quarantine stream heaven's gate

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Series: Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults

Where You Can Stream It: HBO Max

The Pitch: A docuseries that examines Heaven’s Gate, a UFO cult with 39 members who died by mass suicide in 1997.

Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: There’s a lot of cognitive dissonance going on right now. Based on various polls, nearly half the country can’t agree with the other half. The post-election situation we find ourselves in have people fully convinced of full-blown, completely debunked conspiracy theories. How does that happen? How do people succumb to this kind of thinking? Heaven’s Gate has some answers, and some sympathy.

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Heaven's Gate The Cult of Cults Trailer

People love cults. There are numerous reasons why, but it can’t be denied that it’s very easy for some individuals to get swept up in that cult mentality – be it Jim Jones, Scientology, the Rajneeshpuram community, the Branch Davidians, or Trumpism. And sadly, more often than not, cults can end in disaster and death. Such was the case with Heaven’s Gate, a group founded in the 1970s by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles. The members of Heaven’s Gate believed they were destined to leave Earth and ascend on a spaceship to another world, and in 1997, things came to a horrific end when 39 members of the group died in a mass suicide. The Heaven’s Gate story is chronicled in the new HBO Max docuseries Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults. Watch the trailer below.

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