The Video Nasties #34 – Suicide Cult (1975, James Glickenhaus)


‘It’s been five months, for God’s sake make love to me!’

There’s a sequence towards the end of Suicide Cult where a government agent/astrologer attempts to assassinate a cult leader by shooting him with a tranquilliser dart and attaching electrodes to his head. Using these electrodes, she plans to transmit footage she shot earlier of a body double of the cultist killing himself, in the hopes that the leader will wake up and also try to kill himself using a knife that she has covered in poison.

What. The. Eff.


Don’t get too excited though, as is the closest Suicide Cult gets to anything even remotely resembling action. It’s one of the most relentlessly talky, confusing, poorly scripted and downright boring movies on the list, and yes, that’s including I Miss You, Hugs and Kisses.


It shouldn’t have been like this. I was really looking forward to watching Suicide Cult, as director James Glickenhaus was responsible for such trashy action classics as The Exterminator and Jackie Chan’s The Protector, but none of his schlocky excesses are in evidence here apart from a reliance on stock footage of real life corpses, which is always a sure way to kill any sense of fun or entertainment in your movie.

If this movie reminds me of anything, it’s a conspiracy episode from late period X-Files. Like those, Suicide Cult opens with footage of space and the sun while an impenetrable monologue drones on in the background, something about ‘Alexie’ and ‘InterZod’ and ‘the second coming’ and ‘zodiacal potential’.


See, the film is about a scientist called Alexie who has turned astrology into an exact science, and using someone’s birthday can tell whether they are going to lead a good or a bad life. When Alexie tracks down the Virgin Mary’s birth certificate (!) he discovers that either his virginal wife or a sinister Indian cultist may be the second coming…


Somewhere in there is a terrific plot about religious horror, the apocalypse, the birth of the Anti-Christ and a top secret government cabal trying to stop them. It should be a thrilling globe trotting adventure, but instead we get men in suits talking to each other. Sometimes they’re in a bar. Sometimes they’re in an office. One time, in a rare highlight, they sit and talk on a plane. For a desperate race against time, no one seems to want to do anything. Again, it feels very like a filler X-Files episode, lots of shadowy men discussing world-ending conspiracies in hushed tones.


Thankfully – thankfully – there is the cult leader himself, Kajerste. He’s barely in the film, but anytime he is things pick up considerably. This is a guy with such a following, he even has a man to pull his pants down for him before he has sex with a sacrificial virgin as part of a weird slow motion sex-magic ritual. Later he makes a woman stab herself in literally the only bit of violence in the whole movie. Despite his potential for bringing about the end of the world, he’s arguably still preferable to his counterpart Kate, who’s introduced to us visiting a fortune teller. The fortune teller tells Kate that she must strip away her pretences and asks her to take all her clothes off, which Kate dutifully does! Come on Kate, don’t fall for that, it’s the oldest trick in the pervert book! You’re supposed to be the second coming of Christ or somethin’, try and demonstrate some street smarts.

One of the more inexplicable inclusions on the Section 3 list, I can only assume some dum-dum saw the word Suicide and figured it would encourage children to hypnotise each other into stabbing themselves with poisoned knives. There’s also a moment that would be severely frowned upon post 9/11, where our hero Alexie makes a joke about an airplane crashing into the LA Coliseum during Super Bowl and gets a big laugh out of his class. Alexie you bastard, you have a zodiacal potential machine! You could have stopped it!

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