Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fun Sized Movie Treats (Part 17)

Another two-parter today. Here's part one.

Helter Skelter (1976)

Like I said yesterday, this is the REAL "based on a true story".

This is what you've got to be afraid of in the world.
Psychotic wackaloons, and the sad hollow morons that follow them.
Human fucking nature.
Not fucking invisible boogeymen sent by the super-villain in a Bronze Aged tome of goat-herder fairy tales.

The "summer of love", died a hideous pathetic death partly because people couldn't face this reality. Let's stop repeating the cycle, huh?

Can we fucking do that?
Probably not, not in this fucking country.

Anyway, good flick, for a made for TV jobbie.

Steve Railsback is a pretty good Manson.
About the best you're likely going to get.
Anyone else is just gonna copy him, more or less.

The events are depicted accurately.
As far as I can tell.

My personal take-away, is the hippie ideal was always doomed.
If it weren't Manson that ruined it, it would have been someone else.
These people are fucking out there being born every minute.
And our lame society hasn't figured out how to deal with them.

That would take having a hard, brutal, honest, no-bullshit, non-stop fucking discussion about mental illness, and class, and race, and poverty, and our crooked justice system, and the whole idea of prisons, and basically the whole bubbling swamp of infection the Mansons breed in.

And we can't have that, because...y'know, money.

Also the Mansons aren't just out there leading their little cults, they're running companies, they're running banks, they're in charge of wars, they're banging gavels in courts, and we've sworn more than a couple into the White house.
And our society REALLY doesn't wanna cope with that shit.
That gives people a real fucking nightmare on Elm Street.

So, that's why fucking dipshit ghost movies are on the menu.

Anyway, I was one year old when this hit TV screens, so we're more than overdue for a remake, I think.

There was that "Aquarius", thingy on NBC, but I don't even count that, cuz they crammed that full of fictional bullshit, and fake characters, and just used the Manson family stuff as a backdrop.
I'm glad it was cancelled.
The Manson story is fucked up enough, you don't need to add bullshit.

Sooo...yeah, watch this.
I think it's on Youtube.

Up next, an even real-er story.


B. D. said...

"Helter Skelter" was remade in 2004 or so I think, in a version that definitely focused more on the killings. I can't remember if it was direct to video or a TV movie, but it had Jeremy Davies (the wussy scaredy cat guy from "Saving Private Ryan") playing Manson. I've only looked up the killings part which is more graphic than the 1976 movie by far.

2005's "The Manson Family," which believe it or not got a positive rating from Ebert, cannot be considered a remake of HS, since HS is of course Bugliosi's story as well as Manson's. That film was made by noted cult figure Jim Van Bebber. I haven't seen it.

And of course a lot of people have called Bugliosi to task for various aspects of the book and things that have been called into question for accuracy and such. I still think it's a great book and goes into great detail. King of the true crime novels to this day, pretty much.

The 1976 movie: Railsback was a hardcore method actor, he claimed he met Manson for like 15 minutes which was 15 minutes too many. He went on to have a really cool short-lived guest character arc on season 2 "X-Files." I haven't seen him in much else but he got typecast as redneck killer types a lot. He was really good, the guy playing Bugliosi was Lorraine's dad in "Back To The Future" ("who the hell is John F. Kennedy?"), the trial scenes are a bit drawn out but the investigation into the Manson cult is pretty notable. Best scene is however Manson on trial giving his little monologue.

"Killed the hippie dream" - Bugliosi has called this into question in his book, claiming that Charlie Manson was on a death trip as opposed to the real peace and love thing that real hippies were into. But of course Altamont happened at the same time and you know all about that, that's also been a "death of the 60s" thing, it gave the parents' generation an excuse to point to rock music and say "see, it really DOES turn kids into animals and rapists and murderers! Altamont isn't remembered as infamously by future generations as Manson though and of course the Rolling Stones recovered from it.
The rock-star crowd were already starting to put out "the dream is over!" type albums in 1970-71, think of Neil Young's "After The Gold Rush" (1970), the Velvet Underground's "Loaded" (1970) or most notably Sly Stone's "There's A Riot Goin' On" (1971) made by a destitute Sly Stone locked up in his mansion. Don't forget John Lennon's changes at around the same time.

One thing's for certain: Roman Polanski's marriage to Sharon Tate certainly would not have lasted.

Diacanu said...

Well....thanks for fixing my crappy post then. ;-)

B. D. said...

If it's any consolation to you, HS probably *will* be remade again, since the first remake went really far under the radar. The 1976 film hasn't been forgotten and the book certainly still sells well. I mean if they're going to do "Carrie" three freakin' times when the Brian De Palma original was just fine to begin with (and not ONCE have the special effects money to bother properly doing Carrie's long-winded explosion-rampage around the town which is the best part of that book!) then you can bet your butt HS will be happening Time think that's just a few? Well there's many many more! And they're all coming, RIGHT AT YOUUUU!!!!

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