The top 10 movie cult leaders

The top 10 movie cult leaders. By Simon Miraudo.

People of Earth, lend us your ears! This week, we’re honouring John Hawkes‘ performance as the seductively creepy Patrick in Martha Marcy May Marlene (now showing in Australian cinemas) by donning white frocks, guzzling Kool-Aid, and bowing before the 10 greatest cult leaders in movie history. Those of you easily persuaded by weird, charming, dangerous types – this is the list for you!

10. Abin Cooper in Red State

Michael Parks‘ grandfatherly Pastor Abin Cooper and his congregation at the Five Points Trinity Church (populated almost exclusively by his incestuously spawned offspring) spend their leisure time picketing funerals, executing sexual “degenerates”, and trying to bring about an early rapture. But boy, can he spin a yarn!

9. Mademoiselle in Martyrs

Many who attempt to watch Pascal Laugier‘s hypnotic Martyrs don’t make it to the end, and with good reason (specifically, it probably being the most gut-churningly violent film ever made). A shame though, seeing as they’d miss the appearance of religious ringleader Mademoiselle in the final act, where she reveals the supposedly righteous reason for the torture of the young woman in the film. We won’t spoil it here – though the title is a big hint – nor will we give away the ambiguous ending. If you have the constitution, give it a watch.

8. Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins

Now here’s a cult we can get on board with! Liam Neeson‘s Ghul has an entire army of ninjas at his disposal. Sure, he wants to poison the city of Gotham, but how do you say no to a man with such impressively maintained facial hair?

7. Chief of the Waponis in Joe vs. The Volcano

Joe vs. The Volcano may be remembered only as a notorious flop, but it’s also a wonderful movie about love and faith starring America’s sweethearts Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan (playing three separate characters). It also features Abe Vigoda as chief of an ancient tribe (composed of Polynesian/Roman/Celt/Jew hybrids) who believe a human sacrifice to their island volcano will save them from destruction. He’s almost right, too!

6. Sister Summerisle in The Wicker Man

Of course Christopher Lee‘s performance as Lord Summerisle in the original Wicker Man should take preference over Ellen Burstyn‘s in the bonkers 2006 remake. But, as we note week after week, if there is even a slight possibility of including a Nicolas Cage film in a top 10, it will be included.

5. Stephen Meek in Meek’s Cutoff

The players in Kelly Reichardt‘s Meek’s Cutoff may not seem like they’re part of a cult, but considering they’ve been duped by charismatic Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood) to follow him across the Oregon trail towards “the promised land”, it’s hard to deny their religious zealotry.

4. Guru Pitka in The Love Guru

No, it wasn’t a fever dream. The Love Guru actually exists, and it stars Mike Myers as an insane, well, love guru with a legion of followers including Val Kilmer, Jessica Simpson and Mariska Hargitay. It’s one of the worst movies ever made. You have to see it.

3. Brian in Life of Brian

Brian may not be the messiah, but he certainly picks up plenty of adoring worshippers over the course of his life. Reluctant until the very end, at least he still shared some powerful insights: “Give me your shoe!

2. Morpheus in The Matrix Reloaded

Yes, yes, Neo is ‘The One’. But could Neo inspire his people to get freaky at a pansexual, anything-goes rave in the city of Zion? We didn’t think so. Morpheus is ‘The Man’.

1. Minnie Castevet in Rosemary’s Baby

Ruth Gordon won an Oscar for playing the kindly (if annoying) neighbour to Mia Farrow‘s Rosemary in Roman Polanski‘s horror classic. At first she seems to have Rosemary’s best interest at heart … until it’s revealed she’s hosting a Satanic throwdown in her apartment, and arranged for the Devil to impregnate the innocent young woman. We figure even Beelzebub was a little afraid of Minnie.

Discuss: OK, who did we miss?

4 Responses to “The top 10 movie cult leaders”

  1. How about Charles Gray as Mocata in The Devil Rides Out? He always looked a villian and this film gave him a chance to be one linked with the devil. I guess most folks know him as Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever.

  2. You missed Antony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lectet in The Silence of the Lambs…

    • i agree lu how could that 1 ever be missed. heres an old old cape fear with robert de nero ,he was as crazy as hell and scary on that boat

  3. guys what about the devilish little child cult in Children of the Corn.the original not the crap remake

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