iPad?

Cupidtino is a "new social dating website exclusively for Apple fans" which launches in June. If your Cupidtino Appleationship works out, you could have a magical Apple Store Wedding! Via "Oh God No." [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 5, 2010 - 51 comments

Santa Muerte

A Saint for Lost Souls. "The barrio of Tepito, where it's said that everything is for sale except dignity, has been one of Mexico City's roughest neighborhoods since Aztec times. Famous for its black market and its boxing champions, Tepito is a place where residents learn to fight early and fight hard. These days it has also become the epicenter of Mexico's fastest-growing faith: Santa Muerte, or Holy Death, a hybrid religion that merges Catholic symbolism with pre-Hispanic worship of the skeletal Mictlantecuhtli and Mictlancihuatl, Lord and Lady of the Dead."
posted by homunculus on Apr 28, 2010 - 36 comments

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