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Charles Manson - Superstar
Charles Manson - Superstar
Actors: Zeena LaVey, Charles Manson, James N. Mason
Genres: Documentary, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2002     1hr 40min

In 1969, he became one of history's infamous villains, presented by the media as evil incarnate. CHARLES MANSON SUPERSTAR sets the record straight after years of media disinformation, and features an exclusive interview w...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Zeena LaVey, Charles Manson, James N. Mason
Genres: Documentary, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Biography, History, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Screen Edge
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/17/2002
Original Release Date: 09/17/2002
Theatrical Release Date: 09/17/2002
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Damian M. (ratchet)
Reviewed on 3/11/2009...
A rather fantastic look at this crazy little man. Everyone knows the basics of this story, but this documentary went beyond what the headlines and pop-culture taught us. Basically a prison interview (conducted by Nikolas Schreck) inter-spliced with footage from the points of interest in Manson's life. Its strange, but after listening to him talk for a few minutes I think I can get gleaming of where he's coming from. Though painted as a hippie by the press, he hated the hippie culture. I knew of the connections with celebrities like the Beach Boys and others, but did not know of the connections to Anton LaVey (who also hated hippies). He was basically a dirt-bag his whole life and happened to find some dumb young (some are still dumb) lasses who wanted to help him start the apocalyptic race war. How'd that work out for ya? Interestingly Manson is hailed from both fringes of the Left-Right spectrum.

Movie Reviews

Unique and interesting
Lizard | Florida | 09/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Charles Manson is the symbol of the destructiveness and of cults, but you have to realize the reason WHY such things exist represents the very sickness of society--born from the endless sea of people who are lost, homeless, unwanted, people desperately trying to find something, someone to feel they belong. The garbage pits of America in the endless multitudes--seas of people who are unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for, and homeless. So rises these cults due to the large sea of the unwanted. As long as people are irresponsible and have unwanted, unloved children--which is too countless to even comprehend, so the Charles Mansons and cults and skinheads of the world will always flourish.

Charles Manson seems to be the icon of this. With all of his crazy ramblings, sometimes you hear things quite profound with a lot of thought. For example, he remarks about overpopulation and pollution--"if you run out of food, you have a LOT of meat to deal with" (referring to the multitudes of people in the near 7 billion mark). It's 100% true. Interesting interview, either he sounds totally crazy, or very deep and profound. Interesting mixture. He mostly sounds crazy though :-)

I enjoyed the film immensely. Of all the media I seen on Manson, this one is the best.
Horrible documentary!
LoLo | Fl, USA | 09/11/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I guess you'd have to be on drugs to get this. Collectors will need it for the collection but this documentary was absurd. A big waste of time. I found myself wanted to fast forward often. I expected more from Nikolas Schrek."
A blunt curiosity
Chris Wilson | Dallas, TX | 12/17/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)

"A bumbling work, the 1989 documentary "Charles Manson - Superstar" attempts to portray Manson in sympathetic rays - a man whose philosophy was too revolutionary for the conservative American machine. The film hints he was a radical prophet jailed more for his beliefs rather than the murders committed by his cult of wayward kids. It's shockingly naive, lacking in knowledge of the crimes. A distractingly low-budget documentary forged with minimal skill, the film does provide rare on-camera access to Manson's unique ramblings, and he truly puts on a show for director/interviewer Nikolas Schreck.

For 60-plus minutes, we see Manson genuinely trying to make sense of his notoriety, stroking his graying goatee, staring into space before abruptly standing up to perform his now-legendary shtick. He's quite animated, doing a jig here, karate chop there, inching towards Schreck with a wink and a smile. It's a first-hand look at the Manson con, formed during endless decades of incarceration staring from the windows of numerous cells. There has never been a doubt as to his charisma, and he hovers over Schreck and mumbles, "You and I are connected. I can see we have a lot in common." You realize you are witnessing first-hand the very rap he used to entice numerous kids into his brood.

There's some good footage of the Barker Ranch compound in Death Valley, with several haunting shots of the abandoned vehicles and trash still remaining from the days the Manson commune lived there in 1969. There's some nice footage of what's left of Spahn Ranch circa 1989. Schreck's narration, stiff and pretentious, attempts to make intellectual sense of the Manson aura, at times connecting his influence to current movements including the skinheads. Sadly the narration, undoubtedly penned by Schreck, exposes what an amateur mess the documentary is. His exaggerated proclamations and insinuations serve as evidence as to the shallow perception fueling the work. It's fairly easy to see through the propaganda.

As many know, Schreck is the leader of the latest version of the Satanic Church started by the late Anton LaVey, and he's married to his daughter. Not sure what they are calling the group today, the Werewolf Order or the Left Hand Path. These counterculture movements were hip in the late 1960s and Manson devotee Susan Atkins was in fact a dancer in one of LaVey's San Francisco productions. This minor connection is documented in the film and supported by urban legends to create a "wow" factor for the uninformed. Schreck's awkward questions during the Manson interviews are harmless, possessing the power of lobbed cotton balls.

In addition, Schreck's knowledge of the crimes is shockingly ignorant. Then again, had he known the facts, would Manson have allowed him such access? Oh well, even as far back as 1989 it was genuinely known Manson was a major instigator in the LaBianca slayings, choosing the very house and victims himself. Today, additional evidence seems to point towards Manson visiting the Polanski/Tate household following the murders (and just a couple of hours before dawn) to inspect the crime scene. So for Schreck's documentary to attempt to portray Manson as an innocent bystander jailed for his beliefs causes the film to slide into the neighborhood of UFO abductions.

To Schreck's credit, he's gone on record to say his documentary was incorrect in assumption and he believes he was conned by Manson. Surprise, surprise.....A blunt curiosity, lacking skill or insight."