Helter Skelter (1976)

TV Movie  |  Unrated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  1 April 1976 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 2,435 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 10 critic

The investigation and trial of the horrific Tate-LaBianca mass murders orchestrated by the psychotic pseudo-hippie cult leader, Charles Manson.



(based on the book by), (based on the book by), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christina Hart ...
Cathey Paine ...
Aaron Stovitz
Sondra Blake ...
Ronnie Howard
George Garro ...
Vic Werber ...
Lt. Brenner
Wright King ...
William Garretson
Edward Bell ...
Sgt. Hank Kruger


Chilling story of the investigation and trial of Charles Manson, leader of a strange cult which under his direction and 'control' committed numerous murders. Written by Jerry Milani <jmilani@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 April 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Massacre in Hollywood  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (original) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Martin Scorsese was originally offered the role of Charles Manson. See more »


The Tate/LaBianca homicides took place in 1969. Yet some of the squad cars that are shown when the LAPD responds to the Tate house are 1971 Dodge Polaras. Besides being incorrect for the year of the murders, the LAPD patrol cars of the era were 1968 and 1969 Plymouth Belvederes. See more »


Prison Inmate: What's your name?
Susan Atkins: Sadie. Sexy Sadie.
See more »


Referenced in Serial Mom (1994) See more »


Written by George Harrison
Performed by Silverspoon
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent TV movie look at the dark side of the sixties.
27 December 2001 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

'Helter Skelter' hasn't dated half as much as you'd expect, and remains a fascinating document. The movie (made for TV) looks at the Manson Family and the Tate/LaBianca murders mainly as a crime story, not as a sociological one. It is mainly a courtroom drama and within those limitations it is a successful one, but it's too bad that it didn't have a larger budget and more ambition.

Steve Railsback is an impressive find as Manson. He gives a chilling and accurate portrayal. Unfortunately Railsback never became the star he threatened to be, and has had a checkered career ranging the sublime ('The Stunt Man') to the ridiculous ('Barb Wire'). He has always been a talent no matter how dubious the material he has had to work with. ('Turkey Shoot' anyone?!) The rest of the cast are adequate and are largely unknowns, though horror fans will get a buzz out of Linda Kasabian being played by Marilyn Burns of Tobe Hooper's 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and 'Eaten Alive'.

Overall an interesting look at a turbulent era. Watching 'Helter Skelter' one can't help but wonder what someone like Michael Mann (or Oliver Stone!) could do with this material, a $100 million, and an all star cast. Maybe one day...

11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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