Helter Skelter Director’s Cut
Linda Kasabian (Clea Duvall) has left her husband and together with her baby, she joins a commune. Although things look very much ok at first and the leader, “Charlie” Manson (Jeremy Davies), is a very charismatic person, there are some strange things as well: women have to eat after the dogs have finished, children have to be put together so the whole commune can look after them instead of the parents, and when she joined, she had to give all her papers and credit cards. After some time, Linda has to go with a couple of other girls as well as Charles to do some “ghosting”. Break into a home at night, rearrange furniture and steal whatever valuables they find. And all this very quietly while the house owners are asleep. Although this is fun at first, things become bitter when she goes out a second time and instead of leaving the owners alone, the goal isn’t stealing but brutal killing…
Sound and Vision:
This TV movie from 2004 has crystal clear image without compression errors, film spots, grain or damage. Good work from Warner on that part. Also the contrast, shadow depth and level of black are quite alright. The amount of detail is pretty decent but definitely not the best we’ve seen.
The soundtrack is 5.1 but the emphasis is on the front speakers. Surround speakers and subwoofer are hardly used but that’s also because most of the film is dialogue and doesn’t really need or benefit from surround effects.
– Deleted Scenes
– Rehearsal footage from Jeremy Davis
This 2004 remake of the 1976 Helter Skelter TV movie portrays Manson as the insane manipulator he really is. The 1976 film starts after the brutal murders happened and the investigation into them with an extensive view on the trial that followed. This film on the other hand shows more the psychological side of Manson and his commune from the events that resulted into the murders to the second part of the movie which shows a brief overview of the trial. Jeremy Davies is perfectly cast as Charles Manson and shows terrificly how the outside world saw Manson as some crazed up hippie while the same charismatics made him as seductive and powerful inside his group.
Warner has done a good job on the technical side but some more extras wouldn’t hurt. I know there are some very good documentaries out there about the killings and the trial and it would have been great to see at least one of those on the disk.