Thursday, February 28, 2008

"The Manson Massacre"(1972)d/Kentucky Jones

One-sheet:Impressive. Film itself:Eh,not so impressive.
I spent an eternity looking high and low for this obscure little ditty,very nearly impossible to find,as the legend goes,the only other print of the film had been allegedly destroyed in a fire some years back.So it seems,the only print in existence today has a German language overdubbed soundtrack with no subtitles,and being known worldwide as "Big Wop", not "Big Kraut",this could prove somewhat troublesome.Regardless of the obstacles in my path,I secured myself a copy,and what hitherto goes down is the heads and tails I made of it,submitted for your Wopsploitation pleasure.
Hindu-esque Manson is totally bummed out,man.
There are some great works out there dealing with Charles Manson,his "family",and their savage crimes on back-to-back August nights in 1969,such as "The Helter Skelter Murders"(1970),the superlative documentary,"Manson"(1970),and the highly acclaimed telepic,"Helter Skelter"(1976).This 1972 entry,directed by Kentucky Jones(allegedly a pseudonym,as he either feared for his life from Manson-ite backlash,or was himself a follower who changed his name to avoid repercussions from the law and/or victims' families...either or,you gotta admit it's a great backstory)focuses instead on only the most exploitative aspects of the cult and its sordid dealings,and the resulting film surprisingly falls short of other efforts despite this fact.
Love Charlie,love his belt:An angry messiah serves up some tough belt-lovin' to one of his groovy galpals.
Though the film takes a loose creative approach in presenting the facts behind the Maddox-Manson matters,it is structured rather inventively,using liberal black and white flashback sequences interspersed with colour in telling his female cohorts background stories,where Manson murders the beefy biker husband of a buxom babe he's been balling(played by the ever-alluring 70's B-movie queen,Uschi Digard),gets the "Donny the Punk" treatment in the showers by a gang of inmates after being subsequently sentenced,and meets his harem girls for the first time,one of which swoons evermore for our anti-hero after he aids her in stealing a vibrator(!)that her father(!!)declines to purchase for her(!!!).Talk about strict parents,sheesh.Elsewhere, cinematic Charlie takes his belt off and buckle-whips a hippie into tearful submission(I thought he used L.S.D. to dominate their minds,but what the hell do I know) and lies around using his harem as human body pillows and looking more than a little bummed out by the whole affair.Hell,I was probably looking much the same myself by the time the end credits rolled.
Me?No, I wasn't staring at your partner's(Uschi Digard) impressive set of golden bozos... just passin' through,dude.
If the drug-soaked Manson murders intrigue you the way they do me,you'll want to hunt down a copy of this lost film for yourself(e-mail me if your search is fruitless and I'll do you right).If you're familiar with the story to any degree,then the German language won't be much of a barrier.The pint-sized self-proclaimed "slippie" ranting and raving in German does prove pretty humorous,if not entirely reminiscent of another "spiritual leader" and his fiery speeches in the Deutsch tongue from an earlier time.My main gripe with the flick is the choice of actors(the late Blaisdell Makee)in the Charlie role.He looks more Marrakesh than Manson,though few people could duplicate the cult leader's aura/presence,acting or not.Another complaint,is the hazy focus on the murders themselves,which figure very meekly into the storyline.For completists only.
Hindu Manson offers some psychedelic vindaloo to an unsuspecting hippie-ette.


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beedubelhue said...

Really? You don't say.


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