There’s something so spicy about a hive mind, especially when it comes to their fashion. Stylish institutions seem to even have cultish gatherings themselves, in the form of fashion weeks, with each model adorned in some sort of semblance to one another. It’s no surprise then that cults have the most stylish garb around. And can you blame them? Fashion has always been a vehicle for one to re-brand themselves, and within cults it gains even more traction. It promotes solidarity from within but still maintains a distinct image for their vision on the outside.
The use of aesthetics both draws one in and sets them apart but for some, something more sinister lies beneath. Lurking past the uniformed appearances often resides a weaponized charisma and a tainted innocence. Pop culture knows this, utilizing the power of fashion in movies and television to paint a sinister picture, regardless of the pastels and flower crowns. Here are some of the most fashionable cults in movies. Just remember, blink twice if you want out.7
10. Dark Waters (1994)
A classic that doesn’t rely on flashy sneakers or orange jumpsuits. Instead, the nuns’ habits remind one of a quainter time. One before the demon escapes its bonds in the dark caves beneath the convent. After the death of her father, Elizabeth travels to a convent located on a remote island where her mother supposedly died giving birth to her. Searching for answers, Elizabeth not only has to deal with raging storms and nasty locals but the creepiest nuns of all time. Well, creepy until you see them all performing strange rituals in a candle-lit cave. Then you can’t help but admire their fashion forward planning.
9. Jug Face (2013)
When your whole town is involved with a death cult that revolves a giant pit, you can’t rely on fancy digs. Instead, high necklines and modest skirt lengths reign supreme. But that doesn’t mean ugly by any means. Ada, who has been chosen as a sacrifice to a beast that lives within the pit faces pregnancy, incestuous relationships and the looming terror of an unfulfilled prophecy all while looking cute as a button. Each member of the town utilizes practical staple pieces of button up shirts, floral print dresses, and classic loafers. Keeping it simple and clean doesn’t mean your cult can’t look cute too.
8. The Endless (2017)
There’s just something about death cults that seem to really utilize function and form when it comes to their clothes. Brothers Aaron and Justin escaped Camp Arcadia but realize that they can’t seem to adjust to life on the outside. With no friends, romance, or stable jobs the two receive a cassette from the camp. They plan to go back just for one day. When the two arrive they find the members haven’t quite aged in the ten years they’ve been gone. Chaos ensues, slowly but surely as the brothers discover a great entity that the cult is involved with, drawing them in into violent time loops. But through the endless deaths the cult is subjected to, they still find time to utilize desert-friendly fashion with chic tops and corduroy pants that any H&M would be glad to carry.
7. Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Listen, put the pitchforks down. I get it, I get it. It doesn’t look much like a cult now does it? That’s where you’re wrong. Just because they wear sharp suits and ties doesn’t make make their blood sacrifices to appease the Old Ones any less poignant. When a group of friends including a newly minted Thor Chris Helmsworth jet off to a creepy old cabin for fun they find themselves at the whim of the most tech-stylish cult subjecting them to murderous creatures, including the creepiest mermaid of all time. But it’s hard to not take them seriously. With polished tie clips and hipster glasses they seem to make a good point.
6. The Following (2013)
The Following was a television show that focused on an angsty Kevin Bacon (Tremors) playing Ryan Hardy, an FBI agent tasked with hunting down the charismatic leader of a murderous cult that had an obsession with Edgar Allen Poe. Led by Joe Carroll played James Purefoy (Solomon Kane) by the cult gains traction through his handsome wiles and the drama of Edgar Allen Poe. Carroll’s following becomes a group of stylish women entranced by his good looks and sharp tongue and they dress the part. Sleek necklines, tight haircuts, and a gothic twist bring Carroll’s gloomy cult to a status of fashion forward individuals. Besides, black always hides the blood.
5. The Invitation (2015)
One of the best slow burns of the past few years, The Invitation is enough to make you even more terrified of past relationships. The overwhelming sense of dread and paranoia that ebbs out of every scene is juxtaposed through the sleek look of the cult inside a posh Hollywood home. Every moment is reminiscent of a 70’s classic cult style, with flowing, white dresses and tailored but somehow perfectly disheveled beards. Once the ball gets rolling the film doesn’t try to reign any of its brutality back, reveling in the sort of chaos that only seems to get worse with every moment. The bloodiness of the climax only seems more deadly when splattered across clean cotton, sensual velvet, and crisp tweed.
4. Mandy (2018)
Mandy features Nicholas Cage at his finest and weirdest. The film is a sludgy, trippy dream with a wardrobe to match. Cage shines in his role but the cult that lurks behind is where the crazy fashion truly lies. Classic cult fashion glows through the lens of a bloodied, primordial sky. But while the leader and his followers don the tell-tale garb of flowing button ups and sharp collars, it is with the bikers that the true fashionable horror lies. The Satanic biker gang are clad in the most metal gear possible, with studded leather jackets, gloves with shining talons and spiked fetish masks that are sure to make any leather lover blush.
3. The House of the Devil (2009)
Another slow burn that reigns supreme in the halls of horror forever, and for good reason. The House of the Devil is set within the 1980’s with style to match. The film hits every check point of a thoroughly spooky film: a sprawling mansion in the middle of nowhere, a young babysitter with killer hair, and an elderly couple that are more fashion forward than they have any right to be. But the true beauty lies in the end, after ramping up so much anxiety suddenly the brightest room looks dark and deceitful. The cult emerges in vintage black robes, sporting a uniform look that shows that even the Dark Lord appreciates the classics.
2. Suspiria (2018)
Suspiria hits on so many lists its almost a crime. But it’s no mistake why it does. Beyond the stunning visuals, anxiety-inducing soundtrack, and Tilda Swinton (Only Lovers Left Alive), the film manages to have some of the most ethereal aesthetics of any film. And the 2018 remake is no different. It’s hard to pick a scene where the witchy cult is at it’s most fashion-forward because there’s never a point where they aren’t. Each scene shows the deepest colored fabrics, the sharpest heels, and the most dizzying of patterns.
1. The Wicker Man (1973)
Did you really thing it would be anything else? The essential horror film that never loses its style. And how could it? The film revels in delicious 70’s fashion complete with feathered hair, full cotton ensembles and delightfully devilish animal masks. It’s hard to find things to say that haven’t already been said about this film. With a folk horror edge that many have tried to replicate and close to none have managed to pull off, The Wicker Man stands strong at the top of the list not only because of it’s seriously spooky edge but the way the fashion embodies the film’s ideals. It looks straight out of a spring catalog, but manages to mask the insidious rituals that await under the velvet surface.