This week, Amy Berg’s Prophet’s Prey, a provocative documentary about Warren Jeffs and his abusive hold over the FLDS church, makes its theatrical debut (it will also air on Showtime October 10). Usually described as a polygamist cult leader, Jeffs is a frightening figure who has already been given the Lifetime movie treatment, with other fictional portrays surely to come.
Although their horrors are disturbingly real, true-life cult leaders like Charles Manson have inspired a slew of genre films (and documentaries) that exploit news headlines about sex and mayhem for the nail-biting masses. But Old Scratch has also provided the narrative for a number of films about cults. As the Satanic panic swept through the late 1970s into the early ‘90s, movies about secret Satanic cults surfaced, terrorizing audiences. Here are just a few films that feature creepy cults at their center.