BEN LAWRENCE SCREENGRAB
The only thing this documentary about Charles Manson proved is that it’s time to forget about him
Charles Manson was a criminal, a narcissist and a psychopath. He certainly wasn’t a folk hero, and yet our continued fascination perpetuates him thus – as a key figure in the Sixties counterculture; the flip side of the hippy dream. Recently, he has inspired an acclaimed novel (The Girls by Emma Cline) and a film by Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which will be released next year.
This is irritating. Manson was a small-time crook who was fortunate enough to meet a wayward Beach Boy (Dennis Wilson) and gain a foothold on the LA music scene. The fact that he commanded members of his cult to murder actress Sharon Tate (the wife of Roman Polanski) and five others in August 1969 at her Bel-Air home ensured a grim sort of glamour and inspired reams of editorial by writers who were fascinated by the control he exerted over a group of screwed-up flower children in search of a father figure.
Manson: The Lost Tapes, too, seemed beholden to the allure of “Charlie” (doesn’t the diminutive speak volumes?). The horrific details of the Tate murders were kept to a minimum, as was Manson’s biography. Instead, the focus was on the Family (the collective name for his acolytes),
PATHETIC FOOTNOTEFamily members Nancy Pitman, Lynette Fromme and Sandra Good in 1969