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Showing 1-10 of 39 reviews(verified purchases). Show all reviews
on October 3, 2005
Well, what can I say; after all these years, Charles Manson remains a looming presence in the collective American Psyche. And he doesn't even have a Public Relations Firm working for him. Pretty impressive, Charlie. So, as for the movie. I like it, mainly for the strange portrayal of Charles Manson who is, let's face it, strange to say the least. I like the Jeremy Davies' interpretation of America's most notorious Svengali and orchestrator of at least two very gruesome and very public mass murders. As for historical accuracy; who knows what Manson really said to these impressionable young people who carried out his wicked, murderous instructions? I liked the portrayal of Manson and other real life figures such as Dennis Wilson and Terry Melcher. Sharon Tate was so beautiful in real life that it would be difficult to find someone who could equal her physicality; but the actress who plays her does an adequate job, especially when she gets a glimpse of Manson when he comes to the door searching for Terry Melcher. Hey, let's face it; you may think he is evil and even repulsive; but the man, Manson, continues to fascinate still, after all these years. Anyway, maybe it wasn't necessary to remake this movie. The first made for television film was actually quite good though it did take a different approach to the material. Also, why bother to remake this material into a film after all these years? I like it, mainly for the eccentric Charles Manson portrayal; but I'm repeating myself. Well, that's that. Watch this film for Charlie and his gang and a lurid, albeit bloody and brutal, trip down memory lane.
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on June 29, 2009
I thought this movie was great! You learn about what the Manson family did from their point of view. The details were interesting because they told you what had happened during the murders and how Manson became more demanding from his followers. This movies shows how the family started down their road of destruction. Nothing like the book or previous movie which was from Bugliosi's notes. This movie is solely from the Manson family and Krenwrinkle's perspective. Very interesting, well made (the acting is exceptional)and surprisingly the movie showed what had happened on those gruesome nights.
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on July 21, 2009
This film is decent. It's not as good as the original "Helter Skelter" from 1976, but it's different. It's a closer look at Charlie and the Family, more comprehensive in covering the various events that happened, a refreshing departure from the original, which was based closely on the book. Exceptional performances were Jeremy Davies as Manson, so good that he's unrecognizable as the geeky doofus in Saving Private Ryan. Allison Smith playing Patricia Krenwinkel was particularly good because her presence was very eerie, will make your skin crawl. And Marguerite Moreau who played Susan Atkins was notable because of that characters' non-chalant, ho-hum attitude about such grisly murders. Another good point is more attention paid to the events that were key to what made it all happen - the breakdown between Charlie, Dennis Wilson, and Terry Melcher. Except it was too brief. All accounts of the story are clear that Manson's rage and descent into a murderous maelstrom began when the Beach Boys used one of his songs without permission and was ingloriously turned away by Melcher (producer for Capitol Records). Another disappointment was Linda Kasabian being the centerpiece of this film. The real Tex Watson, Krenwinkel, and Van Houten are alive and would have gladly provided their stories. Yet another was production sets and the soundtrack; it gave a peculiar contemporary feel whereas the 1976 version was unmistakably life as it was in 1969. Still another was its odd ending; it was too sudden, as if it needed something else to close more smoothly. All in all this 2004 version is worthy for the casual viewer, but for crime buffs it's worth owning.
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on November 23, 2004
The actors cast in several of the roles are without a doubt my biggest complaint of the new Helter Skelter movie. Although a few of the actors were a good choice for the parts they played, can anyone explain to me the choice of Jeremy Davies as Manson? Anyone who has seen the original 1976 version has to agree that the ultimate performance ever given in this role was that by Steve Railsback in 1976. Also, I really don't think Bruno Kirby captured Bugliosi the way DiCenzo did in the original.

Another less-than-stellar casting choices were the actor who played Leno LaBianca (LaBianca was from CA, not the stereotypical Brooklyn Italian), but there were also actors who I felt were accurately cast and performed well such as the actresses chosen to play Sharon Tate, Susan Atkins,Linda Kasabian and the actors who played Dennis Wilson, Frychowski, and Polanski.

Although the locations were somewhat accurate, I knew immediately that the Cielo Drive address had been completely reversed; but the actual house itself was actually accurate in comparison to the to the original on Cielo.

Again, overall a good flick (and maybe it was my age when I saw the original)but just not as intense or frightening as the original with Railsback's performance. At that time, I actually thought he was the real Charles Manson.

Enjoy it and make up your own mind!
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on June 12, 2016
August 9 1969 Charles Miles Manson thought he was Jesus Christ and his cult followers killed Sharon Tate, and many others! This is the true
story of the manson murders and the aftermath that followed with them! Jeremy Davies is spot on as Charles Manson! I would recommend this to anyone!
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on June 20, 2014
Jeremy Davies is one of the quirkiest actors working today. His strange cadence and his breathless intonations make for some strange experiences and he is fortunate that he has managed to avoid playing exclusively serial killers. Like Brad Dourif, he has a creepy stare and purposeful method that is just too off-putting to play romantic leads, which did not stop him from being one of the best and most sympathetic characters on Lost. Still, even when he is in car commercials, there is a Manson vibe going.

So the director must have been very happy to cast him in this movie. Without him, the movie might be three stars or even two stars since it falls into cliches and it still has to pay attention to the book which is about the trial. Other characters are pretty flat and there are too many subplots.

Yet, Jeremy Davies captures quite a bit of the essence of Charles Manson as a man who is always performing for an audience, who can be alternately affectionate, charismatic and scary. He's the kind of guy that you meet at a party who seems really cool and interesting and only after talking to him for a little bit do you want to get away from him and never talk to him again. What makes Davies' performance so great is the fact that he never relies on the fact that he is Charles Manson and that we all know that he's a nutcase. He plays Manson with the energy of someone who wants what he wants and does everything to get it. Whether he is just showing up at a Beach Boy's guest house to threaten him or he is deluding himself into thinking that his musical career will take off, he is extremely compelling and I could just watch him being Manson the entire movie. In fact, he is one of the few actors to convey the charisma that made people want to join up with Manson in the first place.

The movie wisely uses the main witness in the trial for the perspective character. You get to see her joining the commune to get away from her husband and giving up her possessions in a way that would be very intrusive but seems like a good idea at the time. She is seduced by Manson and then she gets more into things and finds out that she doesn't want to be there anymore. I would have liked more exploration of her character and choices (it does seem to gibe too well with the woman's self-justifying story) but she does work well as a perspective since you get to see the charisma and the discomfort with many of the other cult members.
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on March 3, 2015
While different in its' approach than the earlier version starring Steve Railsback, this offering provides new insights into the mind and personality of Manson and his followers. Perhaps more accurate in some ways, we are able to glean an idea of how such a charismatic man, perverted by his own life experiences, could find the drug-infested culture of the sixties the perfect catalyst by which to launch his twisted ideologies. While it's tragic that he had such a fertile ground in the dazed minds of kids wrapped up in the counter-culture, we can learn many lessons from the story. There is no denying that it remains an iconic part of American history.

Jeremy Davies is nothing short of brilliant in his portrayal of Manson, having mastered the speech and mannerisms well enough to bring the wild-eyed, self-proclaimed prophet to life as he was during that tumultuous period.
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on January 11, 2014
I can't believe I paid almost $25 for this movie USED, and I'm downright shocked that it has a collective rating greater than two stars. I guess it's a collective reflection of the average American's intelligence. This movie is abhorrent. The acting is terrible and the majority of the content is inaccurate. Some truths have been taken and inserted where they don't belong, and fictional nonsense has been added when it wasn't necessary (like Manson throwing a bullet at Dennis Wilson in a threatening gesture). The murder scenes will satisfy the morbidly curious, desensitized type; while graphically (and at times inaccurately) emphasizing the horrific nature of the crimes - features omitted from the movie made in the 70's - the murder scenes are highly exploitative of the victims, negating any redeeming potential. Two more significant inaccuracies depict Sharon Tate asking Susan Atkins to cut out the baby (which never happened), and then Tex, Patricia and Susan are shown in silhouette stabbing Sharon simultaneously (which also never happened). Back at Spahn Ranch, about 30 people are shown hovering around the TV like they're at a sports bar, boisterously cheering and clapping when the murders are announced on the news!! In yet another scene Linda Kasabian is found sleeping with a clean, fluffy, brand-new pillow! Hahahahaha! This movie is the epitome of cheese. Please trust me on this - I've been a Mansonphile for many, many years. If you're unfamiliar with the case, don't buy it. You'll look like a blithering idiot if you attempt to share your newfound knowledge on message boards or with anyone remotely familiar with the case. Seriously. Get the original version made in the 70's. It's at least 75% more accurate than this one and is a decent summarization of Bugliosi's book. I just wasted almost two hours of my life that I'll never get back, and the only reason I made it that far is because my boyfriend and I were tickled to tears by Manson's whispery, girly voice.

It's worth mentioning that there is a disclaimer displayed before the movie starts that states, and I quote: "The following dramatization, although fictionalized, is based on actual events. Dialogue and certain events and characters have been created or altered for dramatic purposes." It's my misfortune that I didn't leave my blinders on after this warning was displayed. Anyway, I uploaded a photo of the disclaimer.

I plan to resell this movie on eBay, but it really seems contradictory - and even unethical - to do so after just dissuading Amazon shoppers from buying it. I s'pose if I copy and paste what I just wrote into my eBay listing, no one can accuse me of being dishonest about why I'm selling it, lol.

*Edited to extend a one time special offer: If you are compelled to downvote my review and are still seriously considering purchasing this movie, sacrifice your anonymity by leaving a comment and I'll send it to you for $10 with free shipping.
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on July 20, 2014
Jeremy Davies was excellent in this version.
Extremely realistic and eerie.
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on November 3, 2006
If you saw the original, this DVD shows you the other side. It completes it all.
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