On August 9, 1969, five people were murdered in a mansion on Cielo Drive in Los Angeles, California. Among the victims was actress Sharon Tate, who was married to director Roman Polanski and was eight months pregnant.
Those responsible for the deaths were young members of a cult led by an eccentric guru and manipulator — Charles Manson, the leader of the “Manson Family.” Gradually, Manson gained notoriety and became one of the symbols of an era filled with sects and congregations in the United States.
The hippie values and the quick conviction of the frustrated ex-musician about his political ideals led his family to be composed of a few dozen young people – and the cruelties committed by the group made him be portrayed several times in the entertainment world, always focusing on her disturbing personality.
Interested and want to understand a little more in depth the history of this criminal? So, keep reading that today we brought 12 productions in which he was portrayed through complex and dangerous characters. Check out!
1- South Park (1998)
Manson hasn’t escaped one of the craziest series on television: South Parkwho turned the guru into a cellmate of Cartman’s uncle in the season two episode “Merry Christmas, Charles Manson!”.
In the animation, he is voiced by Trey Parker – the same voice as Stan and Cartman – and starts the episode with an angry temper, but soon adopts a calm personality, to the point of turning the swastika mark on his forehead into a happy face.
2 – Aquarius (2015)
The NBC crime series stars David Duchovny as Detective Sam Hodiak and Gray Damon as Brian Shafe, a rookie cop working undercover. The duo starts to investigate the attraction of young American women to Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony) and also revisits other political episodes of the time, such as the assassination of Martin Luther King.
Here, the focus is on the beginning of the sect’s formation, but with the criminal already drawing the attention of the police. Due to low ratings, it was canceled in the second season.
3 – American Horror Story: Cult (2017)
in the anthology American Horror Story, he was referenced during the seventh season. Here, Evan Peters plays not only Charles Manson, but also Jim Jones and Marshall Applewhite – other cult leaders who met tragic fates.
During a vision in the tenth episode, the character Kai observes himself as Manson. There’s even a recreation of the Sharon Tate murder, with Sarah Paulson also on the scene.
4 – Mindhunter (2017)
Starring Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany and Anna Torv, the Netflix original series could be renewed for a third season.
Here, no prominent paper: he is one of the criminals interviewed by the FBI teamwhich historically began to profile serial killers and their convictions for the first time.
As the plot takes place after the 1970s, Manson is already in prison and has even had a tattoo of a swastika on his forehead. At the time, he is something of a celebrity. The actor who plays him is Damon Herriman, the same as Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood.
5 – Helter Skelter (1976)
This is the first feature film that tells the story of the sect and features a portrait of the criminal. The made-for-TV movie is based on the book “Manson, Portrait of a Disgusting Crime”, written by the prosecutor in the case, Vincent Bugliosi, alongside Curt Gentry.
The expression “Helter Skelter” is taken from a Beatles song of the same name and, according to Manson’s prophecies, meant apocalyptic events that would culminate in a race war in the United States.
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The film’s focus is on the main cult murders and the trial, with Manson being portrayed by Steve Railsback. Due to his aggressive performance, monologues and eerily similar appearance, the actor was known for the role for the rest of his career.
6 – The Book of Manson (1989)
Not only from Hollywood productions lives the character. In 1989, Manson won an almost amateur moviedisturbing and full of artistic pretensions, focusing on his messianic character as a cult leader.
With a very low budget, the feature is directed by Raymond Pettibon, a visual artist who has made CD covers for bands like Sonic Youth. The protagonist is played by Robert Hecker, vocalist and guitarist of bands like Redd Kross.
7 – The Manson Family (2003)
The story behind this production is more interesting than Manson’s presence. The director, Jim Van Bebber, shot the first scenes of his project in 1988, but was never able to finish it, shooting other scenes sporadically and showing unfinished cuts of the project at festivals.
Behold, he won cult status and was definitively released in 2003, with the collaboration of fans and friends. Here, there are high doses of filth and sexuality to portray life in the sect, in addition to the recreation of the famous murders. The actor who plays the leader is Marcelo Games, in one of his few roles in his career.
8 – Helter Skelter (2004)
Second adaptation of Bugliosi’s book, the feature also brings a biographical approach to the final years and crimes of the Manson family, leaving the trial in the background and focusing on the character’s speeches and ideals.
This time, he is played by Jeremy Davies (Daniel Faraday), with a restless and seductive personality. In this plot, his most famous followers also gain importance, highlighting Linda Kasabian (Clea DuVall), who was not entirely convinced about joining the sect.
There’s also Tex Watson (Eric Dane) and Katie Krenwinkel (Alisson Smith), all involved in Sharon Tate’s murder.
9 – House of Manson (2014)
Another biopic of the killer, setting the story from Manson’s (Ryan Kiser) own point of view. Here, however, he has a more positive and even a little shy and friendly image.
In addition to showing the daily life in the community and the beginning of the period in prison, the film brings Charlie’s past and even suggests that rock’s misadventures contributed to drive him to a state of madness.
10 – Manson’s Lost Girls (2016)
Another production that tells the story from the point of view of one of the cult members. Here, young Linda Kasabian is drawn to the community by the promises of a drug- and sex-free environment.
The figure of Manson is portrayed here by Jeff Ward in a younger and more seductive way, with short hair, but without failing to demonstrate the criminal’s insane side.
11 – Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood (2019)
The criminal’s most recent appearance in cinemas is in the feature film directed by Quentin Tarantino. The film takes place at the end of Hollywood’s golden age in 1969 and depicts various characters and events from the period.
Actress Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate, while Damon Herriman takes on the role of a Charles Manson still forming his family.
So, do you already know which movie you are going to watch? All those on the list are nominations for those who like the True Crime genre. What about?