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Manson (1973) Online

Manson (1973) Online
Original Title :
Manson
Genre :
Movie / Documentary / Biography / Crime
Year :
1973
Directror :
Robert Hendrickson,Laurence Merrick
Cast :
Mary Brunner,Vincent Bugliosi,Bruce Davis
Writer :
Joan Huntington,Laurence Merrick
Type :
Movie
Time :
1h 23min
Rating :
7.4/10
Manson (1973) Online

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 from his birth to the family formation to the Tate/La Bianca murders. Plenty of footage of the family playing at Spahn Ranch. {locallinks-homepage}
Credited cast:
Mary Brunner Mary Brunner - Herself
Vincent Bugliosi Vincent Bugliosi - Himself
Bruce Davis Bruce Davis - Himself
Lynette Fromme Lynette Fromme - Herself
Sandra Good Sandra Good - Herself
Steve Grogan Steve Grogan - Himself
Ronnie Howard Ronnie Howard - Herself
Charles Manson Charles Manson - Himself
Jesse Pearson Jesse Pearson - Narrator (voice) (as Jess Pearson)
Phil Phillips Phil Phillips - Himself
Nancy Pitman Nancy Pitman - Herself
Brooks Poston Brooks Poston - Himself
Catherine Share Catherine Share - Herself
George Spahn George Spahn - Himself
Paul Watkins Paul Watkins - Himself

Brooks Poston and Paul Watkins, who provided the musical score for the film, were both former members of the "Manson Family".


User reviews

Otiel

Otiel

"Manson" is a sad, disturbing film. It's horrible enough to hear the details of the Tate/LaBianca murders being recounted and to see the vicious, empty look in the eyes of Charlie's girls as they brandish guns and spout their guru's "philosophy"...but that's not all this documentary has to offer. Indeed, it poses a question of even greater importance than Manson's crimes: what happened in the '60s? Why did it all end so badly? The soundtrack, performed by former Family members "Little" Paul Watkins (at one time Manson's right-hand man) and Brooks Poston, consists of slow, slightly corny-sounding, but haunting and utterly apt acoustic songs. "Have you ever wondered what you were here for?" Watkins solemnly intones during the opening theme. "Have you ever wondered, 'Is there more?'" Later, talking about his involvement with Manson, Watkins says frankly, "I thought Charlie was Jesus." It is at this point that the sociological question which meanders its way through the film like a deep, dark river becomes apparent: what made these young people feel so lost and confused that they needed a Christ-figure, and what made them believe that Charles Manson was the messiah they sought? I'm afraid that we lost the last of our innocence and goodwill at the end of the '60s...and that if we do not examine how flower power, peace symbols and the Monterey Pop Festival led to sleaze, the Manson murders and Altamont in the space of just two short years, we'll never get it back.
Chi

Chi

Manson (1972) was an excellent documentary following the exploits of one Charlie Manson and his family. Unlike the boring and sanitized for the establishment "Helter Skelter", this film takes you within Charlie's inner circle within the family. Folks this stuff is real. The one on one interviews are geniunely frightening whilst the film-making is top notch. Parts of this movie was later referenced in "House of a 1,000 Corpses". If you ever wanted to find out what it's like hanging with the family, then this one's for you.

Great stuff, highly recommended.

I enjoyed this movie very much. I wish a restored version of this masterpiece would be re-released sometime in the near future. This is time capsule material. Worth seeking out. Not as preachy or silly as the made-for-t.v. mini-series Helter Skelter or as finger pointing as the book.

A

xxx
Urllet

Urllet

"Manson" was filmed in the early 1970s, when Charles Manson and several of his followers were in jail (still on death row at the time of filming, though their terms were later commuted to life imprisonment). At that time many members of the "family" were free and still sticking together, and were, amazingly, willing to appear in this documentary.

This documentary offers a fascinating window into their world; at times frolicking, childlike in the wilderness, dancing, singing, laughing, swimming, riding horses ... but at other times looking at the camera, brandishing large rifles, shotguns and hunting knives, talking about love and killing and, of course, Manson.

Perhaps the most mesmerizing of them is Squeaky Fromme, who a few years later would be sent to prison for trying to assassinate President Gerald Ford, though all of them are fascinating. The producers are careful to point out the solid, often highly educated backgrounds of these women.

Also interviewed are a couple of men who fled the family around the time of the Tate-La Bianca murders, who talk about life inside the family. There are also interviews with past cellmates of the women, who tell often harrowing stories of things the murderous women told them.

Underlying the movie is the stark generational divide of those times. While the past and present members of the family are young, expressive and with a loose, casual look, the appearance of the prosecutor who tried the case -- and whose own account of the trial, "Helter Skelter," (also a movie) is the main source of information on the case -- appears in a three-piece suit, an earnest tone of voice, and melodramatic mannerisms.

If you're wondering why the Manson phenomenon happened, don't watch this hoping for an answer. And if you're looking for more information, don't bother. But if you want to see the people involved, hear them speak and find out how they thought, by all means give it a watch.

An excellent documentary, largely forgotten nowadays (alas).
Contancia

Contancia

This documentary not only captures the deranged philosophy of the Manson family, but it looks sleazy overall. Much of the footage is grainy and unsteady, adding to the brittle feel of the movie, but the interviews with Manson's followers speak for themselves. Makes for interesting viewing in conjunction with "Gimmie Shelter", which documented the clash of hippie culture and violent bikers at the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway. Both of these events signalled the end of the "flower power" movement, but these two movies seem to point out the danger that mind-altering drugs can pose to suggestible kids.

Indeed, a lot of the interviews contained in "Manson" outline the essential role of marijuana and acid in the lifestyle of "the family," and the film clearly posits that Manson used drugs, as well as sex, to brainwash his followers. What's most terrifying about this movie are the candid appearances of the Manson women, staring wide-eyed and generally behaving like automatons. The time was clearly right for an evil individual such as Charles Manson to invade a supposedly peace-loving culture like the hippies, stoned and generally aimless, and orchestrate chaos, and the altered state that these people were in clearly contributed to their own propensity for disillusion and mind control.

What comes off as mostly lacking is the depiction of Manson himself. Although the filmmakers give plenty of background on him, the bizarre images of this man contained in the film do very little to give an accurate depiction of how he must have appeared to his followers. I was haunted by the lingering question of what could possibly have motivated Charles Manson to orchestrate these heinous murders, and even worse is to think that his wishes were carried out by kids who came from seemingly normal backgrounds.

The use of split-screen, as well as the "flower power" soundtrack, add to the quintessentially 70s feel of the movie, but even through all the kitschy hippie images, the shocking nature of the murders, and the tragic phenomenon of Manson's cult, remains. It left me feeling dirty and disturbed after watching it.
Gralsa

Gralsa

This is one of the best documentaries made on Manson and his cult "Family". There is extensive footage of the most important cult members talking about "the Family" and life with Charlie. In addition, the film includes fascinating footage that the family members apparently took of themselves as they lived communally on the Spahn ranch. The most chilling sections involve 3 young women (Lynette Fromme,Sandra Good, Mary Bruner) who explain their views of Charlie and the Tate/La Bianca murders while each one cradles a rifle and passes a snake between them. This film also has very creative cinematography making extensive use of three-panel screens and bold primary colors saturating the frames. Since the documentary Woodstock was shot in 1970, this film seems to have been influenced by it in the use of quick cutting and the tri-panel screens. As part of the sound track there are many "trippy" folk songs (good .wav material) sung by two ex-Manson family members -Brooks Poston and Paul Watkins. While some of the narration by Pearson and Bugliosi is creaky and dated, the bulk of the documentary, especially the extensive interviews, is disturbing and fascinating at the same time. A very good film.
nailer

nailer

"Manson" is an excellent time capsule from a very different time. It's a bit redundant at times, with all the "shocking" talk about sex and drugs, but the information about the crimes and the casual attitude of Manson's women (considering their backgrounds) toward violence and death is fascinating. The question is: were these people just stupid and extremely vulnerable to a person like Manson or are all of us capable of more than we'd like to think? Or were they really deeply psychologically disturbed to begin with? "Manson" is a beautiful, thought-provoking film.
Olwado

Olwado

While "Manson" does not contain any really new information about the infamous Manson murders, it does contain lots of new information about who the family is, their "Helter Skelter" plan, and what they are doing today (circa 1972).

"Manson" is a bit hard to find on video, but when I found it, I bought it and loved it! I had read "Helter Skelter" about 8 times and knew just about everything about the Manson case. I finally was able to see the twisted Family members being interviewed, shown skinny-dipping and sewing, dancing around, and having sex! Squeaky Fromme, Sandy Good, Nancy Pittman, Capistrano, Mary Brunner, Clem, Bruce Davis, Charles Manson, and plenty of witnesses are interviewed, giving grotesquely fascinating details about life in the Family. This is just too good to miss, any true crime buff or anyone who wants to be scared by something that REALLY happened, see this. It will give you the shivers. Features Manson and his Family singing "Never Say Never to Always" and two former Family members doing the rest of the fantastic music.
Gigafish

Gigafish

I want to thank everyone for their interest in our films, especially "MANSON". This being the 40th anniversary of the Manson Murders and The Crime of the Century, we are making both "The original 1973 MANSON documentary film" and the new "Inside the MANSON Gang" available on Limited Edition DVDs from our new Tobann International Pictures Amazon web store. You can now see "MANSON" in its original widescreen format. Simply type "The original MANSON documentary film" into Amazon's store search or "Inside the MANSON Gang" into the same search box and you can find these two titles for sale. If you enjoyed the original MANSON, now you can actually travel with me as I filmed the Manson Gang 40 years ago in "Inside the MANSON Gang". Thank you again and let's all have a great new year. Robert Hendrickson
Dagdardana

Dagdardana

When I rented it the back cover didn't specify what genre it is and I thought it was a movie about Manson. While I was watching it I thought I was unlucky and it was a re-creation of the Family life with actors saying scripted lines supposed to scare us or trouble us. What a surprise when I found that all this was REAL! This is the actual Family interviewed on screen, this is the actual footage from their life! Creepy, no doubt, but a collector's item, if you happen to find it.
Xor

Xor

Manson (1973)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

The television movie HELTER SKELTER is what most people remember when they think of the serial killer, his family and any sort of entertainment. This documentary was released three years before that film and features Vincent Bugliosi as he discusses the crimes, the cult members and various other subjects.

For the time this here is certainly a very entertaining documentary and it really makes you see how things were just a few years after the original murders. We learn about Manson, his rise to power, why the murders were committed and of course we get to meet and see the family. The family is what really makes this documentary stand apart as we get interviews with several family members as they discuss the power of Manson.

The interviews with the family members were certainly the most fascinating thing because you can't help but wish that the police had just dropped a bunch of bombs on these freaks when they went to arrest Manson for the car theft. As were told, the group was arrested for lesser charges because they were eventually charged with the murders that were committed.

It was rather creepy watching these family members as they talk about their plans including killing Frank Sinatra. Watching this documentary you really get a great idea of how crazy these people were and it just makes you wonder why more terror wasn't committed.
Mysterious Wrench

Mysterious Wrench

The Manson murders occur with the finality and shock of those horrendous 2 years - 68-69 where the assassinations of several political leaders left a"lawless", "desperate vacuum". What may have started out as a sick,twisted plot (because Manson's record deal with Terry Melcher went sour) became a nightmare-media-pumped circus that year. Its macabre scenario was coupled with the investigation of JFK - by Jim Garrison also. It signified the end of the 60's. The thought of chaotic ,violent, revolution replacing hopeful, non-violent social protest. This made the youth susceptible to any leader, and a lost,desperate and amoral person such as Manson began the litany; "im simply a reflection of what you want to see" "I'm just being used" - This is a pretty good documentary. I'ts disjointed narrative and unfocused colors make it seem as disruptive as the times. Today, days are empty, meaningless and lost. People are spiritually unfulfilled, but want simple entertainment and just want to work. The 60's represented change, but once the means of change were co-opted by the secret state - revolution came. People wanted to make a difference but the Manson followers were manipulated to live care free lives and destroy the lives of the privileged. This film is worth seeing!
Prince Persie

Prince Persie

This was a documentary and not a movie, but it was a damn good documentary. It really makes you think about Western Civilization and the problems of America. It was just sick, but also it was true.
Dead Samurai

Dead Samurai

One of the previous comments that was made by diamnonddogrising..is spot on. Funny how the media can take a few incidents and make them into a major story to hide the real monsters and the wars of the rich. Just like the media and Bugliosi used Manson and the family to hide the misdeeds of Nixon and his crooks who killed about 58,000+ young men,not to mention millions of Vietnamese citizens,Bush and his evil band of tyrants use their PR firm FOX news to lie and create sensationalist stories of missing children or an occasional murder like the Laci Peterson case to hide all of their evil that murder thousands each day. I am not condoning any actions of Manson or any other...but the big time murderers and criminals wear the suit and ties and reside on wall street and in the halls of congress and our justice system in general. As for the film,it has wonderful,haunting music of a time that mankind almost got it right. With a war for profit that has turned into a nightmarish quagmire and an evil leader like Bush at the helm...can more bloodshed and cults be far behind? This film is an excellent example of what happens when you have a very disenchanted population...and far worse times are ahead for us. We need to get back to the idealism and activism of the 60's before our country falls prey to a fascist dictatorship led by Bush. Wake up. This film is a wonderful time piece and a blueprint about what happens when the American dream turns into the American nightmare. It most definitely needs to be restored and re-released for a generation that needs to understand what happens when people give up hope.
DireRaven

DireRaven

The first time I saw Manson I thought it was a very crappy AIP docu-drama that cashed in the Manson myths.

Several years later, I bought a copy of it on public domain DVD in the 3.99 bin at a local department store. Watching Manson the second time, having already seen Charlie Manson Superstar and a lot of other Manson footage, I noticed that all the participants really, really looked like their real-life counterparts. Then I read that NOT A FRAME OF THIS FILM WAS FAKE!!!

Basically you get to see actual footage of the Spahn Ranch as well as home movies and court footage featuring the real Manson family in their time. I don't know who shot the sequence of Squeaky Fromm holding a shotgun and warning snitches to watch their backs but it's so unbelievably stark you wouldn't believe it. This is an iconic, excellent documentary about the Manson family murders that shows you in detail what exactly occurred during that terrible time and the raging social forces that led up to the family's shocking murders. This film deeply influenced Van Bebber's 'Charlie's Family' aka 'The Manson Family' which is another amazing interpretation of these events.
Lilegha

Lilegha

First things first...I have been interested in the Manson Murders for over two decades. I tend to give movies, art pieces on Manson a wide birth. If I gave these things a narrow birth, this would still be a fantastic film.

Everything these people say this film does it does.

It is a portrait of very stupid people.

It is scary.

And it is like hanging out with a bunch freaky murderers...

But there is more. This is the only film that captures the family at it's "height". (For those of you who say there was no family I use this term to encompass the entire group that worked with Manson.) It is also a fantastic vision for why people and countries need to think on their own. These sheep who were lead to slaughter were led there because of their inability to think for themselves. Most of these people were women. We must remember that this case pre-dates the modern feminist movement by five years. So it was more likely that certain women would be able to put under the influence of a manipulative genius...or a scummy little ex-con. Not that this couldn't happen today...(except for certain sociological reasons it really actually couldn't).

There is more to this case but the problem is a lot of the books on this case are badly written...so be it...my recommendations are Taming the Beast and Helter Skelter...also The Family has a ton of information but is quite simply one of the worst written books on earth.

The Film gets a little lost and the end and begins to meander but one can attribute this to the druggy feel of this film rather then the fact that the filmmakers may have run out of things to say on this film.

What also makes this film interesting is that most of the women do seem extremely intelligent (Mary Brunner and Gypsy should be excluded). It is too bad that these filmmakers couldn't or wouldn't get interviews with the families of these women. This would have pushed this film towards perfection maybe even making it a perfect documentary.

There are also a few mysteries that go along with this film. One is why is this not a really well known documentary? Another is Why have there never been a soundtrack released and why has this never been released on DVD officially? Also there is the murder of one of the filmmakers in the parking lot of an acting school that Sharon Tate had attended. Also there have never been any interviews of the filmmakers and there never seems to be any evidence of say the critical reviews of this film. We must remember this film was nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary so someone seems to have seen this film. I guess no one wanted to discuss it.

If you are thinking of buying this film go for it...you wouldn't regret it... it will chill you to the bone and make you laugh because of it's narration...
riki

riki

This film deals with some outright delusional and mean people and anti social reality's.The music is played by Paul Watkin's, and a friend (friends name I don't know?) and not Charles Manson. Pauls music is cool. It is not Charles Mansos's music, as some unaware user posted. I think the film and the music are both fantastic!(where can I get a copy of this soundtrack?) I own much Manson music, much of it recorded illegally and under stressful conditions, to say the least. Manson's music, not in this film, is crazy, but also Charles Manson's music is damn good. This film is not suitable for children, obviously, and I do not recommend it to glorify violence either. Yet I do recommend this film for the sake of free thought and expression. If you can open your mind enough to actually listen to CD's like Charles Manson:Commemoration, you may be pleasantly surprised. It is in this same spirit that I highly recommend this film. We need to keep it real, people. Snoop Dog was on trial for murder, yet he raps to the tune of millions. President Bush started a war which has needlessly killed thousands of innocent women, children and men, both American's and Iraqi's, based upon false existence of WMD's, and their imminent threat to our lives. See a pattern here: the media creates drama and fear, and in Manson they struck a goldmine which is still plundered today, ala 2007. This nation, that I love but I must admit, also, was founded upon the blood of innocent, murdered, brutalized and butchered Indian's and enslaved, tortured, raped and beaten African Americans. So come on down from that hi, white tower, the world is beautiful and everybody should just get along and be like well-off white people BS.. The point in my rant, excuses extended, is not to justify or explain away any of the savage violence these maniacs committed (I don't care how many tabs of acid I dropped, nobody could ever convince me to murder in cold blood, or believe he was Jesus!)... the point is to look at it from a new angle. If you have already made up your mind, or had it made for you by the immoral media which floods our psyches with fear and garbage in this country, then honest reflection will bear out that you needn't bother either. Watkins, by the way, went on to do many good works, lecturing against substance abuse, anti social tendencies and the threat of cults, like the Manson family, presented here. Watkins left the clan before all the killing started, and he saw it coming. His interview segments and his music alone make this worth viewing again. I recommend it with liquor. Peace.
Ffyan

Ffyan

In 1969, a group of drug-addled hippies committed a string of murders in Los Angeles County, the first to get their money back from a dope deal gone bad, the rest as a pot- inspired half-arsed ploy to smokescreen the police. A deputy district attorney named Vincent Bugliosi was desperate to make a name for himself. A marriage was made in headlines. Bugliosi knew the story at face value wasn't salacious enough to sell books, so he began to fabricate an intricate yarn tying the whole mess to a career convict that these stoner dropouts had been following around. He dazzled the press with grandiose tales of a flower-power Jesus figure who brainwashed clean-cut middle-class kids with sex and LSD, and ordered the enslaved to commit murders out of an apocalyptic race-war paranoia. Also involved in this wild fable were an "English recording group" called the Beatles, who gave this Mescaline Messiah his visions through a white-jacketed double album featuring the song "Helter Skelter". In the process, Bugliosi turned a petty criminal named Charlie Manson into a creation of media mythology named Charles Manson, Evil Incarnate.

There are some good reasons for Manson enthusiasts to watch this movie; there is extensive footage of the Spahn Ranch and the remaining stragglers from the so-called Manson Family. The interviews with Sandra Good and Danny Bonaduce-doppelganger Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme are amusing, as they feed into Bugliosi's made-for-TV mythos of hippies-turned- killers by mugging with various deadly weapons. But the ringmaster here is clearly Bugliosi and his spin on the events, which is obvious from his shameless hamming for the camera from first introductory shot. And the obnoxious narrator sounds like a drunken Jack Webb, inflecting overt judgement at every turn (I get especially nauseous when he fawns about "beautiful, honey-blonde Sharon Tate" or derisively snides that Manson's girls think "everyone should have a father like Charlie"). The interviews with the visibly high Paul Watkins are especially insipid, as he leans on his ever-present flute trying to remember what Bugliosi- orchestrated revisioning of family philosophy he's parroting.

For anyone trying to suss out what actually happened that summer of 1969, look elsewhere. Anyone interested in seeing a contemporary slab of propaganda released for the sole purpose of exploiting Vincent Bugliosi's nascent wet dream, this is for you.
Kezan

Kezan

If you have read Bugliosi's true crime account, than don't miss this.

This would be a necessary viewing for anyone with a vague interest in true crime in general or documentaries too.

Did it deserve an Oscar? I think so.

Filmed before the killings, (most of it anyway) but released after, it made you wonder why the signs weren't noticed earlier.

Charlie preaches the typical hippie shtick and his wide-eyed, spacey followers talk about love and knives in the same thought. If there was ever a graphic anti-hallucinogenic drug ad, this was it.

This needs a new DVD release with updates and special additions. Someone get on it. It's worth it.
Ballazan

Ballazan

Disturbing and engrossing documentary about the Manson family as well as the murders they committed. The title's a bit misleading, as the bulk of the docu is about his brainwashed family and other people who crossed paths with him, although clips of interviews with the man himself appear here and there.

Highlights of the film have to be the interviews with Squeaky Fromme and friends where they proclaim Manson is Jesus reincarnated and present their own skewed philosophies on their way of life.
Tuliancel

Tuliancel

I saw this movie back in the mid 80's & just seen it again,the movie takes you back to the look & feel of the 70's & how Charlie's people lived.Charlie's kids were not the only people on the face of the earth killing people,there was the murder of the President,Martin Luther King, Jim Jones & his 900 follower's excreta excreta,it kind of makes you think that what Charlie said made sense"I am a product of your environment" "my father is your prisons",he only gave back what was put into him.Although Charlie is not in the movie his followers have internalized everything he has taught them & they have become a mirror image of Charlie,acting as he would act,speaking the word's that he has spoken,his actions & behavior's have become there action's & behavior's.Over all my opinion of the movie was pretty good giving everyone some insight on how The Family lived,laughed, had sex,did drugs & killed together.
lolike

lolike

There have been many, many books written and movies made about the infamous Charles Manson case but this is the definitive film to watch because every second of it is REAL! While films like "Helter Skelter" and "The Manson Family" are compelling and others such as "Manson Family Movies" are below par this film stands head and shoulders above the rest because everything you are seeing is real. There are no actors/actresses in this movie. This movie shows the real Manson family members and holds nothing back as they discuss all of their daily activities on the Ranch from the bizarre sex orgies and drug induced "freak outs" to the various births and murders that took place within the family. Here, the Manson family members speak out and offer their philosophy to the world and the viewer gets a true sense of just how evil these people truly were. Manson's music is even heard on the soundtrack, sung by Manson himself. If you are looking for the most accurate portrayal of what these people were truly like and what life was like for them everyday and what might have driven them to commit the horrible crimes that they did then this is the film to watch!
Angana

Angana

I have just viewed this documentary for the first time. I missed it when it initially came out.

I'm left thinking of how each new generation could benefit from the obvious story told through this film's depiction. It presents a good case of how demented and out of whack with society young people can be when under the influence of mind-altering drugs.

There will always be those handing out good arguments for the legalization of illegal drugs. The most recent one being marijuana in a way of it having so-called medicinal properties.

I think "Manson" tells us of how with any act of society in legalizing hallucinogenic drugs would come a great influence on the mindset of our youth and in such a way as is readily seen in this documentary. I also think the film tells us of how the family in it's attempt to mask any emotions pertaining to scary reality digresses down to a living hell by first having contact with the gateway drug "marijuana" and then proceeding on with more potent drug associations thereafter.

The storyline is unbelievably real. A frightening account of youth having fun until everything homicidally slips out of their control.