Here’s a fun fact – I love cults. I say that in the way people say “I love murder”, like My Favourite Murder podcast-style – not that I condone the horrific acts often involved in them, more that they just fascinate me and I can’t get enough doco/podcast/wikipedia hole info on them.
There’s just something enthralling about the way a cult forms, develops into a seemingly pure utopia of wholesome ideals, then crumbles spectacularly and implodes on itself.
I’m calling it that cults will be the new “true crime” across podcasts and docos. And Wild, Wild Country, the latest Netflix darling to generate mass hype, will definitely be one of the doco series’ that kicks this trend into high gear.
Focusing on the 1980’s religious community called The Rajneesh Movement, led by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, and Indian guru/mystic who bought 64,000 acres of land in the middle of Oregon to build his own city.
The city, named Rajneeshpuram, was 7,000 people strong within 3 years, and had it’s own fire department, police, restaurants, shopping centres, airstrip, and public transport system. Unsurprisingly, this development of a self-sustaining town led to increased tensions with surrounding neighbourhoods outside of the movement.
The less you know about the movement, the tensions, and it’s leader going into the documentary series the better – but basically, what starts as an idyllic lifestyle built on the foundations of selflessness and inclusivity swiftly deteriorates into poisonings, arson and domestic terrorism.
It’s a truly fascinating series of events that make for an edge-of-your-seat doco series. It’s no surprise this one was official selection at Sundance this year. Get on it now before everyone’s talking about it, yeah?