A new documentary on Jim Jones and the notorious Jonestown massacre is set to be released next month to mark the 40th anniversary of America‘s biggest mass-suicide – the one at the hands of the destructive cult, The Peoples Temple that saw the deaths of over 900 people.
Jonestown: Terror In The Jungle is a four-parter doco to be aired over two nights by Sundance Now. Co-produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, the doco goes through the creation and spread of The Peoples Temple in California in the 1970s, where Reverend Jim Jones began preaching “apostolic socialism” through evangelical Christian-style sermons.
Look, I’m just as fascinated as cults as the rest of you true-crime-loving lot so this is extremely in my interests. I’m going to watch this whole thing in one sitting, I can tell.
Based on the best-selling investigative journalism by Jeff Guinn, the doco blends interviews with Jones family members and people who existed within the cult before the massacre in 1978, unheard recordings from the FBI, previously classified documents, and recreations of events and life inside Jonestown in Georgetown, Guyana, where the cult relocated to begin a “socialist paradise” away from the mounting attention of the media.
As The Peoples Temple progressed and grew, Jim Jones grew more dangerous with his power and influence, and would repeatedly manipulate and emotionally break down his followers through various torture methods, and convincing them to routinely drink cordial that he said was laced with cyanide in mock “revolutionary suicide” rehearsals known as “White Nights“. Jones saw these as tests of loyalty from the followers of the Temple.
The most creepy part of the trailer for me is the short grabs from people who were in the grips of the cult but managed to get the hell out of there before the fateful day in 1978. Hearing quotes like “They were convinced that this man is God” and “The more power he got, the darker the story got” just makes the pits of my stomach churn, it’s almost surreal to know that this is part of modern history.
It’s where the term “drink the Kool-Aid” comes from, and eventually, lead to the biggest death of American citizens that would only be surpassed by the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre.
Jonestown: Terror In The Jungle is set to premiere on November 17 in the US, and is looking like it’ll be premiered in Australia in late December when AMC launches two new streaming platforms in Aus, Sundance Now and horror-centric service, Shudder.
Check out the trailer below, and get ready to sign up to another streaming service to binge watch this over Christmas. I know I will.
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