The Manson Family [2 Discs] [Blu-ray/DVD] [1997]

  • SKU: 21433646
  • Release Date: 06/11/2013
  • Rating: R
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Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (2 out of 2)

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary with Director Jim VanBebber
  • Exclusive New Interview with Musician Phil Anselmo
  • The VanBebber Family Uncut version of 'Making Of' Documentary featuring Interviews with Cast and Crew
  • In the Belly of the Beast Documentary on the 1997 Fantasia Film Festival
  • Interview with Charles Manson
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailers


The Manson Family
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 1967, he was released and made his way to Los Angeles as the "Summer of Love" was getting into full swing. A charismatic aspiring musician, Manson soon attracted a flock of hangers-on who became known as "Charlie's Family." Thanks to Manson's tenuous friendship with Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson (Steve Riley) and their resourceful ability to "find" food and clothing, the family was able to keep body and soul together while Manson attempted to make a name for himself in the music business; meanwhile, Charlie's mostly female followers used sex and drugs to get what they needed or wanted from others, and would occasionally dive into dumpsters for food when all else failed. But what began as an exercise in neo-hippie collectivism centered around sex, drugs and good times began to take a sinister turn as Manson exerted a greater hold over the family, and used his leadership toward troubling ends, leading to rape, armed robbery, and gruesome violence. When Bobby (Van Bebber), a member of the family, was arrested for murder, Manson believed his apocalyptic prophesies of race war and worldwide catastrophe were coming true, and he organized a series of murders which he believed would throw the conflict into high gear, using his followers to do his bloody bidding. In production since 1988, The Manson Family was screened in rough cut form as Charlie's Family in 1997, but remained uncompleted until home-video outfit Blue Underground agreed to finance post-production, and the film received its official European premiere at the 2003 London FrightFest Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

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    Marcelo Games - Charles Manson
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    Leslie Orr
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    Amy Yates
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    Jim van Bebber - Bobby
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    Paul Harper

Overall customer rating

would recommend to a friend
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    A disturbing and riveting portrait of the Mansons


    The Manson Family has been in the works for around twenty years. With the number of false starts and production delays this film has had over the years, it's a wonder it even got finished, let alone ended up being the bravura piece of horror film making that it is. Through a wide variety of media and timelines (ala Natural Born Killers), writer/director Jim Van Bebber tells the story of the notorious Manson Family, from their humble beginnings through to the horrific murders they committed. The framework for the story is a bit complicated, in that it's about a TV producer making a new documentary on the life of times of the Manson Family, "real" footage of their exploits, "real" interviews of the family in modern times reflecting on those exploits, as well as Manson followers trying to stop the producer from making the show. I placed the words "real" in quotation marks because Van Bebber goes to great lengths to create a verissimilitude within the film, so that everything seems legitimate, even though everybody is an actor and the entire film is fabricated. However, the visceral nature of the vintage Manson family footage (complete with scratches, color timing issues, and psychadelic sixties filmmaking techniques) makes everything seem very real indeed, and the film is most successful during these segments. The framing story of the television producer and the modern Manson extremists, while trying to provide modern day context, comes across as forced, and unfortunately distances the intensity of the "vintage" Manson footage. It takes us out of the moment and reminds us that we're just watching a documentary that this man is producing, which unfortunately lessons the impact of the film a little. Aside from that minor flaw though, the film is a sight to behold and a blazing work of originality. The DVD includes two insightful feature length documentaries about the creation of the film and the horror film festivals it played at throughout its creation. An absence of an audio commentary seems like a missed opportunity, but besides that, the extras on this Special Edition are very worthwhile. If you'd like to see a unique and disturbing horror film that's been in the weeks for nearly two decades, give this film a look. Whether you love it or hate it, you can't deny that it's different!

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Horror Flick, Yet Documentary


    The Manson Family is a strange yet effective documentary of the supposed "personal" accounts of the members of Charlie's family. In reality it is similar to the movie Natural Born Killers in that it is based around a journalist doing a report on the manson family in present day, using the former members of the family to tell the story. Therefore the movie is presented in interview scences along with flashbacks of the events where a correct account of what actually happened in comparison to what the interviewies are saying. This movie is worht the time and money for several reasons; one it is a decent gorefest for those who seek that, two it provides correct information about the manson family and the events they participated in, third it is a extremely unique way of showing a documentary, fourth and finally is the special feature on the second disk, which is an actual interview with the man himself Charles Manson which shows some of the deranged charisma he has. Overall this is a recommended movie in my book. Thanks for reading the review!

    I would recommend this to a friend

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