Charles Manson

KeyserXSoze

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#1
Helter Skelter film planned

http://us.imdb.com/WN?20030807#9

Seems no one wants to play role of Charles M.

Who do you think should play him? Or should film not be made?

Stars Say No to Manson Role

TV executives are struggling to find a big name to play jailed serial killer Charles Manson after Robert Downey, Jr. and Eric McCormack proved unavailable. The two stars were producer Mark Wolper's first choices to play Manson in a new adaptation on Vincent Bugliosi book Helter Skelter. Wolper says, "My first choice was Robert Downey, Jr. Unfortunately, he's not available, he's doing a Woody Allen film. Eric, I think, would be an interesting choice, but unfortunately he's on a series and not available to us." Manson is serving life imprisonment in California State Prison at Corcoran.
Maybe Colin Farrel?
 

stu neville

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#2
As he was then - Daniel Day-Lewis, or Gary Oldman. As he is now, Nick Nolte. All have the necessary intensity.

Should they make the film? Depends how it's handled - they've made movies about other mass murderers. If a movie concentrates on the motives and the power of one figure to drive a cult following to commit mayhem then certainly. On the other hand, if it's basically going to be a splatter movie that just focusses on the massacres in luridly graphic detail, with no analysis of the background or context, then no, definitely not.
 

Anome

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#3
Of course, it's not the first time they've done a film. There was a made for TV exercise in the 70s or early 80s (possibly based on the same book, don't recall).

Odds are it will be a foreigner who plays Charlie - most likely English. That's because there has traditionally been some difficulty in getting US actors to play "distasteful" roles.
 
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Anonymous

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#4
Yet Another 'Halloween' Style Slasher Flick To Shift The Pop

anome said:
Odds are it will be a foreigner who plays Charlie - most likely English. That's because there has traditionally been some difficulty in getting US actors to play "distasteful" roles.
So, who do people think should play Charlie boy?

Tim Spall? Alan Rickman? My personal favourite would be someone like Giles Brandreth, or even Noel Edmonds, since they're real unknowns on the other side of the Atlantic.
 
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Anonymous

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#6
Perhaps, they should emphasise his demonic aspect, by not bothering with a human being at all. They could go straight to CGI and have him as a computer animated character, like a demonic Scooby Doo.

Great for the 'evil incarnate' transformation scenes. ;)
 
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Anonymous

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#7
I don't like true life serial killer films. Why can't they just make it up, and leave the true life stuff to documentaries and books? I don't want to watch a true serial killer film to be entertained but I can watch the documentary and read the book to be educated.

Like the recent Bundy one. Who would you be rooting for, in a film done from the serial killer's point of view?

Nah - films should stick to Hannibal Lecters and such. True life psychos are nearly so entertaining.
 
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#8
AndroMan said:
Perhaps, they should emphasise his demonic aspect...
What 'demonic aspect'??

Manson was a sad wee manipulative shit, a failed car-thief with musical pretensions and no real talents beyond the dubious ability to gull impressionable, already dysfunctional young girls with some nebulous 'bad-boy' vibe. Evil incarnate hiding in a cupboard under the sink. Yeah, right. They found him because he was shaking so bad the cupboard door rattled. :rolleyes:

We need a new version of Helter Skelter like a hole in the head. :(
 
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Anonymous

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#9
Helen said:
Nah - films should stick to Hannibal Lecters and such. True life psychos are nearly so entertaining.
I'm pretty sure that Helen meant "not nearly so entertaining." And that was my point, too.

It's the media that made Manson a celebrity and it 'demonized' him, too.
 
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#10
AndroMan said:
It's the media that made Manson a celebrity and it 'demonized' him, too.
True, the media have contributed by continuing to play up to the whole 'Manson=AntiChrist' pile of BS.

But IMO the cops who dealt with the case must take the bulk of the blame for it: they're the ones who wrote most of the books after all. Channeling their inability to deal with the implications of the case (principally the idea that women can perform acts as sadistically violent as any man, and for as little reason: a shocking thing for men with what was arguably still a 1950s mindset to face up to) into an obsession with Manson as an incarnation of almost supernatural evil.
 
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#11
AndroMan said:
I'm pretty sure that Helen meant "not nearly so entertaining." And that was my point, too.

It's the media that made Manson a celebrity and it 'demonized' him, too.
Oopps. Yes. Not nearly so entertaining.:)

Manson is scary looking though; an effect I'm sure he is at pains to maintain.

The thing about the Family though is not so much that these women were capable of such cruelty, but that they were well-educated, well-to-do women that threw all their upper middle class family stuff away to go and live in a shed in a desert with a short, hairy, decidedly unattractive weasel of a man old enough to be their father (which was rather the point, really)
 
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Anonymous

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#12
Some girls like to run around, Like to handle everything the

Helen said:
The thing about the Family though is not so much that these women were capable of such cruelty, but that they were well-educated, well-to-do women that threw all their upper middle class family stuff away to go and live in a shed in a desert with a short, hairy, decidedly unattractive weasel of a man old enough to be their father (which was rather the point, really)
Mary Brunner fitted that description, certainly, but Lynn ('Squeaky') Fromme was a quote-'troubled teen'-unquote whose father had just made her homeless when she met Manson: according to Ed Sanders, Fromme was in tears and -presumably- emotionally vulnerable when Manson first approached her.

RuthAnn Morehouse ('Ouish') was the daughter of a minister, true; but that preacher allegedly solicited oral sex from Manson when they met (and became great pals), and was eventually jailed for plying a 13 year-old girl with LSD: what kind of life was Ouish living prior to meeting Manson if that was what her father was like?

Patricia Krenwinkel was from a Fundie background and had an endocrine problem resulting in an excess of body hair: in image conscious California? How lonely might she have been prior to meeting Manson?

Susan Atkins' background was one of alcohol and strife, and a mother who died when Atkins was 13: she had a history that included hooking, being involved with armed robbers, and topless dancing: and then she met Manson. She was still only 19, and when they screwed for the first time, Manson asked her to pretend he was her dad -and she did :eek:, later claiming it to be an ennobling experience :eek!!!!:. Atkins was messed up long before she met Manson.

All bio. details culled from Ed Sanders' The Family, 1973 ed.
 

carole

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#13
stu neville said:
As he was then - Daniel Day-Lewis, or Gary Oldman. As he is now, Nick Nolte. All have the necessary intensity.

Should they make the film? Depends how it's handled - they've made movies about other mass murderers. If a movie concentrates on the motives and the power of one figure to drive a cult following to commit mayhem then certainly. On the other hand, if it's basically going to be a splatter movie that just focusses on the massacres in luridly graphic detail, with no analysis of the background or context, then no, definitely not.
Unfortunately, Stu, I suspect it would be the latter. But if the former, Gary Oldman would definitely be good in the role.

Carole
 
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Anonymous

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#14
All true, Zygon. But the Family members with the troubled 'poor lower class' backgrounds don't seem to have attracted the same sense of horror as those with the middle class ones. It doesn't seem to matter to reporters whether the rich kids had a hellish life or not - they were rich and the rich don't do things like that. The poor, yes, cus everyone knows they're stupid.

That's not my opinion by the way - just how it gets reported. Rich = Clever; Poor = Thick.

Doesn't seem to cross their minds that the rich kids had got more to rebel against.

Anyway, Manson was a pathetic loser whose only success was getting kids stoned and dumb enough to kill people. Whoopee. Not much chance of an Oscar there, I wouldn't have thought.

They should either make a proper documentary, or make a fictional film based on The Family. Sensationalising true murders into entertainment is just sick and insulting.
 
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Anonymous

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#15
Helen said:
That's not my opinion by the way - just how it gets reported. Rich = Clever; Poor = Thick.

Doesn't seem to cross their minds that the rich kids had got more to rebel against.
That rather presupposes that rebellion was the root of the problem with The Family, and I don't believe it was. IMO the problem was quite the opposite: an overwhelming need to belong that led them to throwing in -with scary intensity- with the first person who gave them any sense of personal validation, however high the price.

Rebellion is a normal part of the growth process: murdering for thrills is not. When adolescents act up, we usually blame 'teenage rebellion', but in my experience the kids who act up most generally have the fewest limits to rebel against*, and their actions usually seem to take on the characteristics of a search for limitations that they can't get elsewhere. (I have a deep-held suspicion -perhaps irrational- that many stupidly-executed crimes have been perpetrated by people who seemingly actually want to be jailed.)

*Ferinstance (horror story alert): guy who lived 2 doors up from me on the estate where I used to languish, due to appear in court on an assault charge. Then he finds out that the chief prosecution witness is a wee lass -aged about 12 at the time IIRC- who lives at the bottom of the road. So his mum gets the entire family together, all the cousins, aunts and uncles too, and they then -about 30 of them- descended on the wee lass' home en masse, smashed every window, ripped up the garden and were in the process of kicking in her front door -all the while screaming that they were going to "effing kill the grassing wee hoor"- when the police finally turned up. Whereupon the ringleader, the mother, starts up with the traditional caterwaul of "Why you a'ways pickin' on ma bhoy? Ma bhoy's a guid bhoy! Ma bhoy loves his mammy! Why you always takin' everywan else's side?? Ma bhoy ne'er does nuthin'!! Why you a'ways pickin' on ma bhoy??" :rolleyes: I somehow suspect that her boy's been allowed to run riot since he could first walk. He had no limits to rebel against, but nonetheless was in constant trouble. But maybe I'm just excessively cynical.
 

GNC

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#16
According to the Solaris DVD commentary, Jeremy Davies was going to be cast as Charles Manson, but I don't know what happened to the project.

He has the right look, anyway, and I think he'd be a good choice if they insist on dragging up that case again.
 
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#17
Totally agree with you there, Zygon. Kids growing up with no boundaries established are gonna go off the rails. And nothing irritates me more than a mother who won't see her child is a thug. Doesn't mean you have to stop loving them, lady - just acknowledge they're trouble.

No, I meant the so-called 60's rebellion stuff, where everyone between 15-25 wanted to rebel against just about anything, and yes, conversely ended up being the same as everyone else.

"I'm an individual - and so's my wife!";)

The Manson thing was basically taking a bunch of teens are removing all inhibitions, then imposing your own. No different to Jonestown etc. Perhaps Manson should be put more into the Cults Gone Bad than the Serial Killer mould. And cults apparently do tend to pick up more members from the middle classes, who reject their upbringing and yet still feel the need to 'belong' to something.

And who's Jeremy Davies? I haven't watched Solaris yet. Has he been in anything else? (And have I watched that?)
 

Anome

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#18
One important thing to remember is that Manson is hardly the demonic mastermind he is usually reported to be. He initially had nothing to do with the murderous raid where Sharon Tate (and others) was killed. A number of his followers were acting on their own initiative.

Manson, realising the threat this posed to his leadership, turned up and tried to take over. He could have disowned the exercise, and everybody associated with it, but instead he chose to assume it as his own.

John Douglas (former FBI profiler) discusses Manson in one of his books (the first one, I don't remember the title). He's of the opinion that Manson himself is not terribly dangerous, but that he is capable of inspiring others to be, and so he should not be released.

Douglas' opinion is based on interviews done with Manson while the Behavioural Sciences unit was being established. His non-fiction books are interesting, although he clearly has an agenda to push.
 

Rrose_Selavy

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#19
Jim Carrey or Dale Winton?


Seriously, I read recently that In 1968 , the Family broke into Dennis Wilson's house on Sunset Boulevard and moved in.The orgies began the first night, they stayed the summer, costing Wilson over $100, 000 for food, clothes, cars and doctors bills mostly to cure the "guests" of Gonorrhea. Wilson was too intmidated to evict them so he moved out, having encouraged Manson's musical ambitions. A Manson song "Cease to Exist" appeared on the Beachboys 20/20 album under the title " Never learn not to love"

Now that is scary.
 

GNC

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#20
You might know Jeremy Davies from Twister or Ravenous. There is a physical resemblance between him and Manson, if he grew his hair, and he can certainly act the weirdo.
 
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#21
Rrose Selavy said:
Jim Carrey or Dale Winton?


Seriously, I read recently that In 1968 , the Family broke into Dennis Wilson's house on Sunset Boulevard and moved in.The orgies began the first night, they stayed the summer, costing Wilson over 0, 000 for food, clothes, cars and doctors bills mostly to cure the "guests" of Gonorrhea. Wilson was too intmidated to evict them so he moved out, having encouraged Manson's musical ambitions. A Manson song "Cease to Exist" appeared on the Beachboys 20/20 album under the title " Never learn not to love"

Now that is scary.
I'm not so sure that the original story was that 'the Family' broke in. Manson, seems to have had a sort of 'outlaw' chic with some of the 'hip' celebrity fraternity at the time.
 
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Anonymous

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#22
Not Letting This One In Under The RADAR

And from Ft's very own, FrightFest (2003) Review

There's this one:
Finally, there’s Charlie’s Family, director Jim Van Bebber’s ultra-graphic and powerful shockumentary detailing the Sharon Tate/LaBianca murders that made the whole of Hollywood paranoid in 1969. Inspired by the plot of Cannibal Holocaust, it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted.
 
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#23
Manson had hooked up with sometime Beach Boys' producer and former Fantastic Baggy Bruce Johnstone (step-son of Doris Day and himself a future Beach Boy): Johnstone had decided to record some demos with Manson, for reasons that have never been divulged but which are unlikely to have anything to do with Manson's song-writing or singing talent. (But then, that's why Charlie had so many young girls around all the time.) It was Johnstone who subsequently introduced Manson to the Beach Boys circle, only starting to cut himself loose after Dennis Wilson complained about Manson hassling Brian to get a song on whatever BB album (Smile?) was being worked on at the time.

When I first read Ed Sanders' The Family, I got a vibe from it: an implication that there were grounds for some doubt that the Polanski house was the real target on the night of the Tate murder -The Family were stoned out their gourds that night, Bruce Johnstone lived nearbye (in the Doris Day mansion!) and Charlie was known to get 'seriously annoyed' at people who dropped him. Now there's an eye-opening prospect: imagine how the hysteria would have been stoked up if Doris Day rather than Sharon Tate had been their victim? :eek!!!!: Long-hairs gunned down in the street at random and the cops doing sod-all about it, I betcha.
 
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#24
Zygon said:
Now there's an eye-opening prospect: imagine how the hysteria would have been stoked up if Doris Day rather than Sharon Tate had been their victim? :eek!!!!: Long-hairs gunned down in the street at random and the cops doing sod-all about it, I betcha.
Attacking the ultimate slice of Mom's American Apple Pie, for angry Daddy! Now, that does makes a kind of, truly depraved and insane, kind of sense.

Including the bit about them totally screwing things up and going to the wrong mansion.
 
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Anonymous

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#25
AndroMan said:
Including the bit about them totally screwing things up and going to the wrong mansion.
Especially that bit. It'd fit right in with the quality of all their other ...er... 'accomplishments'. :D
 

Anome

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#26
If they had killed Doris, would Polanski have been able to stay in the US?

While Polanski stayed in Europe due to charges against him for statutory rape, it has been claimed that the reason the case was prosecuted against him so forcefully was because many people blamed him for Tate's death.
 
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Anonymous

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#27
anome said:
If they had killed Doris, would Polanski have been able to stay in the US?

While Polanski stayed in Europe due to charges against him for statutory rape, it has been claimed that the reason the case was prosecuted against him so forcefully was because many people blamed him for Tate's death.
:rofl:

The 'alleged' victim was 13 years old at the time. A 13 year-old American girl. Polanski is a foreigner. The charge dates from that period in US history (1977+) when the influence of the so-called 'moral majority' was gathering force in preparation for Reagan's 80s. Tate had made just one movie when she died; Hollywood barely knew who she was (you're only as famous as your boffo box office returns this week, remember?).

The death of Sharon Tate has nothing to do with it. He's accused of raping a 13 year-old girl. (Although apparently she has gone on record as saying she doesn't want him prosecuted at this late date, so I dunno what the current sitch. may be, legally speaking.)
 

MrRING

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#28
Rosemary's Baby, Manson Killings, Beatles, and the Occult

A strange site about:
r o s e m a r y - the connection between mia farrow, sharon tate, charlie manson and the beatles

So, if we look closely, we'll find a connection between Peyton Place, Valley of the Dolls, Rosemary's Baby and Charles Manson!

Then to The Beatles: 'Helter Skelter' and 'Piggies' were some songs off The Beatles' White Album (1968), which inspired the murder spree of the Manson Family, who slaughtered Sharon Tate, who was the wife of Roman Polanski, who directed Rosemary's Baby. (Manson and his followers believed the songs held in them some hidden messages, specifically meant for the Family.) Furthermore, as peculiar coincidences go, The Beatles had Mia Farrow as one of their companions on their famous 1968 excursion to India, and John Lennon of The Beatles wrote 'Dear Prudence' (also a song on White Album) for Mia Farrow's younger sister Prudence Farrow (on a lighter note, "Prudence" was also the name of puppy Polanski gave to Sharon Tate). Sadie Mae Glutz was the alias given to the Family member Susan Atkins by Manson even before the appearance of the White Album song 'Sexy Sadie' -- which was directed toward The Beatles' one-time guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, with whom they felt disappointed. Ironically, also Sadie/Susan would let Manson down by carelessly talking about the murders to her cellmates, which was eventually used as a proof in the trial.

It is claimed that at a party in California in 1973, Lennon went berserk, hurling a chair out the window, smashing mirrors, heaving a TV against the wall, and screaming nonsense about Roman Polanski being to blame. And to give a sinister end to the story filled with synchronities (allegedly Lennon and Ono had their own interest in the occult), John Lennon was shot in 1980 in front of the Dakota Building (picture on the right) in New York -- which was used when filming Rosemary's Baby. Also, Rosemary LaBianca was another victim of Manson's murder spree, which in press would later be called the Tate-LaBianca murders. Mark Chapman was the name of Lennon's killer -- Winifred Chapman was the maid who had first found the bodies at 10050 Cielo Drive.


The Site
 
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Anonymous

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#29
Wasn't worth looking at

until I read these chilling words:

", they turned their Mayfair mansion into a Satanic palace, with all-night coffee bar, movie house and book store"

Straight out of Bosch, in'it?
 
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#30
We're still mad about Manson

Another new movie plus a show on the Edinburgh Fringe. Mark Kermode asks why this cult killer continues to obsess us

Sunday July 11, 2004
The Observer

Before his followers committed a series of grisly killings in August 1969, Charles Manson was little more than a failed pop star, whose sole claim to fame was a writing credit on the obscure Beach Boys B-side 'Cease to Exist' aka 'Never Learn Not to Love'. Depressed by his lack of success (he was rumoured to have failed an audition for the Monkees), Manson dispatched a group of his devoted 'family' members to run riot in Los Angeles. They killed seven people in two upmarket homes in the areas around Hollywood, daubing the walls with blood-painted slogans apparently inspired by the Beatles' White Album : 'Rise'; 'Death to Pigs'; and the misspelt 'Healter Skelter'.

The resulting murder trial, which saw Manson and several of his cronies sentenced to death (later commuted to life imprisonment) finally ended the years of obscurity and made Manson a star. Declared 'Man of the Year' by the underground publication Tuesday's Child, and plastered on the front cover of Life and Rolling Stone, Manson became a counterculture icon, an embodiment of the heart of darkness.

In the 34 years Manson has spent behind bars, he has seen his cult cachet continue to grow, particularly among teenagers. In 1976, he was listed as one of the top 50 individuals most admired by American schoolchildren, apparently keen to embrace anything which would shock their parents. In the Nineties, goth rocker Brian Warner courted money-making outrage with his adopted sobriquet 'Marilyn Manson', while Guns N' Roses increased their rebel credibility by sneaking out a cover version of the Manson composition 'Look at Your Game, Girl'.

As recently as July, 2000, the office of California state senator Adam Schiff was investigating the internet sale of strands of Manson's hair which were being snapped up by fans who had dubbed him 'the Elvis of serial killers'.

Next month, a one-man show bafflingly entitled Charles Manson, Where Are You? plays at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Before that, a new movie, The Manson Family, opens in the UK, further trading on Manson's notorious past. It's been a labour of love for director Jim Van Bebber, who started shooting back in 1989 but only completed his magnum opus last year. Sadly, the result of his efforts is an uneven sexploitation shocker, memorable less for the ambitious nature of its multilayered, multimedia structure than for the rank vulgarity of its restaged murder scenes. The Village Voice may have called it 'John Ashcroft's worst nightmare', but the more lurid segments of The Manson Family would seem like a bad dream to anyone with any sense of decency - moral, technical, or aesthetic.

It's easy to see why film-makers have long been drawn to the Manson legend. Prior to the Tate/LaBianca killings, the Manson family actually lived on a movie set, the Spahn Movie Ranch, which had once played host to such high-profile productions as David O Selznick's Forties classic Duel in the Sun. By the late Sixties, however, its prestige had waned, with Blood Feast director Herschell Gordon Lewis shooting his no-budget nudie western Linda and Abilene there around the same time that Manson's gang showed up.

The location of the murders, too, had bizarre cinematic resonance, with the killers striking first at the home of Roman Polanski, director of the occult thriller Rosemary's Baby. It was here at 10050 Cielo Drive that Charles 'Tex' Watson and a gaggle of Manson's knife-wielding groupies murdered Polanski's heavily pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, and four others. 'I'm the Devil,' Watson told his victims, 'and I'm here to do the Devil's work', a phrase which some would link to an alleged curse hanging over Rosemary's Baby.

Others pointed out that the house had previously been owned by Doris Day's son, Terry Melcher, a record producer who had allegedly angered Manson by failing to help him achieve pop stardom.

Another key player in this whole grisly drama was aspiring actor and musician Bobby Beausoleil. Before falling in with Manson, Beausoleil had worked with experimental film-maker Kenneth Anger, who cast him in the title role of his forthcoming Lucifer Rising . When the pair fell out, however, Beausoleil allegedly stole Anger's van and made off with negatives of the film. Furious, Anger cast a spell apparently intended to turn Beausoleil into a toad. The spell didn't work, but the stolen van promptly broke down outside Spahn Ranch, depositing Beausoleil into the bosom of the Manson gang, whose company he kept until being arrested in August 1969 for murdering music teacher Gary Hinman.

One popular theory about the 'real' motive for the Tate/LaBianca murders was they were an attempt to spring Beausoleil from jail, creating diversionary crimes to suggest that Hinman's real killers were still at large. Beausoleil subsequently made up with Anger and wound up composing a haunting score for the relaunched Lucifer Rising from Tracy Prison.

Even before the Manson gang were caught, their crimes were becoming the stuff of big-screen legend. Trash maestro John Waters began shooting Multiple Maniacs in 1969 after the Tate/LaBianca killings, with which he became obsessed. 'Since the real killers hadn't been apprehended yet,' he wrote in his autobiography Shock Value, 'I decided that [transvestite performer] Divine would take credit for the murders in the film. I figured that if the murderers were never caught, there would always be the possibility that maybe Divine really did do it. We wanted to scare the world, just like the unheard-of Manson family, but we used a movie camera instead of deadly weapons.'

A few years later, Waters dedicated his shock-filled romp Pink Flamingos to the convicted Manson murderers Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkle, and Leslie van Houten, a dedication which he later told me he regretted.

At around the same time, Robert Hendrickson and Laurence Merrick were unveiling their Oscar-nominated documentary Manson, with publicity promising audiences that 'YOU WILL ACTUALLY SEE each member of the Manson family and HEAR their horrifying philosophy of sex, perversion, murder and suicide.' Concentrating mainly on family life at both the Spahn Ranch, and the Barker Ranch in Death Valley, Manson included family member 'Brenda' telling America: 'We are what you have made us. We were brought up on your TV. We were brought up watching Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, FBI, Combat. Combat was my favourite show.'

To date, the most high-profile film about the Manson case is still Helter Skelter, a surprisingly gripping 1976 TV movie based on prosecuting DA Vincent Bugliosi's bestseller which was released at cinemas here in the UK. Despite its small-screen origins, Helter Skelter benefited from a chilling central performance by Steve Railsback.

In May of this year, CBS TV premiered a remake of Helter Skelter in the US, with Jeremy Davies taking the Manson role. According to its producers: 'The original movie focused on the investigation of the gruesome slayings and the trial of Charles Manson. This new adaptation focuses on who Manson was, why he did what he did, and how this morally corrupt ex-con persuaded the members of his family to commit such horrifying acts.'

Less 'professional' projects inspired by the Manson murders included Seventies horrors such as The Helter Skelter Murders and The Manson Massacre, and Eighties oddities such as Manson Family Movies, all of which remain little seen and even less respected.

Yet the dumbest and most depressing Manson spin-off was surely Slaughter, an ultra-cheap Seventies exploitation movie from husband and wife film-makers Michael and Roberta Findlay. Loosely based on the Manson murders, and replete with a Charlie-style satanic guru, Slaughter was deemed 'really awful' by its makers and left on a shelf to rot. A few years later, however, marketing whizz Allan Shackleton decided to cash in on news stories about snuff movies (an apocryphal genre in which people are really killed) by replacing Slaughter 's final reel with a faked murder scene.

Cannily retitled Snuff, the resulting film was quickly identified as a hoax by New York DA Robert Morgenthau, although in the UK, videos of Snuff became the subject of prosecution under the Obscene Publications Act. Many film historians now trace the origins of the snuff myth back to Ed Sanders's book, The Family, in which a Manson associate claimed that the gang had filmed their crimes with cameras stolen from NBC and then buried the evidence in the desert. No such films have ever been found. Last year, however, the British censors dealt Snuff a killer blow by granting it an uncut 18 certificate, destroying whatever 'outlaw' cult status it still retained.

Other recent Manson movies include Nikolas Schreck's 1989 video documentary, Charles Manson Superstar, which offers a glib apologia for Manson's involvement in the Tate/LaBianca killings before allowing a cell-bound Charlie to do what he does best: spout off at great length about his latest philosophical insights. The video's credits include Zeena LaVey, daughter of renowned satanist Anton LaVey, whose disciples once included future Manson murderer Susan Atkins.

More recently, producer Don Murphy, whose credits include Natural Born Killers, came close to mounting a big-budget Manson biopic based on Sanders's book, but lost funding at the last moment. Whether the world really needs another Manson movie remains to be seen.

Paradoxically, those most opposed to such ventures include the killers themselves, who regularly complain that any publicity lessens their chances of parole. Perhaps there is some good in all those rotten movies after all.

· The Manson Family opens on 23 July
http://film.guardian.co.uk/features/featurepages/0,4120,1258406,00.html
 
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