There's a 3 part documentary, "Manson - Born To Kill" starting tonight here on UK TV. Psychologists, lawyers et al discussing the case. I never usually watch TV, but was going to check it out & send a thread submission if no one else does. Unless it's just the usual bullshit, which it probably will be. C2
Cease2's Review Below...--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BORN TO KILL?
Series 2 - The Manson Family
UK TV - Channel Five, Oct 2, 2012
"Their orgy of brutal and seemingly senseless slaughter shocked the world and marked the end of the 1960s hippie dream. But what made Charles Manson the man he was? Why did so many young people fall under his spell and how was he able to convince them so easily to slaughter innocent people without conscience?"
Expectations are always low for these tabloid TV true-crimes. In terms of production values, this one fared well. Nicely shot interviews, good use of historical clips and photo montage, suspenseful music. I was under the impression that three episodes were going to be dedicated to the Manson saga, but alas no, just a single program. So what did we get?
Our cast of talking heads included:
Three LA cops - Burridge, who received the first call about Cielo. Mike McGann, detective assigned the Tate case. And Det Frank Salerno who busted them at the ranch (for the car ring thing).
- Sandie Gibbons - LA City Reporter
- Some cat called BUG
- Dr Fort - Forensic Psychologist
- Dr Schlesinger - Forensic Psychologist
- Simon Wells, of "Coming Down Fast" fame
- Babs Hoyt
- Phil "Road Mangler" Kaufman
- David Smith, of the Haight Medical Clinic
Overall, much of it was our cast of talking heads recounting TLB, and Manson's background, and HS according to the official story as outlined in Bug's book and Sadie's testimony etc. As you'd expect.
Half of Ms. Hoyt's interviews were conducted on a return visit to Spahn. "I can smell the same smell of those trees, almost like a long ago dream, instead of reality." Although much maligned in the TLB blogosphere as to her veracity, Babs rally does come across as genuine when she says the difference between her and most of the other girls is that she had empathy for the victims. ...But so does Pat now, I guess. No other Family peeps participate though, just Babs.
Det. McGann recalls Sadie as "the nicest person you'd ever want to meet." Wells outlines the killers' backgrounds briefly. Hairy Pat. Homecoming Leslie. You know. The Lotsapoppa and Hinman incidents get short shrift. Though Det Salerno reminds us that Hinman bailed Charlie out. Personally, I'd forgotten.
Phil Kaufman speaks of his first day on the yard, spotting this guy singing like Frankie Laine. Meeting up on the outside, it was "sex on demand" with the girls. Great! Introduced him to Melcher. "Charlie always kept pursuing professional recording" Then down the line, PK admits to Manson he can't free his mind to really do-his-own-thing like Charlie & the hippy dream demands. ...Later Phil is shocked at his pals becoming "heinous murderers".
The forensic psychologists agree that Charlie did not coerce his followers.. it was a two way street, satisfying the needs of both. David Smith, who visited Spahn to observe the relationship saw a more malevolent Manson. A self described God, deprogamming his acolytes. Dr Fort described Manson putting them all through a desensitisation and conditioning process. Overall, it's agreed that none of them were "born to kill", as the series title asks. Phew, that's a relief.
This started at 8pm, and although we saw no graphic victim pix, we got stills of the various bloody crime scenes, often in colour. And the Cielo handgun was produced from a filing cabinet in the DA's office archive. The craziest still is the one of the Tex mugshot, in profile. Looking totally freakin gaga. That always gets me. ...Oh, and there's a pic of an unshaven CM playing guitar I don't recall seeing.
It's a real pity that an extra episode wasn't added, with an in depth discussion. It's also a pity that any Manson sympathisers didn't participate, or an expert with a left-field opinion. But judging by the lack of commercials, they had enough trouble selling soap with this one (but so do all Channel Five shows).
I'm giving it 2 stars for content, and 3 stars for a pro job production-wise.