Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Ben Macintyre: Hollywood Rewards Killer's Quest For Fame

The Australian offers Ben Macintyre’ London Times column on Charles Manson, who will once again be dramatized in a film by Quentin Tarantino.   

Soon after he was charged with murder in 1969, Charles Manson achieved his ambition. He appeared on the cover of Life magazine, looking bug-eyed and bonkers, beneath the headline “The Love and Terror Cult”. He had become a celebrity.

The Manson story was about sex, drugs and the manipulation of vulnerable people into committing acts of terrible violence. In the sweep of American cultural history he came to symbolise the moment the hippie Age of Aquarius turned nasty, the end of the counterculture.

But for Manson himself it was always about fame, something he almost attained legally and cultivated assiduously — a process that started before the murders and continued during the trial, in prison and even following his death in 2017 at the age of 83.

Manson wanted to be famous and he succeeded because this semi-literate, racist, profoundly evil man was a brilliant self-publicist. He did not want to be admired, he just wanted to be talked about. He took the American Dream — the myth that everyone can achieve fame and success — and turned it into a nightmare.

No fewer than three new films have now taken on the Manson story: The Haunting of Sharon Tate, starring Hilary Duff; Mary Harron’s Charlie Says, which explores the lives of three of Manson’s murderous followers after their convictions; and, most eye-catchingly, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino’s brilliantly bloody treatment starring Brad Pitt, Leonardo Di­Caprio and Margot Robbie.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:


You can also read my Washington Times review of Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson via the below link:


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