2015’s ‘Last Shift,’ directed by Anthony DiBlasi, is a horror thriller film about a police station haunted by the spirits of a demonic cult. After relocating to another building, the police department assigns newbie cop Jessica Loren to work the graveyard shift for the station’s last night, tasked to stay on site until a Hazmat team collects the biohazardous evidence. As the night progresses, Jessica undergoes many blood-curling experiences and learns about the Paymon cult family and their strange connection to the station.
The Paymon cult forms a crucial nucleus of the film, supplying the narrative with its horror and mystery elements. Featuring Joshua Mikel as the cult leader, John Michael Paymon, the film utilizes classic horror themes and delivers a handful of good scares that will leave the audience unnerved. Due to the story’s focus on dangerous cults that mirror real life, viewers might wonder about the origin of John Michael Paymon and his cult. If so, here is everything you need to know about the same.
Is John Michael Paymon And His Cult Real?
No, John Michael Paymon is not based on a real person neither is his cult based on a real cult. Since ‘Last Shift’ is a fictional story written by Anthony DiBlasi and Scott Poiley, the story’s components are also works of the writers’ imaginations. Nevertheless, due to the real-life prevalence of demonic cults, the film still has some resemblance to reality.
In an interview for his 2023 movie, ‘Malum,’ which is a reimagining of ‘Last Shift,’ director DiBlasi discussed the cult elements in his film and said, “I don’t know if we talked about this before, but in Last Shift, you got a very little amount of them [the cult], and we were like, Oh, it’s gonna be kind of a satanic cult, and they’re worshipping Paymon, and his [John Michael’s] last name is Paymon, so he thinks he’s this deity.”
Therefore, John Michael Paymon has a connection to the concept of Paimon, a real-life spiritual deity. With a presence in several ancient texts over the years, including ‘The Lesser Key of Solomon’ and ‘Dictionnaire Infernal,’ Paimon is often referred to as one of the several Kings of Hell. The same mythology is preserved in ‘Last Shift’ with Paymon and his devotees believing him to be the deity itself and worshipping him.
On the non-spiritual side of things, Paymon’s cult also references a particular cult from real life. In the film, one of the characters, Marigold, refers to the Paymon family as a “wannabe Manson family.” The Manson Family was a cult family active during the 60s and 70s, led by Charles Manson. Due to the in-universe reference, it is safe to assume the writers were somewhat influenced by the Manson family cult when building Paymon’s cult.
One point of similarity that can be noted between the two is their repeated usage of the word “pig” when talking bout their victims. Nevertheless, the similarities between Manson’s family cult and Paymon’s quickly divert due to the demonic nature of John Michael’s cult. As such, although referencing Manson within the narrative easily sets an introduction to Paymon’s cult, there aren’t many parallels between the two other than their inherent traits as cults.
Paymon’s cult is ripe with satanic imagery and symbolism, including the recognizable carved pentagram on Paymon’s face. Although the demonic nature of Paymon’s cult firmly sets itself into a fictional realm, the film still lightly explores some adverse effects of real-life cults. Through the different Paymon devotees, the film depicts an almost manic state that demonic cult indoctrination renders several young girls into.
Ultimately, John Michael Paymon is not based on a real person. Likewise, the Paymon cult also does not have a basis in a real-life cult. Since both Paymon and his cult are deeply interconnected to the supernatural, their slight resemblance to real life helps them stay grounded. Nevertheless, neither has any firm basis in reality.