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Guyana: Cult of the Damned (1979)
"Guyana: Crime of the Century" (original title)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  25 January 1980 (USA)
5.3
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 308 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 22 critic

Reverend Jim Jones, the priest of an independent church in the South American country Guyana, orders his followers to commit suicide. But not all of them follow him blindly and begin to think on their own.

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Title: Guyana: Cult of the Damned (1979)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Congressman Leo Ryan
...
Dave Cole
...
Richard Gable
...
Dr. Gary Shaw
Jennifer Ashley ...
Anna Kazan
...
Susan Ames
Nadiuska ...
Leslie Stevens
Tony Young ...
Ron Harvey
Erika Carlsson ...
Marilyn Johnson
...
Oliver Ross
Hugo Stiglitz ...
Cliff Robson
Carlos East ...
Mike Sheldon
Eduardo Bea ...
Reporter
Juan Luis Galiardo ...
Reporter
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Storyline

This horrific dramatization of the Guyana tragedy traces the steps of Reverend Jim Jones, a highly charismatic, but profoundly paranoid clergyman, who after years of evangelism and good deeds, begins his own church in the mid-western United States. When Jim Jones becomes increasingly obsessed with the belief that the CIA is "a wicked enemy" who is out to get him, he emigrates with his congregation to Guyana, where he plans to create a utopia. But Jim Jones' utopia consists of a society where he demands his followers turn their minds, bodies and possessions over to him, one that is rife with orgies, physical violence, mental torture, and sexual abuse of children and adults. Ultimately, Jim Jones' paranoia reaches a fevered pitch that culminates in him taking savage action against his own congregation. Written by VCI Home Video

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The movie that dares to tell the truth behind the most shocking crime of the century!

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Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

25 January 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Guyana: Cult of the Damned  »

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Written by Alfredo Diaz Ordaz
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User Reviews

 
Mexican/Spanish production dealing with dramatization of the Jonestown tragedy where cult followers committed mass suicide
21 June 2015 | by (Santander Spain) – See all my reviews

Based upon the true story of Jim Jones , as it traces the steps of this peculiar Reverend , a highly charismatic, but profoundly paranoid clergyman , a self-proclaimed prophet of an independent church in the South American country Guyana . In the 1960s , he began as an idealist helping minorities and working against racism . After years of evangelism and good deeds , begins his own church in the mid-western United States . Later on , he increased his power and attention , and Jim Jones became focused on his belief in nuclear holocaust . When Jim Jones (Stuart Whitman) becomes increasingly obsessed with the belief that the CIA is "a wicked enemy" who is out to get him, he emigrates with his congregation to Guyana , where he plans to create an utopia . He had a loyal following of about 1000 people, who had donated their entire life savings to him to join his commune . Being accompanied by a team of advocates (Joseph Cotten , John Ireland) and fanatic supporters (Yvonne De Carlo , Bradford Dillman , Jennifer Ashley , Robert DoQui) . But Jim Jones' utopia consists of a society where he demands his followers turn their minds , bodies and possessions over to him one that is rife with torture of children , sexual relations between kiddies and adults , and other awful happenings . When possible illegal activities came to the attention of the authorities , Congressmen (Gene Barry) and reporters (Juan Luis Galiardo , Armando Calvo ,Hugo Stiglitz , Carlos East) , they started to investigate . Rather that faces the charges , Jim Jones committed suicide , and convinced virtually all of his followers to do the same . But not all of them follow him blindly and begin to think on their own.

This film titled Guyana: Crime of the Century" or "Guyana: Cult of the Damned" results to be a below average version about the real story of the Peoples Temple cult led by Rev. Jim Jones and the events involving its move to Guyana and its eventual mass suicide . It is a lack luster drama that explores the nasty activities carried out by Jim Jones , relying heavily on sensationalistic aspects , eerie images full of nudism and exploitation such as physical violence, orgies , mental torture , sexual abuse of children and many other things . Ultimately , Jim Jones' paranoia reaches a fevered pitch that culminates in him taking savage action against his own congregation . The dialogue used in the mass suicide/murder scene near the end of the film was taken almost word-for-word from an audio-cassette found in a portable tape recorder under Jim Jones' chair ; the tape recorder had weak batteries and was running at a much slower than normal speed, allowing the entire event to be recorded . The flick features many strong scenes , among them the preaching masses of Jones , a gloomy spectacle to watch when Jim Jones/Stuart Whitman is quite commanding in those last moments when the astonishing slaughter happens . Nice acting by Stuart Whitman as the priest who orders his followers to commit suicide , he gives an acceptable acting and captures the sinister evil that was Jim Jones . Support cast is pretty well , plenty of old Hollywood familiar faces such as Gene Barry , John Ireland , Joseph Cotten , Bradford Dillman , Yvonne De Carlo and Spanish actors such as Juan Luis Galiardo , Eduardo Bea , Armando Calvo , Nadiuska , among others .

This horrific retelling of the Guyana tragedy was regularly directed by Rene Cardona Jr . He was a Mexican director and writer, expert on all kinds of genres with a penchant for Terror , adventure and exploitation ; being especially known for The Treasure of the Amazon (1985) , The Bermudas Triangle (1978) , ¡Tintorera! (1977) , Cycone , Fantastic Balloon Voyage , Under Siege , The Night of a Thousand Cats , Survivors of Andes , Beaks , Carlos the terrorist and this : Guayana, El Crimen del Siglo (1979) . It was followed by another American rendition titled ¨Guyana Tragedy : The Story of Jim Jones¨ (TV , 1980) by William A Graham with Powers Boothe as Rev. Jim Jones , Ned Beatty, Diane Ladd , Diane Scarwid , Ron O'Neal , Irene Cara , Veronica Cartwright , Rosalind Cash , Brad Dourif and Meg Foster .


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