It’s not all bake sales and underground bingo racketeering when cinema tackles the spiritual genre. With various takes on gods, fate, and fortune these are the six most terrifying movie religions, at least until some studio tackles the history of 90's Beanie Baby collecting.

Mayan, “Apocalypto”

It has to be nice to know that nowadays if there’s a weather issue you don’t have to worry about satiating the gods with your blood. It would be nice if you could send a card or visit them sometime this year though. “Apocalypto” teaches the lesson of scapegoating a failing civilization on the displeasure of the gods, as well as the dry-clean heavy solution of human sacrifice to that very problem. As Jaguar Paw is about to join his headless colleagues, take a second to think about every time there was some kind of crop frost or banana barge fire and thank your lucky stars for being born when you were.

Catholicism Version, “Dogma”

When your movie religion lets two dummy angels who would rather destroy the universe than wait around for the next state fair fried food invention, then it’s time to pack it in for the cult next door. “Dogma” is loving, goofy, and irreverent in all the good ways but there’s still plenty to fear inside the film. However, if your religion can make room for a poop demon in a bar scene, then you have the right to be terrified of both Heaven and Hell.

Patriarchical Cult, “Red State”

Upholding your own set of values is nice, but murdering for those beliefs takes the bloom off that happy sense of community in the religion in “Red State.” As a family friendly church goes off the deep end in promoting their own agenda, the government decides to have a problem with their weapon stockpiling and things go decidedly wrong. Nothing like an old time saran wrap execution over sexual identity to make a truly terrifying religion scene.

Jedi, “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”

When the most powerful member of your religion is a cranky Muppet who can lightsaber battle with the best of them but doesn’t bother cutting his ear hair, you might want to back away slowly from this Jedi religion. Sure they spend a good part of the time governing and being just but they have an opposing religion that’s ruthless and just as powerful in the Sith. Think as you watch Luke carry Yoda around on his back if this is the kind of tithing you want to be doing in “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.”

Christianity Version, “Left Behind”

The Rapture has struck, taking all the good little boys and girls and leaving the Earth overpopulated with bad actors. Taking the stand that it’s better to be sent off to Heaven than to stick around and make sure no one is messing with your comic book collection, “Left Behind” lands heavily on the apocalyptic aspects of Christianity. The crying jag by Rayford is a scene that should have you pondering if maybe your spirituality lies with alien conspirators instead.


A Cult of Pain, “Hellraiser”

A religion based on pain might work for you but once you add in some extreme body modification and a weakness for puzzles boxes, you end up with something truly terrifying. Pinhead and his cenobite colleagues are gruesome in both look and action, preferring to take their kicks from pain piled on pain with the belief that there is no Heaven just an eternity filled with ouchies. As Julia takes her first victim home to Frank, the price to pay for this grotesque religion is far too high.