|Written by||Oliver Stangl|
|Published on||August 10, 2011|
True fame, this documentary tells us, is when people only need someone’s last name to know exactly whom they’re talking about. Even after the adaption by musician Brian Hugh Warner [...]
True fame, this documentary tells us, is when people only need someone’s last name to know exactly whom they’re talking about. Even after the adaption by musician Brian Hugh Warner alias Marilyn Manson (choosing another iconic name as his stage persona’s first one), “Manson” still works as a synonym for the cold-bloodedness and cruelty that made the criminal mastermind behind his infamous “Family” world-famous. After all those years, Manson still resides on the peak of pop culture’s spectrum’s dark realms. His appearance marked the moment the free spirit and light-heartedness of the Hippie era came to an end.
The 1934-born fatherless “no-name-Maddox” seemed to be an outcast by nature with a soon starting career of petty crimes, different homes and juvenile detention centres. Manson just wouldn’t fit in. A fact he himself must have been aware of when – after seven years behind bars – he didn’t want to leave prison. It was the year 1967 and society maybe the whole world had changed dramatically. The youth fought social structures and ex-cons like Manson were admirable martyrs. Being a skilled guitarist he was a hit not only with teenagers but also with Hollywood celebrities and musicians: one of Manson’s songs is to be found (un-credited) on the Beach Boys record “2020”.
This 1992 documentary which visually has a bit of an 80s touch to it was written, produced and directed by Nick Bougas. The narrator Harold Wells talks his head off and doesn’t seem to breathe at all while tracing the steps and trying to find out how Manson built his commune-like “Family” and what, when the paranoia and delusions kicked in, made them do the senseless cruelties they committed and most famously cost the lives of Roman Polanski’s wife, actress Sharon Tate and her unborn child.
An associative picture-stream mixed with rich historical documentation as well as audio and video interviews with Manson himself make this feature an interesting as well as diverting piece of TV production in the midst of those myriads of books, exploitation films, comics, theatre plays, buttons, stickers and artwork there are on the topic.
As an encore the documentary shortly retells the story of two of the most notorious serial killers in the history of the US: the necrophile, cannibalistic and human-skinning Edward Gein who was part of the inspiration behind Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” and the man who inspired “Texas Chain Saw Massacre”, John Gacy who sodomised, strangled and buried more than 30 boys most of them in his own house.
Documentary.net says: probably not the newest/best documentary on the subject out there but definitely a very good start for those interested.