Hammy biopic of barmy, murderous Charlie

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Overall rating:

Score 2

Product:

The Manson Family

OPENS JULY 23, CERT 18, 95 MINS

“Much more than an exploitation film,” the makers claim, but evidence for this is hard to unearth. Writer/director Jim Van Bebber’s reconstruction of the deranged lifestyle and ritual killings perpetrated by Charles Manson and his acolytes bears many of the hallmarks of a low-rent slashploitation pot-boiler, with scenes of soft-core group sex and several blood-drenched shootings all serving as a prelude to the notorious Sharon Tate murders.

The story of how the film itself was made is far more interesting than the result. Van Bebber began in 1988, but problems with distribution and funding meant it wasn’t completed until last year, which may explain why the plot has been hacked into bite-sized chunks. Marcelo Games looks like Manson, but the script never gets anywhere near explaining what made him monstrous. The only blessing is that the violence is so crudely enacted that the viewer is in little danger of suffering any sleepless nights.