We got word late last night that notorious cult leader and convicted serial killer Charles Manson is seriously ill; he’s been transported from his prison cell in Corcoran, CA, to a hospital about an hour away. And while HFN doesn’t usually give press to despicable criminals, Manson’s impact on horror movies, and popular culture, can’t be denied. In many ways, The Manson Family’s Los Angeles murder spree killed the spirit of the 1960s, an era often characterized by peace and love, and essentially changed what people considered scary.
The movies listed below were all inspired by Charles Manson, the cult he presided over, and the crimes they committed. Some are basically documentaries, while others are creative adaptations (see Live Freaky! Die Freaky!). Let us know in the Comments section if you can think of any prominent examples we missed. Enjoy!
I Drink Your Blood (1970)
Official Synopsis: A group of hippies wreak havoc on a small town and a young boy, whose grandfather and sister were attacked by them, decides to get even, with deadly results
The Other Side of Madness aka The Helter Skelter Murders (1971)
Official Synopsis: A mixture of documentary footage and re-enactment scenes, some filmed on the action locations, of the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders committed by the gang known as the Manson Family.
The Manson Massacre aka The Cult (1971)
Official Synopsis: A monk-robed cult leader who lives in a coffin, is transported around in a black hearse. At times he gets sadistic with his girl followers.
Official Synopsis: Quarry is a mysterious, articulate stranger who draws a cult like following of local hippies. Rather than showing them peace and love, he has more sinister plans for them, as he is a vampire.
Thumb Tripping (1972)
Official Synopsis: An adventurous couple of hitchhikers decides to accept every ride that is offered to them, no matter how odd the driver might be. They’ll get more than they bargained for.
Helter Skelter (1976)
Official Synopsis: The investigation and trial of the horrific Tate-LaBianca mass murders orchestrated by the psychotic pseudo-hippie cult leader, Charles Manson.
Manson Family Movies (1984)
Official Synopsis: In response to the legend that the “Manson Family” may have filmed themselves in some of their exploits, this film is a re-creation as to what a film of their may have been like. The film, shot in a piecemeal fashion, is an intentionally amateurish faux “home movie” of the events leading up to, and including, the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders
Summer Dreams: The Story of the Beach Boys (1990)
Official Synopsis: Dramatization looks at the tumultuous relationship that existed between rock group The Beach Boy’s Brian and Dennis Wilson and their father, Murry. It also examines their struggles with drugs and alcohol.
The Manson Family (1997)
Official Synopsis: A dramatization of the horrific and notorious Manson Family Murders, in the form of super 8 home movies.
Live Freaky! Die Freaky! (2006)
Official Synopsis: It is the year 3069 and the Earth has been robbed of all its natural resources, destroyed by war and ozone depletion, and is now only a barren desert. The humans who inhabit this empty vessel search not only for food but for a god to save them. Their search will soon be over when Charlie returns to save them.
Manson, My Name is Evil (2009)
Official Synopsis: Perry, a sheltered chemical engineer, falls in love with Leslie, a former homecoming princess, when he becomes a jury member at her hippie death cult murder trial.
Haunting Charles Manson (2014)
Official Synopsis: A new psychological thriller with a killer twist.
House of Manson (2014)
Official Synopsis: An unflinching chronicle of Charles Manson’s life leading up to the orchestration of the Tate and LaBianca murders.
Manson Family Vacation (2015)
Official Synopsis: Two bickering brothers make a tentative reconciliation to tour the Charlie Manson murder sites.
Manson’s Lost Girls (2016)
Official Synopsis: Linda Kasabian falls prey to the hypnotic charms of Charles Manson and his self-proclaimed “family” during the drug-fueled summer of 1969.