Helter Skelter (1976 film)
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DVD cover of Helter Skelter
|Based on||Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi|
|Screenplay by||JP Miller|
|Directed by||Tom Gries|
|Theme music composer||Billy Goldenberg|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||2|
|Editor(s)||Byron 'Buzz' Brandt|
Bud S. Isaacs
|Running time||194 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Lorimar Television|
|Original release||April 1 –|
April 2, 1976
Helter Skelter is a 1976 television 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 cinemas, with additional footage including nudity, language and more violence.
The movie is based on 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 home of victims Rosemary and Leno LaBianca . It recounts the murders Manson committed, the investigation, and the 1970-71 trial, in which prosecutor Vincent 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 Mini-series Teleplay.
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The movie depicts the murder trial of one of the most notorious serial killers of the 1960s, Charles Manson, the crimes he committed in 1969, and the attempt by Los Angeles District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi to convict him.
- George DiCenzo as Vincent Bugliosi
- Steve Railsback as Charles Manson
- Nancy Wolfe as Susan Atkins
- Marilyn Burns as Linda Kasabian
- Christina Hart as Patricia Krenwinkel
- Cathey Paine as Leslie Van Houten
- Alan Oppenheimer as Aaron Stovitz
- Sondra Blake as Ronnie Howard
- Rudy Ramos as Danny DeCarlo
- Jon Gries as William Garretson
- Skip Homeier as Judge Charles H. Older
- Marc Alaimo as Phil Cohen
- Paul Mantee as Sergeant O'Neal
- David Clennon as Harry Jones
- Eileen Dietz as Family Girl
- Carole Ita White as Big Sal
- Larry Pennell as Sergeant White
- Bruce French as Officer Ocher
- Howard Caine as Everett Scoville
- Adam Williams as Terrence Milik
- Jonathan Goldsmith as Hank Charter
- Robert Ito as Drees Darrin
- Bart Braverman as George Brewer
The first part of the film premiered on CBS on Thursday, April 1, 1976 with a Nielsen rating of 35.2 and an audience share of 57%, making it the most watched made-for-TV movie ever surpassing 1972's The Night Stalker. The concluding part aired the following night and had an ever better rating of 37.5 and an audience share of 60%.
The average household share of 36.5 was bettered the following year by Little Ladies of the Night but the 37.5 rating for the concluding part was not bettered by a made-for-TV movie until 1983's The Day After.
Awards and nominations
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1977 Emmy Awards
- Nominated, Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Special (Dramatic Underscore) – Billy Goldenberg
- Nominated, Outstanding Directing in a Special Program - Drama or Comedy – Tom Gries
- Nominated, Outstanding Film Editing for a Special – Byron Brandt, Bud S. Isaacs
Directors Guild of America
- Nominated, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Specials/Movies for TV/Actuality – Daniel Petrie
Edgar Allan Poe Awards
- Won, Best Television Feature or Miniseries – J.P. Miller
- "Hit Movies on U.S. TV Since 1961". Variety. January 24, 1990. p. 160.
- The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. 2003. p. 805. ISBN 0-345-45542-8.
- "Helter Skelter (1976) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Flixer. Retrieved 18 May 2018.