The Manson Family on DVD
By James Wray Feb 13, 2005, 5:08 GMT
Fifteen years in the making, The Manson Family is a self-financed labor of love for Van Bebber, who became a cult favorite in the 1980s with his feature film Deadbeat at Dawn and with his short films and music videos for such bands as Skinny Puppy.
Long on hallucinogenic, graphic violence and sex, the film destroys some of the myths that surround The Manson Family, openly explores the group's lifestyle prior to the shocking Tate-LaBianca murders of August 9 and 10, 1969, and places the Manson mythology in historical context. "It probably represents the first time the whole Manson phenomenon has ever been explained in a way that really makes some sense," wrote Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Manson Family (Unrated 2-Disc Special Edition) Bonus materials on the unrated DVD include theatrical trailers and a gallery of still photos, along with a second disc that contains an interview with Charles Manson, along with two documentaries.
One, "The Van Bebber Family," includes new interviews with the film's cast and crew, telling the story of the movie's lengthy production: it began in 1988 as a movie called "Charlie's Family," and Van Bebber's attempts to find the funding to complete the movie gave rise to rumors that the director was doing everything from flipping burgers at Wendy's to relying on armed robbery. The second documentary, "In the Belly of the Beast," features Van Bebber and other independent filmmakers at the FanTasia Festival in Montreal.
The Manson Family explores the life of Charles Manson and his "family" of followers gathered on a ranch outside Los Angeles in the late 1960s. It graphically depicts life under Manson's sway: a presumed oasis of free love and plentiful drugs turning into ground zero for a madman's paranoid visions, and leading to the slaughter of nine people. Besides recreating the Manson lifestyle, the film also follows a modern-day tabloid journalist investigating the murders, and a group of nihilistic, Manson-obsessed punk teenagers.
Using a wide variety of techniques, Van Bebber has fused classic grindhouse horror with an experimentalism rooted in the underground Cinema of Transgression, a punk-inspired 1980s movement, and in the hallucinogenic occultism of cult director Kenneth Anger.
The UK version will be released earlier on February 21.
Further details and trailer links in our database.