The Manson Family
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Filmmaker Jim Van Bebber, who earned a reputation as one of the most distinctive and uncompromising artists in underground horror with his low-budget feature Deadbeat at Dawn and a series of powerful short subjects and music videos, directed this disquieting look at some of the most brutal and infamous crimes of the 20th century. Jack Wilson (Carl Day) is a television reporter who in 1996 is working on a documentary about Charles Manson and the 1969 murders he was convicted of helping to mastermind. Manson (Marcelo Games) was a wandering ne'er do well with a long prison record when, in… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A nauseating mélange."
‑ Erik Lundegaard, Seattle Times
"There's no real journalism here, just the sort of appalling revisionism that can turn a bloodbath into a beach party."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"a true feast of flesh made even worse on an unrated DVD"
‑ Christopher Null, Filmcritic.com
"Titillation and drive-in exploitation tactics are readily employed to keep the viewer watching, with a filmmaking approach coasting along in a psychedelic documentary mode."
‑ Jeremiah Kipp, Slant Magazine
"Van Bebber's film is tough, difficult, sporadically brilliant cinema, to be sure, and I doubt he'd have had it any other way."
‑ Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle
"Its own mythology aside, this flamboyant, graphic and disturbing quasi-docu reenactment of a notorious chapter in U.S. counterculture life is a fascinating if peculiar accomplishment."
‑ Dennis Harvey, Variety
"The less-than-persuasive result is like mediocre leftover psychedelic '60s underground cinema."
‑ Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times
"You feel sick and indicted by it--and that's exactly how you ought to feel."
‑ Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central
"... an acid movie flashback a la Oliver Stone."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"More work goes into mimicking the oversaturated colors, shrill organ music and goopy gore of Grade-C 1970s horror films in a lurid yet predictable stew of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll."
‑ Paul Sherman, Boston Herald
"Van Bebber has delivered a stylistically vigorous and often insightful piece of work."
‑ Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"It seems little more than the heir to Survive!, The Zodiac Killer and other unsavory 1970s horror cheapies that tried to turn a quick buck on real-life tragedy."
‑ Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly
"...grotesquely violent, but shouldn't a film about the Manson atrocities disgust us?"
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"Helter Skelter is a song by the Beatles, a slogan adopted by the Charles Manson 'family' and a description of how disorganized The Manson Family is."
‑ Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), St. Paul Pioneer Press
"It's one great, blood-curdling Halloween treat."
‑ , E! Online
More reviews for The Manson Family on Rotten Tomatoes

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