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Helter Skelter


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#31

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Posted May 16, 2004 @ 10:42 PM

Never mind.

Edited by Warden, May 16, 2004 @ 10:44 PM.


#32

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Posted May 16, 2004 @ 10:45 PM

Manson did go to the Tate house and he and Sharon did see each other. Very chilling if you think about it. I don't know about Voytek, but I thought Abigail was the one who begged them to just kill her. I was really irritated by the scene with Sharon and Jay Sebring though. Polanski made it really clear when he was interviewed by LAPD that he, Sebring, and Sharon were all very friendly and platonic. It seemed like a cheap shot.

I still think the film should've focused on Bugliosi and the investigation from the start. Those last forty minutes were the best part of the whole thing. Use flashbacks, whatever, take on a couple second narratives (Linda, etc) , but do it from the cops' POV. I also felt Sadie, Katie, and Leslie were way too interchangeable. Summer Glau, though wonderful, is too pretty to be Sadie. And there was not enough Mary Lynn Rajskub! There can never be too much Mary Lynn Rajskub.

I did liked the voice distortion on the murder scenes (reminded me of Twin Peaks' big scene with Leland and Cousin Maddy) and some of the solarization FX, but beyond that nothing to write home about.

#33

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Posted May 16, 2004 @ 11:04 PM

I never saw the original, but somehow I know it would be better anyway.

It wasn't bad, just not terribly exciting, especially after you've read the book. I thought it started out strong, got kinda weak in the middle, had a few good moments when Sadie testified for the grand jury, and ended on a weird note.

Did Manson actually go to the Tate house before the murders happened and find out that Terry Melcher wasn't there anymore? I thought he sent his family to do the deed thinking that Melcher and/or Brian Wilson was there and would be one of the deceased.

No, this was one thing that Bugliosi was shocked to find out if I remember correctly. I also remember someone telling Bugliosi that Sharon had said the next day, "did that creepy guy come back?" So Sharon Tate did in fact come face to face with the man who masterminded her murder. Chilling indeed. (that part about Voytek is speculative I think. No one knows if they had a confrontation, but it seemed likely).

I still think the film should've focused on Bugliosi and the investigation from the start.

Couldn't agree more. As someone said, that's the best part about the book.

I also felt Sadie, Katie, and Leslie were way too interchangeable. Summer Glau, though wonderful, is too pretty to be Sadie.

Agreed and agreed. Not only that, I didn't think she was nearly evil enough. She did better in the courtroom scenes, but I thought they worked the spaced out hippie angle too much (which granted is what she was)... but she needed more of a glint.

#34

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Posted May 16, 2004 @ 11:19 PM

'Chloe' from '24' is going to be typecast as "token strange woman" after playing Squeaky. She does oddball a little too well.

#35

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Posted May 16, 2004 @ 11:20 PM

Summer Glau, though wonderful, is too pretty to be Sadie.


That wasn't Summer Glau; Marguerite Moreau is the actress who portrayed Sadie.

#36

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Posted May 16, 2004 @ 11:26 PM

Which one was Summer Glau, then? I'm lost. I know Catherine Wadkins from General Hospital was another. I think all three are wrong, except maybe Moreau who would make a good Leslie. But Leslie was really the only 'pretty' one -- Sadie was more homely, but also child-like and absolutely terrifying to me. She didn't give that off this time.

#37

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Posted May 16, 2004 @ 11:32 PM

I don't think that Summer Glau was even in this, she isn't listed on IMDB, but it isn't 100%. I get your beef though, to many interchangeable long haired bruinettes running around, it was a bit tough to tell them apart at times.

#38

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Posted May 16, 2004 @ 11:56 PM

This was bad. I think I'm an evil girl because I burst into fits of giggles when Crazy Charlie punched the pregnant lady. And also in the scene where he's discussing the why-nots of the word "why" and spouts gibberish to Clea DuVall. I probably would've enjoyed it more had it not been for the distractingly bad wigs and makeup. And the scenery chewing.

I recognized Linda's mother as Carmen Ferrara's AAM (Alcoholic Abusive Mom).

Edited by TragedyInHarmony, May 16, 2004 @ 11:57 PM.


#39

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 12:38 AM

I think that the original was better. It plays on cable a lot, so keep an eye out. It just played on Lifetime Movie Network (which I don't get) this past week, but I've seen it on other channels.

This version focused on the Manson family, but it turns out that watching a bunch of drugged-out idiots isn't very compelling. One scene that occurs in both versions is when Vincent Bugliosi's watch stops. It was much creepier in the original, despite knowing intellectually that Manson had no such power. Also, the era was evoked better in the original. Yes, that's probably because they were much closer to it than we are now. Jeremy Davies did have the Manson voice down pat.

I recognized Linda's mother as Carmen Ferrara's

Generation gap--I always think of L.A. Law when I see Susan Ruttan.

#40

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 1:17 AM

While I was watching this I kept thinking that I wish they'd just rerun the original version.

This was flat. Evidently the only interesting thing about the Manson family was that they were murderers. Really boring murderers.

On a side note, I have a relative who's a born again christian who used to correspond with Susan Atkins after Atkins became born again in prison. This pretty much creeped out the rest of the family.

#41

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 1:22 AM

I didn't watch the whole movie, but the beginning music sounded a lot like something from The X-Files. Who did I see in the credits? Mark Snow. I guess he thought nobody would notice that he was reusing music from The X-Files.

#42

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 1:50 AM

Mark Snow. I guess he thought nobody would notice that he was reusing music from The X-Files.


What i noticed was that the pulse sound they used to cut to commercials is the same one they use on every crime drama in the world.

Needed more Chloe...I mean, Squeaky. Really, she was the main reason i tuned in. She may not have had a hand in the murders, but she was a pretty colorful and outspoken character during the trial. And she was just played with such scary confidence.

So why did they decide to concentrate on the least interesting parts of the story? Life at the ranch? I've seen way too many "scary hippie" movies to be impressed by endless drug and orgy scenes. You want frightening, try "Wild In The Streets". This was just every bad 60's cliche scene rolled into one.

Additionally, they didn't even bother showing Manson's trial. Instead, we're treated to the endless pretrial motions and his desperate attempts to play the clown in court. What about the great moment where he went for the judge and had to be wrestled to the ground by the balliffs? Instead we get the typical "cast standing together" shot with written epilogues.

Meh. Disappointed.

#43

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 2:05 AM

I turned it on around 8:45, right before the guy ran out of the Tate house all bloody. I haven't seen the original so I can't compare, but I thought this one was okay. The last hour was pretty good with the testimony and flashblacks together. And the dude that played Charles Manson was really good. Very, very creepy but good. Still, I thought it'd be better.

My local news kept plugging a story at 11 on "Philadelphia's own Charles Manson". Gawd. It seemed really tacky.

#44

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 3:26 AM

Bugliosi was the exec producer of this version, which would lead me to suspect he either agreed to or actually chose both Bruno Kirby and the version in which the story was told.

#45

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 4:58 AM

I thought Abigail was the one who begged them to just kill her.

IIRC from the book, she was the one.

Edited by Mrs Visnjic I Wish, May 17, 2004 @ 5:00 AM.


#46

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 5:40 AM

The original was better. The fascinating part for me (especially in the book) was how incompetent the various police departments were in working together and how they solved the case and then the circus revolving around the courthouse.

Was Linda Kasabian somehow involved in this version, because she came out of it looking like an innocent by-stander.

I didn't find this one nearly as creepy as the original. I don't think Manson came off as intelligently evil as he does in any other thing I've seen about him. He just seemed crazy and delusional. I don't think they conveyed well enough the reason everyone blindly followed him.

#47

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 8:06 AM

I watched it last night and have mixed feelings about the movie. I agree that it wasn't as good as the 1976 TV movie, but I still enjoyed it last night.

First, I think that Jeremy Davies and Marguerite Moreau really shined in this. Davies as Manson can join Mark Harmon as Ted Bundy in the Hall of Fame of TV Serial Killers. Moreau's Sadie was all kinds of creepy, especially when interviewed and on the stand.

I understand why John Gray wanted to do this differently, with Bugliosi's blessing. He outlined it in this week's TV Guide. The law enforcement and courtroom angle had altready been explored in the book and the original movie. He wanted to focus on Manson, the cult, and the victims to remind people how truly gruesome Manson was almost 35 years ago.

Every five years, Manson comes up for parole, causing half of California to go ape-shit in fear he may be released. Manson also has become a cult hero with the passage of time. He gets more mail, from "fans" and "followers", than anyone else in the Calif. penal system. People have forgotten how pure evil this monster is. Gray felt it was time to remind the public who either were not born, too young, or have forgotten the Tate/Lobianco murder details.

In this quest, I think he partially succeeded. Certainly Gray didn't hold back too much on the gore. (CBS actually made him clean it up before broadcast because of the overwhelming intensity.) Where I think he fell flat is something that was mentioned here: Davies' Manson comes off as so psychotic and delusional that it becomes too farfetched to comprehend how all of these people in his cult would want to blindly follow him. He's entertaining but not very believable.

I also have to agree with those here that feel almost all the women cult members were similar and one-dimensional, making it hard to tell them apart. Clea Duvall's Linda was well acted, but I too felt that she came off as too sympathetic compared to the book.

Overall, I'll give the movie a B.

Edited by LostinSpace, May 17, 2004 @ 9:28 AM.


#48

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 8:54 AM

i was annoyed by the fact that sharon was in that nightgown - she was in bra and panties... why not show her that way? it's not like she was naked...

and i've read a bunch of books, but don't remember ever reading that she asked for the baby to be cut out after she'd been stabbed... only that she'd pleaded for the life of her child before they started in on her. was that in susan atkin's book???

i also think it would have been good if they'd shown manson going back to the tate house and looking over what had been done...

#49

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 10:02 AM

-I enjoyed the movie, it had it's creepy moments, but from what I've heard (I'm 17, and haven't had the opportunity to see the 1976 one like many of you), the 1976 one had Manson looking more manical and scary. This one had me thinking that he was just goofy.

-On my way to my internship today I heard that the Helter Skelter book was banned... does anyone know if this is true?

-Not enough Mary Lynn Raskub. When they showed the credits at the beginning, I think her name was fourth so I assumed she had a big part in the movie... but I think I only saw her in what had to be five scenes. (Besides the group orgies, which were also extremely strange)

-Off topic: Is Roman Polanski the director who moved to France because he was accused of having sex with an underage girl?

-How could they possibly confirm that Sharon Tate was being hit on just before she was murdered?

-Was the woman Sadie confessed to Edna from Everwood? She sure as hell looked like her.

I enjoyed the movie, I hope it gives CBS a nice number, but I HATE that it had to be edited due to the FCC. They should release an unedited version on DVD along with the 1976 one.

#50

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 10:04 AM

While I was watching this I kept thinking that I wish they'd just rerun the original version.


Word to that. Davies and Duvall gave interesting performances, but the 1976 placed more emphasis on the investigation than last night's film did, which was the best part. I understand that this was done purposely, but it needed to be made clear (IMO) that the verdicts handed down to Manson et al were also based on his outrageous courtroom antics, the assistance of two police forces, the ABC reporters who found the clothes thrown out by the murders after the Tate murders and the family who found the gun.

#51

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 10:19 AM

I didn't watch the whole movie, but the beginning music sounded a lot like something from The X-Files. Who did I see in the credits? Mark Snow. I guess he thought nobody would notice that he was reusing music from The X-Files.


Thanks for bringing up the music, hlmac17. It was kind of an anachronism to have trip hop background music for a creepy-crawl scene that took place in 1969. I think it would have worked much better to really capture the essence of the time if some jam band had been hired to wax psychedelic.

Jeremy Davies did a lot better with the role than I thought he was capable of but what was the deal with those hands toward the beginning of the movie? He was waving them around like some kind of street magician. Although he looks nothing like Manson, I think someone like Giovanni Ribisi could have given a whole lot of intensity to the part.

#52

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 10:29 AM

Off topic: Is Roman Polanski the director who moved to France because he was accused of having sex with an underage girl?


Not just accused - convicted. The reason he is in Europe is because he's too chickenshit to come to America and go to jail.

That is something I greatly disliked about this movie. They didn't portray Roman Polanski nearly as accurate as the accounts that have been given by the Tate family and friends....Roman Polanski was a womanizer and was sleeping with other women well after Sharon had told him she was pregnant. And what was even worse was that Sharon knew about it. According to most accounts, Sharon was planning on divorcing his ass over it.

#53

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 10:32 AM

Sign of a choppy, poorly edited movie--when someone who doesn't really know anything about the story (Mr. Fraoch) has to keep asking someone who DOES know more about the case (me) for clarification on what's going on every 20 minutes.

The good: I liked the glimpses of chaos with that heartbeat-sounding music during the flashbacks to the murders. Nice way of conveying terror and mayhem without getting horribly graphic. Honorable mention: Those awesome, AWESOME wigs and fake mustaches on the cast. The guy playing Terry Melchor had, I think, a strip of tan carpet taped to his upper lip to approximate facial hair. Bravo, filmmakers, bravo.

The not-so-good: My local newspaper review commented that the script had originally been for a 4-hour movie, and it was later trimmed to 3. The trimming really showed. I wish, if they wanted to concentrate on the pre-trial stuff, that we'd seen more of how Charlie managed to gather this family around him and what made his word so compelling that the women would accept without question eating after the dogs were finished, for example. Instead, it was just scenes of crazy, babble, crazy, crazy, orgy, crazy. Also, the thing that stuck with me from the original movie were the shots of seasoned law enforcement officials going into the houses and then running outside to vomit because the crimes were just so horrific. The cops in last night's movie were all "ho-hum, another body on the lawn, check, let's keep it moving, gentlemen."

Am I misremembering, or did Susan Atkins say that she stabbed Sharon in the stomach specifically to kill the baby after Sharon had been begging her to save it?

#54

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 10:54 AM

I've long been interested in this story because a best friend went to high school with Sharon (she was nice as she was beautiful), another friend was a prison guard over Leslie Van Houten (found her to be scary still), and yet another friend was one of the psychologists who interviewed Tex Watson.

I think both movies were good but the first one was better. The problem with this the new version was in trying to do such a big story in one three-hour-with commercials stretch. For example, I believe one of the most important parts of the story (and a prime example of police incompetence) is left out of this version. Returning to the ranch after committing the Tate murders, the gang threw away their bloody clothes and the blunt line revolver in a canyon. The gun was found by a small boy and turned in to the police. It sat on a shelf for months and almost was thrown out. Finally the boy's father told his story to a neighbor who happened to be a local TV news reporter who followed up with the police. And a TV news team drove the route from El Cielo Drive to the ranch and found the bloody clothes, etc. Without that weapon, which could be tied directly to Manson, Bugliosi would have had a difficult time prosecuting him.

BTW, my psychologist friend insisted that Manson's primary method of control over Tex, et al, was massive use of drugs (and as the film shows, Manson himself consumed few drugs). Tex told him of one time when Manson gave him a large dosage of drugs and told him to crawl across a stretch of desert. Tex promptly obeyed.

Also, Bugliosi repeatedly said that Linda Kasabian was about the only one who was consistently human in her responses to the murders. She did not participate and I don't think this version was inaccurate in its portrayal of her.

From what I've read, the movie isn't that inaccurate in its portrayal of Roman. Despite his wandering, I think he truly loved Sharon and his words at the press conference about what they were doing to her memory were truly felt. But he was a highly flawed person and Sharon was having doubts about whether the marriage could be made to work.

Sharon Tate's family was damned near destroyed by all of this. Her father died a few years after. Her saintly mother Doris spent years working to humanize prisoners and in testifying against the gang at the parole hearings. And now that she's dead from cancer, Sharon's sister keep up with her work.

I recommend Greg King's book about Sharon the murders as a supplement to Bugliosi's great book.

#55

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 11:06 AM

The scene where he just stares at prosecuter Vincent Bugliosi and then Bugliosi realizes his watch suddenly stopped. Creeeeepppy.


OMG thatsforsure, you are so right. I saw that for the first time when I was about 14 or 15. Railsback was almost as creepy as the real Manson. I still kinda dread that part when it comes up and think about changing the channel like a big pussy. The 70s version was so good that I read the book. It was a great book and a great movie.

This remake sucked. I was never even slightly freaked out. The girl who played Linda Kasabian (she's in Carnivale on HBO) was really good. Other than that, it was boring. I couldn't get into the guy playing Manson, not even for a second. It was like he was doing a bad hippy impression. All the weird hand movements just made it seem even more fake. It was just bad.

I think part of the problem was that this story was told in two or four parts in the original. There's so much interesting stuff that this three hour mash just seemed thrown together to me.

I was a total geek for this case when I was a teenager. My mom told me that she went to pay a parking ticket with my aunt when the case was going on and all the Manson family people were outside. She told me one of the girls asked my name and that they all started oohing and aahing over me after she told them my name was Charles. Freaky huh? Oh well, that's my Manson story.

-How could they possibly confirm that Sharon Tate was being hit on just before she was murdered?


JoSo, and someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Bugliosi book kinda hint that Jay Seybring was gay?

Edited by SeeeTeee, May 17, 2004 @ 11:11 AM.


#56

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 11:31 AM

I couldn't get into the guy playing Manson, not even for a second. It was like he was doing a bad hippy impression. All the weird hand movements just made it seem even more fake. It was just bad.


From what I remember, though, in all of his interviews and other things on tv, Manson really does do all of those hand movements. And he was very "bouncy," for lack of better word, in real life. I think Davies may have played up the bounciness, though, because Bugliosi made a point, in the book, of mentioning how short Manson is and I think Davies may have trying to appear shorter. Though, I could be giving him too much credit.

Where I think they really dropped the ball was in making Manson look crazy and not as intelligent as he is. I had to keep reminding myself that Manson was, and still is, one smart motherfucker.

#57

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 11:38 AM

I've always had the impression that Sebring was gay, so I think the book did at least imply that.

Boy, am I sorry I watched this and taped the Sopranos or what? This version was just so cheesy and over the top that I actually found myself laughing. That just ain't right.

I also found myself wondering whatever happened to all of the kids that were born in the Family. I suppose they were either adopted or raised by grandparents or other relatives and are living perfectly normal, anonymous lives. But surely some of them were old enough to have some memories of that period. I wonder...

BTW, did anyone in LA catch the interview with Sharon's sister that was on the news after the movie? I half paid attention to the first part and flipped the channel before the second part. I think I heard her say that she was upset with Bugliosi for profiting from her sister's murder (i.e. his book). Did I hear that right?

I do recall her saying that she doesn't like it when people say Charlie is crazy, because she thinks it's all just an act.

Edited by roosterboy, May 17, 2004 @ 11:39 AM.


#58

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 12:20 PM

This remake was okay. I haven't seen the whole original TV movie, just bits & pieces [always on too late & is too long to start watching @ 3am!]. I thought the guy playing Manson was very good & so was the woman who played Sadie. Creepy. And I don't think Manson came across as too unbelievably crazy...but maybe that's just because I'm more aware of him being charismatic & intelligent as well as kinda insane. I found the music to be very jarring & out of place. Didn't enjoy that at all.

Although I'm a very big true crime buff, I never really knew much about Charles Manson & family until last fall when during my interviewing class [for journalism school] I had to play Squeaky Fromme & answer questions for about 30 minutes. Apparently, I'm a dead ringer...which is pretty terrifying.

My question is - when they showed all those magazine covers & newspapers & stuff like that...were they real? The ones that were shown after Manson's arrest. If so, they are pretty darn...wrong. I know that in big cases things get a bit crazy, but those magazines seemed so over the top that it was ridiculous.

#59

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 12:27 PM

The headlines were real and if anything I think this movie understated how much support Manson had among some segments of the public (true to this day).

Jay Sebring was straight. I believe Warren Beatty's character in the movie Shampoo is largely patterned after him.

#60

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Posted May 17, 2004 @ 12:33 PM

I also found myself wondering whatever happened to all of the kids that were born in the Family. I suppose they were either adopted or raised by grandparents or other relatives and are living perfectly normal, anonymous lives.


I've wondered about that too. In particular, Susan Atkins gave birth to a son while she was with the Family and I'm unclear if the father was Manson or someone else. I wonder if she has a relationship with that son now that she's all born-again.

I also read somewhere that Squeaky Fromme is still a Manson devotee and considers herself "married" to him. That's scary as hell.