Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Manson Family (2003)

VanBebber delivers an LSD-induced nightmare vision of the Manson murders as told by the Family members themselves. He has obviously done his homework, as many of the recreations and dialogue are taken directly from Manson, the documentary that spoke with the real Family members, and he includes audio clips and songs from Manson, himself. The visual stylization and grain added to the film gives it a sense of integrity and realism. The narrative often seems disjointed and non-linear, which I guess accurately reflects the mindset of the group. It is a valid indie effort, but it suffers most from the forced social commentary that is sloppily added with the inclusion of the modern teen followers.

Rating: 7/10.

HorrorBlips: vote it up!

6 comments:

  1. 100& agreed, here, man. The fake interviews and the Manson-era stuff were a trip, but the parallel story with the modern kids is completely useless, imo, and only padded the run time of the film (needlessly, since it already feels long). The actual "historical" content is enough, and gets so heavy at times that I think it can even make an impact on seasoned horror viewers, especially those who are just looking for a good cinematic romp and are then suddenly confronted with the type of drug-induced depravity that no one, not even today, will ever be safe from. The Manson Family is not the safe fantasy horror many are used to; it's wholly timeless and real and plausible... You just never know, after all, when some fucking transient nut-job, or even your own neighbor, might come busting through your front door with a knife, and casually murder you without any sense of rhyme or reason.

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  2. Yeah, I dug this one alot, and would agree with your beefs with it. Van Bebber makes some great flicks, my favorite being Deadbeat at Dawn. My favorite beer drinkin movie!

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  3. This one is unquestionably the most brutal of the Manson Docudramas, and shocking to say the least. Even with all of the nudity and explicit murder sequences, I never found it to be sensationalistic. Every step feels like a planned execution of the true events on film told in the same hallucinatory fashion the characters must have been experiencing, so I dont believe it was VanBebber's intent to just shock the audience, but it cant be helped considering the content. After watching the special features it seems that the wrap around story was a last ditch effort after years of trying to finish the film and get a feature length runtime, but the film would have been infinitely stronger without it.

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  4. Forgot to ask if you guys had seen the more recent Helter Skelter adaptation? I absolutely love it, and will hopefully be reviewing it coming up here in the next couple of weeks. The original is still fantastic, but the linear style of the new film makes it easier for anyone that is not well versed in the Manson lore to approach the story start to finish.

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  5. Nah man, I ain't seen it, has it been properly released yet? would defo be interested in checking it out.

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  6. Its been out since 2003 I believe, I highly recommend it, Id go so far as to say the guy playing Manson is even more convincing than Steve Railsback, it is a must see!

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