The only thing this doc­u­men­tary about Charles Man­son proved is that it’s time to for­get about him

The Daily Telegraph - Review - - COVER STORY -

ITV, Thurs­day

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

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