A charismatic leader founds a commune in Los Angeles in the early '70s based on natural food, spiritual practices and psychedelic rock. This short-lived era is recreated with archival material and the memories of participants.
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Journalism icon Gay Talese reports on Gerald Foos, the owner of a Colorado motel, who allegedly secretly watched his guests with the aid of specially designed ceiling vents, peering down from an "observation platform" he built in the motel's attic.
The twisting, turning, stranger-than-fiction true story of the Brobergs, a naive, church-going Idaho family that fell under the spell of a sociopathic neighbor with designs on their twelve-year-old daughter.
At the very beginning of the documentary, as Will Allen narrates about his younger life and wanting to know all things spiritual, a stack of books is shown. The book on top is titled "A Handbook of Concepts for Living" and it was published in 1981, by Campus Crusade for Christ International, an evangelical Christian ministry. See more »
There's this social interplay that happens between highly codependent people and pathological narcissists. Who is going to give a person who needs constant adoration and attention, who is going to give that to them, ceaselessly? Somebody who relies on him as the source of their self-esteem. And they'll say, "You seem like a normal, rational, intelligent human being. How did this happen to you?"... It's what we do every time we come into a religion. We take on their beliefs as truth. You will do...
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Closing song written and performed by _Cabot Budlong_ former member for 20 years. Abused, still surviving... See more »
In 1985, a film student graduate joins a Southern California cult of spiritually enlightened and very good looking young men and women. The group is called "Buddhafield" and is run by a muscular, charismatic ex-actor. This leader has several names; mostly, he is identified as Michel. The cinematographer is the narrator and director of this very documentary, Will Allen. As you might guess, hypnotic Michel provides group members with an otherwise unattainable link to God. After 22 years with Michel and the group, Mr. Allen leaves the group to obtain even greater enlightenment by producing this film. It is a fascinating look at this cult, its leader and their activities. We are fortunate Allen was allowed to capture so much and finally break free from the group. It ends with a look at Michel today and (if you see CNN's airing) even includes a final statement from the Godly leader...
"Holy Hell" is most valuable due to Allen's surviving film and video footage. While it provides insight and is engaging throughout, the story is not satisfying in one important respect. We are told, but do not see the appeal of Michel. This man, slightly older than the average group member, is not as mysterious as he is obvious. "The Master" saunters around in a protruding, jock strapped-up Speedo. Michel works out, dances and sports carefully applied make-up. He's tanned, tightened and glistens. Michel positively screams warning signs. Very loudly. His connection to "Rosemary's Baby" (1968) startles, but his eventually exposed shocking secret comes as no big surprise. We assume Allen and his peers were susceptible people with severe emotional problems because Michel would send almost anyone else running for the hills. It's great they are free and good luck to them.
******* Holy Hell (1/25/2016) Will Allen ~ Michel Gomez, Will Allen, Dimitrius Pulido, David Christopher
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