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Helter Skelter (1976)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | TV Movie 1 April 1976
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The investigation and trial of the horrific Tate-LaBianca mass murders orchestrated by the psychotic pseudo-hippie cult leader, Charles Manson.

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(based on the book by), (based on the book by) | 1 more credit »
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4,642 ( 17)
Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Vincent Bugliosi
... Charles Manson
Nancy Wolfe ... Susan Atkins
... Linda Kasabian
... Patricia Krenwinkel
Cathey Paine ... Leslie Van Houten
... Aaron Stovitz
... Danny DeCarlo
... Ronnie Howard
George Garro ... Rosner
Vic Werber ... Lt. Brenner
Wright King ... Friend
... William Garretson
Edward Bell ... Sgt. Hank Kruger
... Punchy
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

His name is Charles Manson. His disciples call him God. HE PREACHED DEATH! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 April 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Massacre in Hollywood  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original broadcast) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film almost was not shown in Los Angeles because network executives were afraid that it would stir up bad memories, especially since it had been only seven years since the murders. See more »

Goofs

One detective shows others how The Beatles' "White Album" has a song called "Helter Skelter". As he tells them this, he points to the Apple Records label on the record. The problem is, the label he's pointing to is the "sliced" label, which appeared on the even numbered sides of that (and any) Apple album. Since the song "Helter Skelter" appears on Side 3, the label should be of a green apple's body. See more »

Quotes

Dist. Atty. Vincent Bugliosi: [narrating] It was so quiet, one of the killers would later say, you could almost hear the sound of ice rattling in cocktail shakers in the homes way down the canyon.
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Connections

References Dragnet 1967 (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Garbage Dump
Written by Charles Manson
Performed by Steve Railsback
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User Reviews

Excellent TV movie look at the dark side of the sixties.
27 December 2001 | by 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...


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