The Other Side of Madness (1971)

Genres - Culture & Society, Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Law & Crime  |   Run Time - 83 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - R
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This grim retelling of the Helter Skelter slayings was filmed while the famous case was still in trial. The action takes place in the courtroom, as witnesses give their testimony and flashback sequences pull the viewer into the events leading up to and including the killings (though the names of the real-life principals are never used). What The Helter Skelter Murders might lack in factual accuracy it makes up for with period authenticity and a slow, dreamlike atmosphere, that, if endured, presents a certain harrowing feel not found in other depictions. Unfortunately, the film ends abruptly in mid-flashback, leading one to assume that it was unfinished and damaging whatever dramatic tension had been slowly boiling. The Helter Skelter Murders has an interesting style and some intense imagery, especially during a fanciful sequence showing what Charles Manson's imagined "black revolution" might look like. Still, the whole point of this exercise is exploitation, so those interested in a thoughtful examination of the case should look elsewhere. Included on the soundtrack is a version of Manson's song "Mechanical Man" (reportedly performed by Charlie himself) and selections by the Music Machine.



brainwashing, cult, investigation, mass-murder, mind-control, murder