Not to be confused with the much superior TV movie Helter Skelter made in 1976, The Helter Skelter Murders is an unusual film to say the least. With some footage shot at Spahn Ranch (where the Manson Family lived before their arrest) and Charles Manson himself singing his song “Mechanical Man” on the soundtrack, the movie has a bit of an authentic, albeit bizarre, feel to it. The first half of the film is a weird, disjointed mix of scenes, ranging from rock concert to urban riot, set against the backdrop of the court trial; this part of the movie is not particularly entertaining and is hard to follow at times. Later scenes, such as the one with an actress portraying Sharon Tate on a movie set, are better. The scene recreating the murders in August 1969 is brutal and difficult to watch but from a directorial standpoint is well done; the sequence of events also matches the factual accounts given about the crime, which makes it an even more powerful and disturbing.
Helter Skelter Murders is far from a classic; it is a strangely directed film that could have been made better. As it deals with a tragic event and an evil group of people, it is also not easy to watch at times. But anyone who has seen the later TV movie Helter Skelter should watch this movie, as you will see the differences in style and technique and also a different telling of the same event from 1969.
color, mono, fullscreen, DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case, wrapped in plastic.