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Manson (1973)

Documentary on Charles Manson and his family. Has a number of insightful interviews with many family members most notably Squeaky and Sandy (Blue and Red). There is also a history of Manson... See full summary »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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MANSON: THE VOICE OF MADNESS is an explosive documentary that will change the conversation about CHARLES MANSON and the notorious "MANSON FAMILY" murders..

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Credited cast:
Mary Brunner ...
Bruce Davis ...
Lynette Fromme ...
Sandra Good ...
Steve Grogan ...
Ronnie Howard ...
Narrator (voice) (as Jess Pearson)
Phil Phillips ...
Nancy Pitman ...
Brooks Poston ...
Catherine Share ...
George Spahn ...
Paul Watkins ...


Documentary on Charles Manson and his family. Has a number of insightful interviews with many family members most notably Squeaky and Sandy (Blue and Red). There is also a history of Manson from his birth to the family formation to the Tate/La Bianca murders. Plenty of footage of the family playing at Spahn Ranch. Written by Josh Pasnak <chainsaw@intouch.bc.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Terrifying Truth Behind the Sharon Tate Massacre! See more »


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Release Date:

January 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Manson and Squeaky Fromme  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Brooks Poston and Paul Watkins, who provided the musical score for the film, were both former members of the "Manson Family". See more »


Paul Watkins: We used belladonna, hashish, smoked marijuana a lot, mescaline, opium, we never used any hard drugs.
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Referenced in The Book of Manson (1989) See more »


Written and Performed by Paul Watkins and Brooks Poston
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User Reviews

25 November 2001 | by See all my reviews

This documentary not only captures the deranged philosophy of the Manson family, but it looks sleazy overall. Much of the footage is grainy and unsteady, adding to the brittle feel of the movie, but the interviews with Manson's followers speak for themselves. Makes for interesting viewing in conjunction with "Gimmie Shelter", which documented the clash of hippie culture and violent bikers at the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway. Both of these events signalled the end of the "flower power" movement, but these two movies seem to point out the danger that mind-altering drugs can pose to suggestible kids.

Indeed, a lot of the interviews contained in "Manson" outline the essential role of marijuana and acid in the lifestyle of "the family," and the film clearly posits that Manson used drugs, as well as sex, to brainwash his followers. What's most terrifying about this movie are the candid appearances of the Manson women, staring wide-eyed and generally behaving like automatons. The time was clearly right for an evil individual such as Charles Manson to invade a supposedly peace-loving culture like the hippies, stoned and generally aimless, and orchestrate chaos, and the altered state that these people were in clearly contributed to their own propensity for disillusion and mind control.

What comes off as mostly lacking is the depiction of Manson himself. Although the filmmakers give plenty of background on him, the bizarre images of this man contained in the film do very little to give an accurate depiction of how he must have appeared to his followers. I was haunted by the lingering question of what could possibly have motivated Charles Manson to orchestrate these heinous murders, and even worse is to think that his wishes were carried out by kids who came from seemingly normal backgrounds.

The use of split-screen, as well as the "flower power" soundtrack, add to the quintessentially 70s feel of the movie, but even through all the kitschy hippie images, the shocking nature of the murders, and the tragic phenomenon of Manson's cult, remains. It left me feeling dirty and disturbed after watching it.

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