Premiering Thursday December 3 on HBO Max, the highly anticipated four-part docuseries is about the infamous '90s cult Heaven's Gate. The cults most infamous event happened on March 26, 1997, when 39 men and women wearing matching all-black tracksuits and Nike Decades were found dead in a San Diego mansion. The Clay Tweel-directed Heaven's Gate: The Cult of Cults uses footage and first-person accounts to explain how the bizarre cult came to be and how its founders brainwashed so many well-educated people into participating in the largest mass suicide on U.S. soil.
In the trailer, we see footage of Heaven's Gate leaders Marshall "Do" Applewhite and Bonnie "Ti" Nettles, who convinced people that they had been sent to help them leave behind their human bodies, turn into aliens, and take a ride on literal UFOs to heaven. A handful of former followers explain the inner workings of the cult, and how the leaders gave them "the tools to literally wash out our human-ness from [their] brains."
The documentary will go more in-depth on the cult's origins and their core beliefs — that Earth would be “recycled” by the year 2027 (*checks watch*), and that their only salvation would be to climb aboard the aforementioned UFO following closely behind the Hale-Bopp comet, which would come closest to Earth in 1997. Once aboard, they would travel to a "Kingdom of Heaven" in outer space. If this seems way too far-out to be true, just ask the four people who are very much alive and still consider themselves members of Heaven's Gate. Or, you can study up on the cult through the 10-episode "Heaven's Gate" podcast before the series drops.
Ah yes, just in time for the holidays.