Helter Skelter (2004 film)

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Helter Skelter
Helter skelter -- dvd cover.jpg
DVD cover
Directed byJohn Gray
StarringJeremy Davies
Clea DuVall
Allison Smith
Frank Zieger
Eric Dane
Bruno Kirby
Theme music composerMark Snow
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducerVincent Bugliosi
CinematographyDon E. FauntLeRoy
EditorScott Vickrey
Running time137 minutes (DVD)
Production companiesThe Wolper Organization Lakeside Productions
Warner Bros. Television
Original releaseMay 16, 2004 (United States)

Helter Skelter is a 2004 television film directed by John Gray based on the murders of the Charles Manson Family.[1] The film is the second film to be based on the Charles Manson murders, following the 1976 two-part TV movie of the same name. Unlike the 1976 version, which focused mainly on the police investigation and the murder trial (as did the book), this version focused mainly on Linda Kasabian's involvement with the Manson Family and their development.


After breaking up with her husband, 19-year-old single mother Linda Kasabian seeks refuge with the Manson Family at Spahn Ranch and witnesses their indoctrination techniques. After attending the killings at the Sharon Tate house she flees Spahn Ranch but the Manson Family keeps her daughter in their custody, knowing that this will force her to return. Her daughter and all of the other children are taken by Social Services during a raid on Spahn Ranch after Manson burns municipal earthmoving equipment that he believes is being used to make it harder for him to find the "bottomless pit" that he believes is described in Revelation 9 and "Revolution 9". The case is dropped due to an improperly executed warrant but confessions from Sadie and interviews with Kitty lead investigators to connect the Hinman, Tate, and LaBianca killings and issue warrants for the members of the Manson Family. Joey Dimarco and Paul Watkins explain to the detectives how the words "Helter Skelter" and "Pig" found written in blood at the crime scenes are related to the worldview of the Manson Family derived from passages in the Book of Revelation and the lyrics of the Beatles, thereby connecting Manson's philosophy to the murders themselves as acts intended to spark a race war he dubbed "Helter Skelter". Manson dismisses his counsel and represents himself at trial but is deemed unfit after disrupting proceedings. Linda Kasabian is given an immunity deal and ends up giving detailed testimony at trial. The accused members of the Manson Family are ultimately convicted of the murders but California repeals the death penalty in 1972, making them all eligible for parole.



  1. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (May 14, 2004). "Manson Family's Summer of Death". The New York Times.

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