If you think you know the story of the Manson Family, you are dead wrong. Director Jim VanBebber (Deadbeat at Dawn) delivers an uncompromising snapshot of this cult of personality, hell- bent on executing the brutal vision... more » of its leader, Charles Manson. On a ranch outside of LA the dream of the "Love Generation" is perverting into something evil. What was once an oasis of free love and acid trips has become ground zero for a madman?s paranoid visions. An average group of kids, the "Family", become engulfed in a delusional world where torment and slaughter is considered the path to righteousness. The Manson Family is a dizzying, rapid-fire vision of the sex and violence that unifies the misguided group, and at the direction of their leader, ends in a brutal spree leaving seven people dead in a 48 hours. You?ve seen the story through the eyes of the law. Now witness it through the eyes of THE MANSON FAMILY.« less
Lorilea G. (lorilea) from FREDERICKSBRG, VA Reviewed on 6/9/2012...
Im really having a hard time understanding why ANYONE would give this movie a positive review. I'm pretty familiar with the whole crime and case, and I thought this movie was way over dramatized. Whats up with the devil horns and strobe lights during the Cielo Drive murders? And poor Sharon Tate, that woman in the movie who was "acting" as her was so air headed. Maybe im too much of a realist, but I would not recommend this movie to anyone. Waste of $3.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Charlie Don't Surf
Sir Jub-Jub | Sir Jub-Jub's Lair, Alaska | 04/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While it took forever for this film to be finished, the question is if it was worth the wait. My answer is that it was. "The Manson Family" is a very interesting view of the events that preceded the infamous killings and how they culminated in the very murders themselves. Using a multiple time phase structure, the film moves back and forth between the past and present of the main characters involved in the murders. This results in a story that tries to show the killers as being "removed" from the actual crime, as if they were not really there and they comment on it in the third person. Essentially exactly what they do when going up for parole hearings. The film is very rough, scenes are filled with scratches and other defects that bring a documentary feel to the proceedings, as if the Manson Family themselves were behind the camera. The culmination of the film with the multiple murders presents them in a highly graphic and factual way which is to the benefit of the presentation. While all the talk and posturing was peace and love, to see the horrendous murders truly puts things in perspective. This is a great movie for people into true crime stories and for those looking for a realistic portrayal of the Manson story. The DVD also contains an excellent documentary concerning no budget, renegade filmmaking. This documentary interviews many directors of these types of film and is very insightful into the passions of these people. Other extras include a revealing interview with Manson himself which, if nothing else, indicates why he will die in prison. I would recommend this film to people who are fans of independent filmmakers and true crime stories."
Mark J. Sieber | Hampton, Virginia United States | 04/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jim Vanbebber proves once again, without a doubt, that he is the baddest mother(...)in indie horror. My Sweet Satan kicked (...), but it was short and it left viewers wanting more. The Manson Family is his greatest achievement to date. It's surely not for everyone, but those not afraid to look real horror in the eye will love this movie. In a time when the term, Underground, is as cliched as words like "alternative" or "hardcore", Vanbebber proves that minuscule budgeted films can be vital and be as effective as anything done on any budget. I watched the Unrated DVD (natch!) last night and I haven't been able to get it out of my head all day today. This movie is a masterpiece."
A great indie production, trippy looking and very graphic
b.b.king | reykjavik, iceland | 02/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is certenly not for everybody but many people really like it. Maybe it's because it is a true story about a horrendeaus events. the amaturish acting just adds to the realness and rawness of the film.
It starts with life on the Spahn Ranch as told by Sadie, Pat and Tex, the main killers who are talking to an interviewer through prison. The film builds up and leads us through sex orgies and devilo worship untill things are getting paranoid and crazy. Then it explodes in your face with that climatic violance which is so graphic and horrible.
I watched this film with my father and both of us felt really nervus after the film and I was afraid to leave any windows open. I was laying in bed not able to fall asleep, waiting for drugged out, crazed hippies to burge into my bedroom and drag me out of bed and start by viciously stabbing me again and again. It was horrible.
This film is really good and it shows it like it was and what those terrified victims went through and how crazy things went. This film is bound to leave some people outraged, scared, exited and others simply bored. In my opinion this is splatter cinema at it's best."
"The Real Story" whatever.
John W. Wilson | 07/30/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I had heard about this and other movies about Manson and wanted to check them out for more information about the case. This movie, claims to be, the real story told from the family point of view. This is a joke. The interviews are staged to look real, the murder scene with Folger was a joke. If you slit someones throat they are not going to colapse and then get back up and walk out to the front yard before they die after loosing what seemed to be a couple gallons of blood. The stabbing of most of the bodies is just stupid considering that Jay was shot once and stabbed 7 times but in this movie I swear that Tex stabbed him 50 times, Parent was only shot not cut according to published autopsy reports and to stab a person in the same place so many times like Hinman when the autopsy report clearly does not depict that is crazy. To top it off to put in your updates that the US Supreme Court abolished the death penalty when it was the California SC under Rose Byrd in 1972 just goes to prove how stupid this director/producer is. If the movie was claiming to be just for entertainment fine. But when you depict it as accurate and from the view of the family you look like a damn idiot. Do your homework if your going to make claims."
Jeb Nome | 06/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was sifting through a Best Buy store looking for something strange, and possibly something a bit disturbing when I found this blood soaked little opus staring out at me from the horror section. I had my doubts at first, but I remembered seeing it on the marquees of the local art-houses and reading some reviews so I made the plunge and was not dissappointed.
Let me stress at the outset that this isn't the highly sanitized 70's television mini-series Helter Skelter nor it's polished remake of last year. This one scratches much closer to the bone. Made on a shoe-string budget on and off over a course of almost fifteen years, this comes across as cross-breed of documentary, Italian horror and snuff-film. The various film stock used conveys perfectly the time period and gives an added reality to everything that eventually unfolds on screen. The use of non-actors (many of which worked pro-bono) works equally well since there is none of the pretense or method a schooled actor would bring to the table.
Some may be put off at the seemingly disorganized way it all is cut together, but there is a method to the madness. Others may be equally turned off by the exploitation flick vibe that radiates off the screen. However, from all the interviews and books I've read on the case, the film rarely strays from fact. The director Van Bebber did his homework and stayed on course.
Another thing I think I should mention is the documentary on the making of this movie. Van Bebber deserves a lot of credit for muscling this film to completion. Money ran out, some of the actors grew tired of it and went on their way, including Marcello Games who played Manson himself, but the end result was something one cannot take their eyes from. Any number of other directors would have given it up for dead long before, but eventually he got the deed done. I for one am glad he did.