21 June 2024
Helter Skelter (1976)
184 min.
Directed by Tom Gries.
With George DiCenzo, Steve Railsback, Nancy Wolfe, Marilyn Burns, Christina Hart, Cathey Paine, Alan Oppenheimer, Skip Homeier, David Clennon, Paul Mantee, Sidney Clute.
This mega chilling documentary-style TV movie chronicles the Charles Manson murders.

Case prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi (DiCenzo) brilliantly works backwards through the cluttered debris of the crimes, ultimately linking the Spahn Ranch-based Manson hippie cult to the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders that took place in 1969.

Marilyn Burns is exceptional as prosecution witness Linda Kasabian, but it's Railsback who haunts you in your sleep thanks to his dead on portrayal of the demented Manson.

In truth, nearly all the supporting performances are equally flawless, from Wolfe's turn as Atkins to Hart's portrayal of Krenwinkel.

True crime brought to the small screen with utter distillation, Helter Skelter is rightfully unnerving from the opening dissonant chords of the classic Beatles' tune to its saddening conclusion.

Benefits immensely from having been produced (relatively) recent to when the actual crimes too place, ie 7 years as opposed to 20 or 30 years on. As a result, the fashions, look, feel and overall vibe is spot on.

Originally aired on two nights. A must see.

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