Over 50 years have passed since Charles Manson and his cultishly devoted followers committed their horrific crimes, and yet, the public remains truly in the dark about The Manson Family and their journey into the abyss. How can one story be so well known, so legendary, and yet so little understood?
What Ms. Chilcott intends, and achieves, is a careful, meticulous assembling of background that sidesteps the sensationalism that usually attaches itself to the case and gets in the way of what it all was and how it happened. And maybe even why.
The six-part Helter Skelter: An American Myth is the most comprehensive documentary on Charles Manson and his pathological family, the most thorough, and the most fascinating. It's excellent journalism and great television.
The project mostly rehashes what's already known, while largely whiffing in its attempt to convey the lingering impact of the murders or explain the enduring fascination with them more than 50 years later.