Wednesday, July 27, 2005


finally saw Jim VanBebber's brilliant film The Manson Family. it well exceeded my expecations. it was the perfect blend of violent exploitation, gritty true crime, and giallo cinema. it also for the first time in any adaptation of the case really zeroed in on Bobby Beausoleil (played by VanBebber himself), showing that he was the catalyst for the whole case and not the whole "race war apocalypse" thing that has been popularized.

it's the movie Natural Born Killers should have been. that film was an attempt to comment on how the media mythifies murderers, turning them into kind of folk heroes. problem is Oliver Stone didn't do much to make us hate his Mickey and Mallory characters, so his point was lost. where that movie failed, Manson Family succeeds. it comments briefly on the media focusing in on Manson, turning him into a t-shirt icon, than spends the rest of the time desconstructing the myth by showing the actual killers as the cackling monsters they more than likely were. Manson is more or less a figurehead, he isn't even in the film that much, but his influence is there, almost like a real life Keyser Soze. the film does everything in it's power to ignore glamour and delve straight into the blood and guts of reality, and it works. you're not cheering these people on. they aren't revolutionaries or folk heroes, they're loathsome drug addicts who have allowed what little humanity they have be swept up in the paranoid dellusions of a manical con artist.

it has already made it into my top 10 favorite horror films, and it's among one of the best films i have ever seen.



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