All horror movie fans will have seen cults on screen before - from the classic Satanic cult in Rosemary's Baby and The Wicker Man to more modern incarnations in The Sacrament and Martha Marcy May Marlene, cults make darn fine horror movies. The reality, however, is always more chilling.
Check out 5 of the sickest, most lethal cults to ever disgrace this Earth...
1. The Order of the Solar Temple
Location: Quebec, 1994
Leaders: Joseph Di Mambro and Luc Jouret
A baffling mix of Christianity, occultism and New Age wafflings, the Solar Temple hid a horrendous secret of murder and sadism in Morin Heights, Quebec. Di Mambro insisted that 3-year-old Emmanuel Dutoit was the Antichrist, stabbing him to death with a stake.
The Solar Temple had branches in different countries, too - 53 members in Switzerland were found dead in 1994, their corpses draped in black robes and arranged into a star formation. 15 cultists committed suicide in Vercors, France soon afterwards. Uncannily enough, rumor has it that the group still exists, in secret, in the wilds of Quebec...
2. The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God
Location: Uganda, 2000
Leader: Paulo Kashaku
The snappily titled The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God were a Ugandan doomsday cult - not, I'm guessing, the cheeriest of places to be. Sex and soap were banned, and the group were so frightened of bearing false witness - and thus breaking the 9th commandment - that they rarely spoke.
Hundreds of people were killed in a fire at the cult's headquarters in Kanungu, Uganda in what was thought to be a mass suicide - until the bodies were inspected, and evidence of strangulation and poisoning changed the verdict to murder.
Location: South Korea, 1987
Leader: Park Soon-ja
Park fooled hundreds of people into thinking that she was their 'benevolent mother,' telling them that the corrupt world would be obliterated and only she could secure their place in heaven. Her followers performed free labor in her factory in rural Yongin, South Korea, making trinkets to sell to tourists, adding yet more cash to the estimated $8.7million she'd already conned out of her devotees.
When police investigated Park's factory in Yongin, they found over 30 dead bodies with ropes or fabric around their necks, the ground littered with pill containers. It seems that the cultists had committed ritualistic suicide.
4. The Godfather of Matamoros
Location: Mexico City, 1989
Leader: Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo
If you're looking for a deranged leader of a deadly cult, you couldn't do any worse than drug dealer and serial killer Constanzo. He boasted of psychic powers, pledging his soul to Kadiempembe, a deity of the West African Palo Mayombe religion. After chopping up rival drug runners and using their body parts in his rituals, Constanzo opened his Rancho Santa Elena, his HQ.
He soon upped his human sacrifice quotient, demanding his victims 'must die screaming.' When police raided the ranch, they found over 14 human bodies in different stages of dismemberment - but Constanzo had escaped, forcing one of his followers to shoot him to evade capture.
5. Los Hermanos Hernández
Location: Yerba Buena, Mexico, 1963
Leaders: Brothers Santos and Cayetano Hernández
Somehow, the Hernández brothers convinced over 50 villagers that they were priests of ancient gods who demanded appeasement gifts of sex and money, even bringing their accomplices, prostitute Magdalena Solis and her pimp brother Eleazar along as 'deities.'
The Hernández brothers' 'rituals' became more bizarre and sadistic, beating 8 people to death and making other villagers drink their blood. The cult were finally raided by police when a small boy ran away - the child was so frightened, he fled over 17 miles to the next town to tell cops what he saw. The brothers died before they were captured.
Do you think you could ever fall prey to a cult?
Sources: Crime Library