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So you want to join a cult?

Contributed by
May 30, 2018

So you saw that cults have been back in the news lately and now you want to join one. Maybe you watched the Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country, or you're a big fan of Smallville’s Allison Mack, or maybe you just heard that cults and stardom go together like creep and factor.

Well, we’re here to facilitate your cult selection. We’ve brought together the finest offering of cults in the ‘verse (well, in all ‘verses) and we think we can find the right one for you. Take a stroll, talk to the devotees, and just make sure to fill out your form correctly at the end. Remember, we need all nine digits of your social security number and some bone marrow to hold your spot.

The Church of Gibborim (Marvel’s Runaways)

You want fancy red robes? Ours are the fanciest. You want secretive basement rituals? We have basements that go on for days. You want to appear like everything is normal and be the center of the philanthropic community? We have straight up benefits where you can dress nice, drink booze, and schmooze with the best of them.

I’m not gonna pretend like there aren’t downsides. There are always downsides. But in our cult, you don’t have to be the one who experiences them. We can offer you wealth and good health. Hell, some of our members even get eternal life. The price? We just kill a homeless kid once a year. It’s really not that big of a deal. We shove them in a glowing seed shaped container and then poof they are absorbed by the light. Talk about eco-friendly! No waste at all! We’re basically composting unwanted children.

Hey, we might serve some unseen mega-giant former gods, but we might not. We might be sacrificing all of humanity to save only our six children, but we might not. Our robes might be made of velour, but they might not. You’ll have to go ultra before you’re privy to all this juicy ‘sip, but don’t worry, we always have an open seat in the pod. - S.E. Fleenor, Gibborim Novitiate

The Hand (Marvel)

If you’re shopping around for a good cult to join, might I suggest The Hand from the Marvel Universe? You know, the super secret (OK, that might not be strictly accurate since you’re reading this) society of ninjas that Elektra and Daredevil have fought against, but have sometimes been involved in. It’s no fly-by-night cult that’s going to disappear and leave you to explain your ninja outfit to your parents. The Hand has been around since 1588.

Oh, yes I did say ninjas. Secret. Ninja. Cult. Pretty hard to resist, right? If you join The Hand, you’re going to get some pretty badass training in ninja skills. (Maybe take a ninjutsu class first so you have the basics. The Hand is pretty picky.) As a Hand ninja, you can sneak in and out of places silently, which is useful for getting past your parents when you’re trying to get back into your room at 4 AM.

The very best cults have fun group activities to foster bonding and The Hand definitely has the coolest ones. For instance, extracting fossilized dragons from under Manhattan! Can the Jedi Order say that? We’ve also got some great evil networking opportunities. Some members of The Hand actually started HYRDA, so there are a lot of chances for you to move up through the ranks.

The Hand serves an entity called “The Beast of the Hand,” which is pretty much the best boss name ever. If you’re choosing a cult, that’s an important thing to consider. You don’t want to end up serving someone named Pete or Bob or Margaret.

The biggest benefit to joining The Hand, however, is that, if you screw up a mission and die, they can bring you back. Even better? If you become a zombie, you’re going to be a good-looking one. No crumbly skin or loss of limbs here. Look at Elektra! She’s come back a whole bunch and she looks great! You can just keep getting resurrected without loss of skin elasticity.

Join The Hand today! - Jenna Busch, Esq., undead ninja

Tanz Dance Academy (Suspiria)

Hello!

Thank you for your interest in the Tanz Dance Academy. Located in beautiful Freiburg, Germany, the school was founded in 1853 and has become known worldwide as the foremost institution at which to study ballet. Many famous dancers have trained here and gone on to have illustrious careers in the world of dance.

As you know, we've had a few spots open up recently via our American Exchange Scholarship, and we're pleased to say, we've accepted your application and would like to invite you to attend our prestigious institution. Upon arrival, you'll be greeted by vice-directress Madame Blanc, who will be happy to show you around the premises. Your primary instructor will be Miss Tanner, who has been with us for over 30 years.

We offer on-site dormitories, in which you'll be paired with one other student. Meals are provided by us and suited to your specific needs. Only the best and brightest are welcomed at the Academy, and it's in our best interest to provide you with the sustenance you need to be a successful student.

We will warn you, our classes and regimes are incredibly strict, and only the best, most talented dancers will thrive. If you have any doubts or second thoughts about your dedication or skill, we urge you to reconsider your plans to attend our Academy. Many are the students that applied believing themselves to be ready for a career in dance, only to drop out before graduation. In fact, many of them are still missing to this day, likely too ashamed of their failure even to contact their friends or family. Simply put, ballet is not for the faint of heart. We encourage you to look within yourself and ask the question, “Am I truly Tanz material?”

If so, we look forward to seeing you here.

Fondly,

Headmistress Helena Markos

Dictated but not read: Sara Century, Academy instructor

Sisterhood of Karn (Doctor Who)

Do you long to chant around a Sacred Flame? Do you want to drink from the immortality-granting Elixir of Life? Do you want to dress in all the fancy red robes and adornments of jewelry that linger in the BBC costume closet from every Roman period piece, but also, like, in space? Then my friends, the Sisterhood of Karn is for you. You’d hardly even miss your home planet, choosing instead to thrive in your exile among a society of only women. Think of Karn as the chill Themyscira, and the Sisterhood as the Amazons without having to do all that cardio. Plus when not chanting and rocking those reds, we also get to hang with the Doctor on occasion, and not just the Doctor, but the objective best Doctors, Tom Baker, Paul McGann, and Peter Capaldi, don’t @ me. And we’re not talking some lame hang time where the Doctor shows up and then we all die and he’s all sad and sorry. We get to be sassy with him, we’re so intense that we get to hide him when he’s scared. Heck, we even help the showrunner out of the corner he’s painted into when Christopher Eccleston declines to be in the 50th Anniversary special. Who did he turn to? The Daleks? The Mara? That weird Abzorbaloff guy? NO. The Sisterhood of mother effing Karn, because we had the Elixir. We knew how to bring the Hurt. No, literally, Sir John Hurt. - Sister Riley Silverman

Scarbacks (Killjoys)

If you’re into suffering so others don’t have to, using a gnarly thimble to make yourself bleed, and fighting the devil, then this is the cult for you. All those other cults are going to use weird religious metaphor to describe themselves. Not us. When we say the tree of life, grrl, we mean an actual mother fracking tree. Branches, a trunk, we even got gods-damned roots.

I don’t know if this ever happens to you, but before I joined this cult I always had the issue that my shoulders were cold, so I needed to wear a shirt, but damn it if I couldn’t show off my sexy abs. Never again do you have to live with this debasement. We’ll keep you warm in all the right places and let you show off your fine midsection — praise the trees for that six pack!

Despite some of our vaguely cultural appropriative dress and hairstyle, we really are the good side. We’ve got our secrets and our blood rites and our obsession with roots growing, but in the end, what we’re really fighting for is freedom for the Quad. Wouldn’t it be nice to be told what to do and how to dress without all the corporate BS? - Uncle S.E. Fleenor

Unnamed Polytheistic Cult (The Wicker Man)

The first time I saw The Wicker Man (1973) I wanted to join the pagan cult on that backwater Scottish island so bad that I was ready to quit school and give up on modern dentistry to do it. The DVD still carries the original thanks from the director to the people of Summerisle, which treats them as if they were real and I BELIEVED IT. I believed there was a polytheistic cult where virgins get deflowered by Britt Eckland and couples shag in the cemetery by night and well-meaning but dickish cops get (spoiler) BURNED ALIVE for being a try-hard party pooper. I wanted it all: Sir Christopher Lee leading ritual in drag with his booming, commanding voice, Morris dancers in kilts waving swords around while people in deer masks act creepy as sh*t, and especially that inimitable vibe where life is definitely a horror movie but also a musical. There's no better cult in any film, period. Nothing is better than a human sacrifice that transitions directly into a folk song.

The 2006 Nicholas Cage remake does not exist, thank you so much for not asking. - Meg Elison, Scottish-ish pagan-ish