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January 20, 2017

Movie Review: The Manson Family (2003 via 1997)

Nothing like delving into the nightmare world of Charlie Manson and his followers. Most of the US, and probably the world, know of the atrocities these people committed. And sometimes it can be interesting to get a peek behind the curtain inside a madman’s mind.

But this is not one of those times.

The Manson Family was shot like a documentary. A local television producer is tired of Charles Manson getting all the hype. Why is no one talking to the Family to get their side of the story? He puts together several interviews with the ‘where are they now’ members. In between those scenes, we are privy to flashbacks to 1969 and the events therein with Charles and his followers. And while all of this is going down, we get to watch a group of young people as they prepare themselves for…something by doing drugs naked, performing S&M, and worshipping Manson in someone’s mom’s basement because angst.
And that’s all I have to say about that because this is just another mother fucking art film.

The TV producer and grunge kids’ scenes are shot regularly, as in they look like they’re from the 90s. But the rest, even the interviews of modern day Manson Family members, was filmed to look like old 8MM film. It’s trying to put on exploitation airs but fails miserably, despite the overwhelming violence, blood, drugs, and nudity.

Though I have to give props to the film’s writer, director, editor, producer, make-up artist, and actor, Jim Van Bebber, for giving the men equal full frontal nudity time.

The Mr. Clean convention.
There’s so much contrived avant garde in this film that within five minutes, I wanted to slit my own throat and give myself a Colombian necktie. All these overlay images of bloody dolls or blood spraying on white roses while the disaffected youth play at Christian Grey; so many odd and tilted angled shots or acid-trip lighting; the recorded speech from Jim Jones right before he directed his followers to commit suicide by Kool-Aid is spattered through the entire film; the credits roll BACKWARDS.

This is 90 minutes of posturing and ego-stroking with no new or even interesting insights into Charles Manson and his Family.

0 Hatchets (out of 5)