Helter Skelter (1976 film)

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Helter Skelter
Helter Skelter (1976 film).jpg
DVD cover of Helter Skelter
Genre True crime
Directed by Tom Gries
Produced by Philip Capice
Lee Rich
Written by Vincent Bugliosi
Curt Gentry
JP Miller
Starring George DiCenzo
Steve Railsback
Nancy Wolfe
Marilyn Burns
Christina Hart
Cathey Paine
Alan Oppenheimer
Read Morgan
Music by Billy Goldenberg
Country United States
Language English
Original channel CBS
Original run April 1, 1976  – April 2, 1976
Running time 194 minutes
No. of episodes 2

Helter Skelter is a 1976 TV film based on the 1974 book by prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry. In the United States, it aired over two nights. In some countries it was shown in theaters with additional footage (nudity, language and more violence).

The movie is based upon the murders committed by the Charles Manson Family. The best-known victim was actress Sharon Tate. The title was taken from the Beatles' song of the same name. According to the theory put forward by the prosecution, Manson used the term for an anticipated race war, and "healter skelter" [sic] was scrawled in blood on the refrigerator door at the house of one of the victims. It recounts the murders Manson committed, the investigation, and the 1970-71 trial where prosecuting D.A. Bugliosi attempted to draw connections between the Manson family and his violent convictions.

The 1976 film, directed by Tom Gries, stars Steve Railsback as Manson and George DiCenzo as Bugliosi. Writer JP Miller received a 1977 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best TV Feature or MiniSeries Teleplay.

In 2004, the book was adapted for a second made-for-TV movie, written and directed by John Gray and featuring Jeremy Davies as Manson.

Ratings[edit]

The film premiered with a household share of 36.5 ranking it the 16th highest rated movie to air on network television.[1] The film was also shown on TV stations in Los Angeles, although there were reservations about this and fears of bad memories for the film appeared seven years after the Manson murders[citation needed].

Production notes[edit]

The LaBianca house sequence was filmed at the actual crime scene. Much of the dialogue from the courtroom scenes was taken from the court transcripts. The 1959 Ford driven by Linda Kasabian on both nights of murder was loaned to the producers by the Los Angeles Police Department[citation needed].

Awards and nominations[edit]

1977 Emmy Awards[edit]

  • Nominated, Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Special (Dramatic Underscore) – Billy Goldenberg[2]
  • Nominated, Outstanding Directing in a Special Program - Drama or Comedy – Tom Gries[2]
  • Nominated, Outstanding Film Editing for a Special – Byron Brandt, Bud S. Isaacs[2]

Directors Guild of America[edit]

  • Nominated, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Specials/Movies for TV/Actuality – Daniel Petrie[2]

Edgar Allan Poe Awards[edit]

  • Won, Best Television Feature or Miniseries – J.P. Miller[2]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. 2003. p. 805. ISBN 0-345-45542-8. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Awards listing on imdb.com". imdb.com. Retrieved 4 April 2010.