Helter Skelter (the movie)

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helter+vhs.JPG Media:2-06_Helter_Skelter.mp3

Background of the Movie

  • "Helter Skelter" is a TV film produced in 1976
  • It aired for two nights: April 1 and April 2, 1976
  • The movie is about the murders committed by the "Manson Family"
  • The film is based on the 1974 book written by prosecutors Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
  • Despite how poorly done the movie was, it ranks in at the 16th highest rated movie to air on television

Spahn Ranch

  • Was originally a ranch used to film old western movies due to it landscape
  • Bought by George Spahn in 1948 and he was a very old man
  • Allowed the Manson Family to move in for free in return for labor
  • George Spahn was not accused in any way for the murders committed by his tenants

The Tate Murders


  • After midnight on August 9, 1969
  • Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Linda Kasabian, and Charles "Tex" Watson the 4 chosen by Manson
  • He told them to "leave a sign...something witchy"
  • Victims were Sharon Tate 28, her friends Jay Sebring 36 and Abigail Folger 25, and Folger's boyfriend Voytek Frykowski 32
  • Also a friend of the caretaker named Garretson, Steven Parent 18, was shot 4 times
  • The four in the house received in all 102 stab wounds
  • Jay, Voytek, and Steve were shot; all but Steve were stabbed; Jay and Voytek were hit with a blunt object
  • Supposedly Susan Atkins tasted Sharon Tate's blood before writing "pig" on the porch wall
  • Some neighbors heard a few gunshots but after hearing nothing else went to bed
  • A man heard someone crying out "oh, God, no..." and drove around but saw nothing
  • Another neighbor's dogs went crazy so he looked around but saw nothing and went back to bed
  • A private security guard thought he heard gunshots so the police were fininally notified and an officer said "I hope we don't have a murder; we just had a woman-screaming call in that area."
  • Bodies discovered by Winifred Chapman

The LaBianca Murders


  • The night after the first murders
  • The victims were Leno who was 44 and Rosemary LaBianca who was 38
  • Manson thought the Tate murders were too messy so he went with 4 family members for this one along with Clem Tufts and Leslie Van Houten
  • Mason told the family "Don't let them know you are going to kill them"
  • Frank Struthers, his sister Susan Struthers, and Susan's boyfriend found the bodies
  • There was a fork in Leno's stomach and the word "war" was carved into it
  • Both victims had pillowcases over their heads and lamp cords tied around their necks
  • "Death to pigs", "rise", and "healther skelter" were written in the victims blood. Helter Skelter was misspelled
  • At first people thought these murders were either unconnected to the Tate murders or a copy cat killer had killed them

Charlie and the Family


  • Manson was able to control the minds of his family and get them to do whatever he wanted
  • The nicknames that Manson was given by the family is part of the reason why they would listen to him and really believe he was supernatural
  • Nicknames include: Jesus Christ, JC, God, Soul, and the Devil
  • The group hates the police and any form of establishment and calls them "pigs"
  • They also dont believe in words
  • Manson would instill fear in his family because he believed when you were scare, you were more aware so you had more love and he thought death was a beautiful thing because people fear death
  • No one ever disobeyed Manson

Reasons Behind the Murders, the Investigation, the Trial, and the Verdict

  • Plain and simple, Manson's motive for having his family commit the murders were for his personal power
  • Manson was a white supremacists and was a big fan of Hitler
  • He wanted to start a race war and blame the blacks for the killing of "pigs"
  • Believed "Helter Skelter" would be the last war on Earth
  • -War would be white vs. black, liberals vs. conservatives, and uncle toms vs. black panthers
  • Manson believed that the blacks would rise up and overthrow the whites except for him and his family and he would have to show the blacks how to run *the world because he believed the only thing they know how to do is take orders from whites. But "King Charlie" would order them around and show *them how to do it right
  • The investigation was extremely difficult because they really did not have any substantial evidence at all
  • Two very important people in the conviction were two family members named Paul and Lauren.
  • Paul gave an extremely important interview and Lauren was actually a murderer who made a deal for immunity to be a witness
  • Paul really did believe that Charlie was Jesus and gave a very important testimony
  • http://videos.umwblogs.org/2013/10/23/helter-skelter/
  • The trial was a joke and the defendants were out of control
  • Manson waved his right to an attorney because he believed that no one can represent him, but the judge forced him to have a lawyer because he wasnt competent to do it alone
  • The family was extremely obnoxious in the courtroom and had to be removed multiple times
  • Manson made a very creepy Jesus being crucified pose in the courtroom
  • He even tried to attack the judge
  • Finally when the verdict arrived, all four defendants were found guilty on multiple counts of murder and when the sentencing stage was taking place, none of the murderers said they felt and remorse and they were sentenced to death
  • They were taken off of death row in February of 1972 due to the California State Supreme Court ruling the death penalty unconstitutional
  • All convicts were up for parole in 1978 due to sentences being reduced to life
  • What do you make of Manson's no hard feelings talk with Vince?

Manson's Connection to the Beatles and the Bible

  • Manson believed the Beatles songs were subliminal messages to the youth
  • "Look at the songs: songs sung all over the world by the young love. It ain't nothin' new... It's written in... Revelation, all about the four angels programming the holocaust... the four angels looking for the fifth angel to lead the people into the pit of fire... right out to Death Valley. It's all in black and white, in the White Album - white, so there ain't no mistakin' the color."
  • The most notably influential songs connected to Manson were Helter Skelter, Revolution 1, Revolution 9, Blackbird and Piggies
  • Manson believed the Beatles were trying to contact him somehow to start the Helter Skelter "war"
  • "The song "Helter Skelter" — he was interpreting that to mean the blacks were gonna go up and the whites were gonna go down." -Former Manson follower Catherine Share
  • Manson was inspired by the White Album and started thinking that he and his Family could make their own album that would "seduce" young whites and lead them into the Family, depriving black males of white females, leading to a race war - or "Helter Skelter"
  • He believed "Revolution 9" was a depiction of Revelations chapter 9 of the bible (http://www.beatlesbible.com/features/charles-manson/3/)
  • Four angels and locusts represented the Beatles, scorpions were Charles and the Family, "third part of men" was destruction of white people, breastplates of fire were the bands' electric guitars, etc.

Quotes from the Beatles about Manson

  • "Everybody was getting on the big Beatle bandwagon. The police and the promoters and the Lord Mayors - and murderers too. The Beatles were topical and they were the main thing that was written about in the world, so everybody attached themselves to us, whether it was our fault or not. It was upsetting to be associated with something so sleazy as Charles Manson." -George Harrison
  • "All that Manson stuff was built around George's song about pigs and this one [Helter Skelter], Paul's song about an English fairground. It has nothing to do with anything, and least of all to do with me" -John Lennon
  • "Charles Manson interpreted that Helter Skelter was something to do with the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. I still don't know what all that stuff is; it's from the Bible, Revelation - I haven't read it so I wouldn't know. But he interpreted the whole thing - that we were the four horsemen, Helter Skelter the song - and arrived at having to go out and kill everyone." -Paul McCartney
  • "It was upsetting. I mean, I knew Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate and - God! - it was a rough time. It stopped everyone in their tracks because suddenly all this violence came out in the midst of all this love and peace and psychedelia. It was pretty miserable, actually, and everyone got really insecure - not just us, not just the rockers, but everyone in LA felt: 'Oh, God, it can happen to anybody.' Thank God they caught the bugger." -Ringo Starr
  • http://www.beatlesbible.com/features/charles-manson/

Video and From the Blogs

Demi shared a video about where the Manson family is now:

Paul gave us some news articles about the Manson murders from the LA Times: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2DPSqKLS_g7N2QyX0JaZTBjN1E/edit?usp=sharing https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2DPSqKLS_g7WDlaU1Bvc2c1UXc/edit?usp=sharing https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2DPSqKLS_g7ZFlaMzNiYzdBNVk/edit?usp=sharing


  • How did you feel about the control Manson had over the family?
  • Do you think the family members were worse than Manson or just as bad?
  • Do you think the movie portrayed the story accurately?
  • How well do you think the actors played Manson and the others?