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Helter Skelter
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Helter Skelter (2004) (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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6.5/10   2,790 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 17% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Vincent Bugliosi (book) and
Curt Gentry (book) ...
View company contact information for Helter Skelter on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 May 2004 (USA) See more »
Based on the true story of the Manson murders. See more »
A new take on the Manson Family murders, with a keen focus on Charles Manson himself. | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Primetime Emmy. Another 5 nominations See more »
(11 articles)
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User Reviews:
We're the low art gloominati, And we aim to depress. The scabaret sacri-legends, this is the Golden Age of Grotesque. See more (59 total) »


  (in credits order)

Jeremy Davies ... Charles Manson

Clea DuVall ... Linda Kasabian

Allison Smith ... Patricia 'Katie' Krenwinkel

Eric Dane ... Charles "Tex" Watson

Mary Lynn Rajskub ... Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme

Michael Weston ... Bobby Beausoleil

Hal Ozsan ... Joey Dimarco

Rick Gomez ... Milio

Robert Joy ... Detective Morrisy

Graham Beckel ... Jerry

Chris Ellis ... Sgt. Whiteley

Isabella Hofmann ... Rosemary LaBianca

Robert Costanzo ... Leno LaBianca

Yvonne Delarosa ... Catherine 'Gypsy' Share (as Yvonne De La Rosa)

Cheselka Leigh ... Kathryn 'Kitty' Lutesinger

Keith Szarabajka

John Pleshette ... Mr. Krenwikle

Whitney Dylan ... Sharon Tate

Susan Ruttan ... Mrs. Kasabian

Marguerite Moreau ... Susan 'Sadie' Atkins

Bruno Kirby ... Vincent Bugliosi

Catherine Wadkins ... Leslie Van Houten

Kai Lennox ... Steve 'Clem' Grogan

Hopwood DePree ... Paul Watkins (as Hopwood Depree)
Matthew J. Williamson ... Bruce Davis (as Matt Williamson)

Nick Jameson ... Gary Fleishman

Kirk B.R. Woller ... Detective Kleinman

Robert Pine ... Judge Keene

Wolf Muser ... Chief Davis

Marek Probosz ... Roman Polanski

Elizabeth Ann Bennett ... Abigail Folger (as Elizabeth Bennett)

George Tasudis ... Voytek Frykowski

Patrick Fabian ... Jay Sebring

Jaimz Woolvett ... Gary Hinman

Lance Ohnstad ... Steve Parent
Kelly Nyks ... Will Garretson

François Chau ... Dr. Noguchi

Jeffrey Johnson ... Terry Melcher
Chris Jacobs ... Dennis Wilson (as Christopher Jacobs)

Chad Morgan ... Suzanne LaBianca
Jeanette O'Connor ... Ronni

Kim Strauss ... Sgt. William Gleason

Gwen McGee ... Winifred Chapman

Mark Thompson ... L.A. Newscaster
Patricia Del Rio ... Local TV Reporter
Kevin London ... Richard Caballero

P.J. Byrne ... Man With Thick Glasses
Paul Kent ... Van Nuys Judge

John Lacy ... CHP Officer
Ted Garcia ... Stand Up Reporter at Tate House
Abner Genece ... Jail Guard

Apesanahkwat ... Guard Duty Cop
Patricia Herd ... Woman on the Street
Susannah L. Brown ... College hippie #1
John K. Anderson ... Officer Pursell (as J.K. Anderson)

David Ackert ... Jerry Rubin

Danielle DiCerbo ... Bernardine Dohrn (as Danielle Di Cerbo)

Endre Hules ... Polish Man

Maura Soden ... Gossip Queen
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Crystal Rivers ... Diane (scenes deleted)
Jessalyn Waldron ... Sandra Good
Samuel DeClan Anderson ... Manson Family Baby (uncredited)
Susie Castaneda ... Cashier (uncredited)

Chris Corpus ... Neighbor (uncredited)
Joseph Dowd ... Family Member (uncredited)

Michael Gabriel Goodfriend ... Detective (uncredited)

Daniel V. Graulau ... Driver (uncredited)

Greg Hutto ... CHP Officer (uncredited)
Fred Kelly ... Roman Polanski's friend (uncredited)

Ricky Lewis Jr. ... Family Member (uncredited)

Lorelei Llee ... Prisoner (uncredited)
Adrian Morales ... Family Member (uncredited)

Christian Reeve ... Manson's Public Defender (uncredited)
Frank Zieger ... Clem Watkins (uncredited)

Directed by
John Gray 
Writing credits
Vincent Bugliosi (book "Helter Skelter") and
Curt Gentry (book "Helter Skelter")

John Gray (written by)

Produced by
Vincent Bugliosi .... executive producer
Vincent Bugliosi .... producer
Desiree J. Cadena .... associate producer
Robert S. Costanzo .... co-producer
Peter Miller .... executive producer
Mark Wolper .... executive producer
Original Music by
Mark Snow 
Cinematography by
Don E. FauntLeRoy 
Film Editing by
Scott Vickrey 
Casting by
Phyllis Huffman 
Art Direction by
Robert W. Henderson 
Roy Forge Smith 
Set Decoration by
Julie Bolder 
Costume Design by
May Routh 
Makeup Department
Judy Crown .... hair department head
RaMona Fleetwood .... hair stylist
Dennis Liddiard .... makeup department head
Gary Liddiard .... makeup artist (as G. Dennis Liddiard)
Yesim 'Shimmy' Osman .... assistant hair stylist
Elizabeth Rabe .... additional hair stylist (2004)
Tegan Taylor .... makeup artist
Production Management
Desiree J. Cadena .... post-production supervisor
Carla Corwin .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Anne Berger .... second assistant director
Drew Ann Rosenberg .... first assistant director
Art Department
Sandy Adams .... on-set dresser
Melissa Bartley .... art assistant
Chuck Courrieu .... lead man
Tracy Farrington .... property master
Terry Kempf .... propmaker foreman
Ricky Lewis Jr. .... storyboard artist
Mark Richardson .... set dresser
Harlan Spatz .... props
Sound Department
Beau Biggart .... adr mixer
Sean Byrne .... assistant sound editor
Tim Chilton .... foley artist (2004)
Bob Costanza .... sound effects editor
Tommy Goodwin .... foley mixer
G. Michael Graham .... supervising sound editor
Robert L. Harman .... re-recording mixer
Allen Hurd .... sound recordist
Kristi Johns .... adr supervisor
Kevin Maloney .... boom operator
Kevin Meltcher .... assistant sound editor
Gaetano Musso .... foreign version
Dean Okrand .... re-recording mixer
Steuart Pearce .... sound mixer
Timothy Pearson .... foley artist
David Torres .... foley mixer
Gunnar Ted Walter .... boom operator (as Gunnar Walters)
Ian Wright .... boom operator
Lou Thomas .... sound effects editor (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Roland Friedrich .... digital compositor
Miro Gal .... Inferno artist
Vít Komrzý .... visual effects producer
Peter Nemec .... Inferno artist
Jan Vseticek .... visual effects coordinator
David Vána .... visual effects supervisor
Bruce Paul Barbour .... stunt player
Jennifer Brusciano .... stunt team member
Alex Daniels .... stunt coordinator
Brett Gassaway .... stunt double
Tanner Gill .... stunts
Hubie Kerns Jr. .... stunts
Peewee Piemonte .... stunts
Nicole Randall .... stunts
Tony Snegoff .... stunt double
Camera and Electrical Department
Eddie Avila .... film loader: day player
Charles John Bukey .... key grip
Matthew A. Del Ruth .... film loader
Tim Durr .... electrician
Sean P. Fickert .... best boy grip
Daniel Kauahi .... grip
Christopher Kiso .... electrician
Ron Peterson .... assistant camera
Brendon Phillips .... electrician
Peyton Skelton .... rigging gaffer
Casting Department
Geoffrey Miclat .... casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Jeannie Flynn .... costume supervisor
Meredith Korn .... costumer
Silvia Raiano .... key set costumer
Editorial Department
Josh Beal .... assistant editor
Scott Burnette .... assistant editor
George Koran .... telecine colorist
Frank Pass .... colorist
Location Management
Deborah Laub .... location manager
Music Department
Jeff Charbonneau .... music editor
Ray Evans .... composer: song "Whatever Will Be, Will Be"
Jay Livingston .... composer: song "Whatever Will Be, Will Be"
Mark Morgan .... composer: additional music score
Transportation Department
Gina August .... driver
Lonnie Craig .... driver
Other crew
Julie Adams .... dialect coach
Tina Bennett .... production coordinator
Jan Bickler .... first assistant accountant
Coriedus Brown .... production assistant
Tracy Browne .... accounting clerk (as Tracey Browne)
Laura Elizabeth Cannon .... assistant to executive producer
Rosemary Gearheart .... stand-in
Jeffrey Gladu .... payroll accountant
Lisa Howard .... production accountant
Suzan Lowitz .... script supervisor
Franka Mavrides .... production assistant
Jess Place .... production secretary
Beth Theriac .... assistant: Mr. Friedgen
Catherine H. Vlasuk .... assistant production coordinator
Christopher H. Warner .... accounting clerk
Christopher H. Warner .... production accounting assistant

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
USA:180 min (including commercials) | 137 min (DVD)
Aspect Ratio:
1.78 : 1 See more »

Did You Know?

In this "Helter Skelter" film, Manson is shown with an "X" mark on his forehead. In real life Manson wore a Nazi Swastika tattoo on his forehead. (During the trial he carved the x to represent "his being x'd out of society" it wouldn't be until sometime later he turned it into the swastika.See more »
Anachronisms: The opening credits montage of iconic '60s imagery includes an adult cinema marquee showing the film Cry for Cindy (1976) which wasn't released until 1976.See more »
Charles Manson:How can I be a hippie when I hate hippies?See more »
Movie Connections:
References Valley of the Dolls (1967)See more »


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22 out of 28 people found the following review useful.
We're the low art gloominati, And we aim to depress. The scabaret sacri-legends, this is the Golden Age of Grotesque., 13 February 2005
Author: Michael DeZubiria ( from Luoyang, China

It is with mixed emotions that I give this outstanding documentary such a high rating, because it doesn't exactly know where the line between glorification of a murderous madman and objective re-telling of a truly horrible tale is (and often crosses it), but the movie is so effective at telling the tale of Charles Manson and his followers that it deserves to be seen. Before I go on, it should also be noted that the movie takes a great many creative liberties with its source material, which is perfectly fine with me. What I don't like is when movies are marketed as based on true events or inspired by true events or something and then take some story and do whatever they want with it. This movie is so honest that it starts with nearly a solid minute of full-screen titles explaining that the story has been fictionalized, that certain characters and events have been dramatized for effect.

That being said, it clearly is not a history lesson of what Manson did, which I almost think that it should have been because of the horrific nature of his crimes (if I can be excused a gag-inducing legal-thriller cliché). The one problem that I have with the movie is that, since so much was dramatized, it was made almost as a fictional thriller rather than a documentary about the Manson family. I saw a documentary about the standoff in Waco that went into great detail about the ATF's involvement (and endless screwups) that resulted in the deaths of so many people, and I think something similar would have been the best way to approach this movie.

The murder scenes in this movie are extremely difficult to watch because you know they really happened. If nothing else, great attention was paid to making sure that the murders were as close to real life as possible. Many of the victims were even in the same position and locations in and around their houses as they really were when they were found. And this is what made me dislike the level of glorification in the movie. Charles Manson is so deeply insane and the murders committed by his followers, no matter how brainwashed they were, were so heinous and so disgusting that it made me wish they had thrown him in prison and barred all reporters from talking to him or anyone who knew anything about him.

His punishment should have been disappearance.

On the other hand, I guess I have to admit that I am fascinated by stories like his, which is why I watch documentaries about the standoff at Waco and movies about Ed Gein or John Wayne Gacy. But I like to think that I look at them almost like extended news clips (despite being fictionalized to whatever extent, in this case), and that I can watch something like this and maintain a level of disgust at what really happened. I see a line, for example, between being impressed with a fictional murderer like Hannibal Lecter and a non-fictional murderer (whether he killed anyone with his own hands or not) like Charles Manson. It made me think twice about what I should really think of the fact that I own 22 Marilyn Manson CDs (see my summary line).

Another thing that I found interesting was that all of this took place in Topanga Canyon, near where I live. In fact, after I finish writing this review I am going on the same bike ride that I do two or three times a week. I go west on Venice Blvd. to Sepulveda, then head north over the Sepulveda pass to Ventura Blvd. I go left on Ventura, through Woodland Hills to Topanga Canyon road, then I follow that all the way to the coast, which takes me directly through the middle of the town where the Manson family lived. I've been through there probably a hundred times and I never knew that was where this all happened. Scary.

Jeremy Davies gives a spectacular performance in the movie, and I like that most of it focuses on him and his followers and how he communicated with them to get them to believe that he was their personal savior when in reality he was the exact opposite, and relatively little time is spent showing the murders (which is good because if it was the other way around the movie would have been literally unwatchable). This case is a textbook study for psychologists about the impressionable young minds of the lost young.

Another element that the movie is not very concerned with is the actual trial itself, although I see no problem with this because it is not a courtroom drama, it is a TV thriller about a murderous cult leader. The movie is already over two hours long, we don't need another hour showing the convictions of a lot of people that we already know were convicted. The movie is more concerned with what events led up to their arrest and prosecution, and in that sense it does very well. Dramatized for effect, but the heart of the meaning of it all is still there.

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