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Holy Hell (2016)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 27 May 2016 (USA)
2:23 | Trailer

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An inside look at a West Hollywood cult formed by a charismatic teacher in the 1980s that eventually imploded.


Will Allen
4 nominations. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Amy Allen Amy Allen ... Herself
Cristala Allen Cristala Allen ... Herself
Gina Allen Gina Allen ... Herself
Will Allen ... Himself (as William Francesco Allen)
Jennifer Baca Jennifer Baca ... Herself
Alessandra Burenin Alessandra Burenin ... Herself
Vera Cheiffo Vera Cheiffo ... Herself
David Christopher ... Himself
Phillipe Coquet Phillipe Coquet ... Himself
Radhia Gleis Radhia Gleis ... Herself
Julian Goldstein Julian Goldstein ... Himself
Jamie Simone Gomez Jamie Simone Gomez ... Michel / Andreas / Reyji - Buddhafield cult leader (archive footage)
Greg Gorey Greg Gorey ... Himself
Murti Hower Murti Hower ... Himself
Chris Johnston Chris Johnston ... Himself


An inside look at a West Hollywood cult formed by a charismatic teacher in the 1980s that eventually imploded.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

27 May 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kulten fra Californien See more »

Filming Locations:

Oahu, Hawaii, USA


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,730, 3 June 2016

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Director Will Allen has stated that after he left the cult in 2007, he suffered an existential crisis. After considering making a film out of his experiences with the cult to heal from the trauma, he attended the Sundance Film festival and became inspired after viewing Keep the Lights On (2012) and sought ways to make his film. In the following four years, he worked on and developed the documentary. See more »


Chris Johnston: 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...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing song written and performed by _Cabot Budlong_ former member for 20 years. Abused, still surviving... See more »


References Jaws (1975) See more »


Chasing Cars
Written by Gary Lightbody, Paul Wilson
Performed by Snow Patrol
Courtesy of Interscope Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A Little Eyeliner Goes a Long Way
5 September 2016 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

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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