In response to the legend that the "Manson Family" may have filmed themselves in some of theirs exploits, this film is a re-creation as to what a film of their may have been like. The film,... See full summary »
Rick the Precious Dove,
Max Marsh, a major film producer, comes to Buenos Aires. He plans his next epic there, with his famous star, Terri London. They arrive to the press, and murder. Terri finds Horst Krein and ... See full summary »
Documentary on Charles Manson and his family. Has a number of insightful interviews with many family members most notably Squeaky and Sandy (Blue and Red). There is also a history of Manson... See full summary »
"The Six Degrees of Helter Skelter" walks in the footsteps of the Manson Family, visiting over 40 locations related to the infamous Tate/LaBianca murders, and tying together the dozens of ... See full summary »
For forty years, Charles Manson has survived most of his life in what he calls 'the hallways of the all ways,' the reform schools, jails and prisons that have been his home and tomb. His ... See full summary »
A patchy but nonetheless intriguing depiction of the August 8th Manson family murders
I first heard of 'The Helter Skelter Murders' (under its alternative title 'The Other Side of Madness') when reading about the 8/8/88 Satanic rally, organised by Zeena (daughter of Anton) LaVey and founder of the Werewolf Order Niclaus Schreck. During that rally, held on the anniversary of the Tate slayings, the movie was shown and when the depiction of the murders began the crowd actually cheered. Whilst certainly ghoulish, I was nonetheless intrigued and sought out the movie and soon saw why it was chosen: the film is a grimy, low-budget, quasi-documentary style exploitation movie shot mostly in black and white which gives it a creepy and authentic feel. The first half is a bizarre collection of scenes including a (pretty cool-looking) desert rock concert, life on Spahn ranch (where Manson and his family lived), court-room scenes, and, in the movie's only colour scene, a fairytale introduction to Sharon Tate. Actually, this first half is not particularly well-done as the aforementioned scenes don't gel together and, crucially, even though it was presumably made to cash-in on the notoriety of the Manson Murders, which were then very much in the news, apart from a few shots of vaguely Manson-looking guy and a recording of Manson's 'Mechanical Man' (not his best composition by a long shot) there is very little mention of Charlie and little-to-no development of the various members of his family who appear in the court-room scenes. However, it's with the shift to the second half that you really see the appeal to LaVey and Schreck as the whole remainder of the film is given over to a detailed, brutal, and drawn-out recollection of the Tate murders by one of the defendants. This section is quite well directed as it takes its time, building tension which is accentuated by the fact that we know what will happen but we don't know when the movie will show it (and how much it intends to show) and it certainly doesn't disappoint when it kicks off. It's unsettling to think that the scenes drew cheers from people and, for me, this knowledge added an uncomfortable post-script to an already uncomfortable viewing experience. All told, the movie is an interesting addition to the Manson mythology although just barely managing to raise itself above its limitations by the impact of the murder scene. Gruesome and sensationalist it may be, but then so were the murders it depicts.
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