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Guyana: Cult of the Damned (1979)

Guyana: Crime of the Century (original title)
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.


René Cardona Jr.


René Cardona Jr. (screenplay), René Cardona Jr. (story) | 2 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Stuart Whitman ... Reverend James Johnson
Gene Barry ... Congressman Leo Ryan
John Ireland ... Dave Cole
Joseph Cotten ... Richard Gable
Bradford Dillman ... Dr. Gary Shaw
Jennifer Ashley Jennifer Ashley ... Anna Kazan
Yvonne De Carlo ... Susan Ames
Nadiuska ... Leslie Stevens
Tony Young ... Ron Harvey
Erika Carlsson Erika Carlsson ... Marilyn Johnson
Robert DoQui ... Oliver Ross
Hugo Stiglitz ... Cliff Robson
Carlos East ... Mike Sheldon
Eduardo Bea Eduardo Bea ... Reporter
Juan Luis Galiardo ... Reporter


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


It's an unauthorized version of the Jonestown story, so many names were changed. Jim Jones is called "James Johnson." See more »

Alternate Versions

Previously released DVD only has a running time of 107 mins. The punishment of the kids is shortened, the male rape scene is shortened and many other violent scenes seem to be abridged. There is no information on the DVD indicating that it has been cut. On the cover, the running time is presented as if it was the uncut Mexican version (115mins. See more »


Referenced in Citizen Shane (2004) See more »


Time To Love
Written by Alfredo Diaz Ordaz
Performed by Robertha
See more »

User Reviews

Another slice of horror exploitation from the makers of SURVIVE!
18 August 2001 | by virek213See all my reviews

From the Mexican film crew that gave us the infamous 1976 exploitation flick SURVIVE! comes the equally disgusting GUYANA: CULT OF THE DAMNED, loosely (and I do mean LOOSELY) based on the events leading up to the Rev. Jim Jones leading more than 900 of his cult followers to a cyanide-laced death in the Guyana rainforest. Only this time, however, the filmmakers managed to bribe a lot of big names to play real people whose names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty. Gene Barry, John Ireland, Stuart Whitman, Yvonne DeCarlo, and a whole host of others can hardly call this either one's shining hour.

But just as SURVIVE! necessitated the making of ALIVE, CULT OF THE DAMNED would be followed (inevitably, and much sooner) by the superb 2-part TV film GUYANA TRAGEDY: THE STORY OF JIM JONES. This film is simply nothing more than gruesome horror exploitation that even slasher film exploiters in the American market would have had a hard time stomaching.

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English | Spanish

Release Date:

25 January 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Guyana: Cult of the Damned See more »

Filming Locations:

Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,668,965, 27 January 1980

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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