Heaven's Gate: Cult Suicide

About the Show

In 1997, the world was stunned by news of the largest mass suicide ever on American soil when 39 men and women, mostly middle-aged and middle-class, were found in a San Diego mansion all wearing the same uniform of black running suits and Nike sneakers. Who were these people, and why did they do it? This film investigates the roots of this tragedy and finds surprising clues in the New Age culture of 1970s California, and the UFO craze of the Star Trek era. Interviews with previous cult members, and footage taken by the Heaven's Gate members themselves whilst on their mission, help to build a picture of the environment. Film of leader Marshall Applewhite preaching his apocalyptic gospel brings this cult of death into focus. The documentary traces the journey of a unique group of people who thought they were following the path to universal immortality, but instead found a lonely death in the San Diego suburbs.