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Louis Theroux

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Louis Theroux is a British film-maker who has produced a series of documentaries for the BBC, usually featuring persons most would consider strange, worryingly odd, downright disturbing or outright nuts. As a documentary-maker, his work is a bit uneven; while he's neither that gullible or plagued by false balance, he can be a bit facile in treatment of his subjects and has elements of voyeurism. He is the son of the prolific travel writer Paul Theroux.

Weird Weekends[edit]

Theroux produced three series (seventeen episodes in total) of Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends where he visited the "genuinely odd in the most ordinary setting", primarily in the United States. "Weekends" of specific interest to the mission of RationalWiki include a fundamentalist Christian cult, Ufology and "contactees", Bo Gritz and his survivalist militia, the Aryan Nations, the South African Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, Black supremacists (particulary Black Hebrew Israelites), Indian Gurus (feat: Deepak Chopra), hypnotism and an early sighting of pick up artists.

Produced from between around 1996 and 1999, the whole collection together provides an interesting capsule of some of the subcultures seen in the USA in the 90s. This feeling was echoed by Theroux himself when he revisited some of his subjects (not all featured in WW itself - such as Heaven's Gate survivors) in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 in his book Call of the Weird[1].

BBC Two Specials[edit]

From 2003 onwards, Theroux has produced (as of 2022) fifty hour-long standalone documentaries - same principles as the Weird Weekends, but often more serious in tone. Over the two decades he has 'met' (amongst others) a variety of white nationalists (including Tom Metzger and the Prussian Blue girls), the Westboro Baptist Church, convicted paedophiles, ultra-Zionists in the West Bank, transgender children, terminally ill persons planning to end their lives and the alt-right.

One of the more interesting documentaries was "Savile" where Theroux himself (partly) becomes the subject when he re-evaluates his own work and interactions with the veteran entertainer after he was revealed to have been a prolific, predatory sex offender (unfortunately, after Savile's death).

His Scientology movie[edit]

His 2015 documentary My Scientology Movie provided an entertaining look at the the shenanigans of the (unsurprisingly) Church of Scientology. Reviews were somewhat mixed; that while it was interesting and 'watchable' it was hardly a fresh exposé of the cult.[2]

External links[edit]