Helter Skelter (1976)

TV Movie   |  Not Rated   |    |  Crime, Drama, Thriller

Helter Skelter (1976) Poster

The investigation and trial of the horrific Tate-LaBianca mass murders orchestrated by the psychotic pseudo-hippie cult leader, Charles Manson.

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  • Steve Railsback in Helter Skelter (1976)
  • George DiCenzo and Steve Railsback in Helter Skelter (1976)
  • Eileen Dietz and Steve Railsback in Helter Skelter (1976)
  • Steve Railsback in Helter Skelter (1976)
  • Steve Railsback and Nancy Wolfe in Helter Skelter (1976)
  • Steve Railsback and Nancy Wolfe in Helter Skelter (1976)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

5 April 2002 | Ajtlawyer
ground breaking
This TV movie was very controversial when it came out. The local affiliate where I lived declined to show it during the normal 8 p.m. prime time slot and instead showed it at 10:30 p.m. on two consecutive nights. I had to plead with my mother to let me stay up to watch it and she had refused to let me until she found out that I'd already read the book it was based on. So she stayed up to provide parental guidance during the movie (and fell asleep!). Years later I taped the show when it was shown on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon so it is perhaps a sad commentary that what affiliates almost refused to broadcast in 1976 is now afternoon family fare!

The movie is well done and Steve Railsback is excellent as Manson although I suspect that the role almost ruined his career. It was simply impossible for the movie to recreate the murders but what little is shown about them is chilling, veiled images being shown while Linda Kasabian tearfully testifies.

I've heard that Johnny Depp recently turned down a chance to play Manson in a new movie--the TV "Helter Skelter" was scary enough with all the limitations that TV required on the story so I cannot imagine how graphic a theater release about Manson could be. If you can find it, there was an Oscar-nominated documentary called "Manson" which is well worth watching and which jumps back and forth between the seemingly serene life at Spahn Ranch and the murder trial.

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