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Helter Skelter 

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | TV Mini-Series (1976)
2:48 | Trailer

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The investigation and trial of the horrific Tate-LaBianca mass murders orchestrated by the psychotic pseudo-hippie cult leader, Charles Manson.
1,487 ( 111)




Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete series cast summary:
George DiCenzo ...  Vincent Bugliosi 2 episodes, 1976
Steve Railsback ...  Charles Manson 2 episodes, 1976
Nancy Wolfe ...  Susan Atkins 2 episodes, 1976
Marilyn Burns ...  Linda Kasabian 2 episodes, 1976
Christina Hart ...  Patricia Krenwinkel 2 episodes, 1976
Cathey Paine Cathey Paine ...  Leslie Van Houten 2 episodes, 1976
Alan Oppenheimer ...  Aaron Stovitz 2 episodes, 1976
Vic Werber Vic Werber ...  Lt. Brenner 2 episodes, 1976
Marc Alaimo ...  Phil Cohen 2 episodes, 1976
Bill Durkin Bill Durkin ...  Tex Watson 2 episodes, 1976
Phillip R. Allen ...  Sgt. Manuel Gris 2 episodes, 1976
David Clennon ...  Harry Jones 2 episodes, 1976
James Brodhead James Brodhead ...  Mr. Quint 2 episodes, 1976
Linden Chiles ...  J. Miller Leavy 2 episodes, 1976
Larry Pennell ...  Sgt. White 2 episodes, 1976
Steve Gries Steve Gries ...  Steve 'Clem' Grogan 2 episodes, 1976
Anne Newman Bacal Anne Newman Bacal ...  Mrs. Quint 2 episodes, 1976


Chilling story of the investigation and trial of Charles Manson, leader of a strange cult which under his direction and 'control' committed numerous murders. Written by Jerry Milani <jmilani@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Whisper it like a curse! See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 April 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Massacre in Hollywood See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lorimar Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(original broadcast) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to a Los Angeles Herald-Examiner TV Weekly article published the week of June 6-12, 1976, the two-part, two-night series aired on various CBS affiliates April 1 and 2, 1976. Due to the subject matter, some markets either preempted showing the film altogether or delayed airing the film into the late night time slots of 11:30 PM.

In the case of Los Angeles CBS owned-and-operated KNXT-TV (now KCBS-TV), "Helter Skelter" aired June 10 and 11, 1976. The reason given for the delay was Vincent Bugliosi, author of the book and the prosecuting attorney in the Tate-LaBianca murder trial, was running for office as Los Angeles County District Attorney. Due to the 1975 death of Joseph P. Busch Jr., a special election was held on June 8, 1976. Bugliosi lost the race to incumbent interim District Attorney John Van de Kamp. See more »


The rope used as evidence in the courtroom is made of yellow hemp, but moments later, in the flashback scenes, it is made of white cotton fiber. See more »


Vincent Bugliosi: Boots is no longer with us.
Danny DeCarlo: What do you mean, Boots is no longer with us?
Vincent Bugliosi: He's among the dead. He shot himself the other night, playing Russian Roulette.
Danny DeCarlo: Oh, terrific. Who was with him?
Vincent Bugliosi: Cisco Budge.
Danny DeCarlo: Cisco Budge. That's it. I ain't talking no more. I'm riding out of here on the wind, mister.
Vincent Bugliosi: There are a couple of warrants outstanding against you, Danny. I don't think you'd feel very safe in prison. That's where Charlie is.
Danny DeCarlo: [slight pause] That sure is cold, man.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Shorty Shea's response to Charles Manson's comment, "It ain't nice to snitch, Shorty!" differs between the two-part miniseries and the home video release. In the two-part miniseries, Shorty says "Horse manure!". In the home video release, he says "Go fuck yourself, Charlie!". See more »


Referenced in Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except (1985) See more »


Garbage Dump
Written by Charles Manson
Performed by Steve Railsback
See more »

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User Reviews

The best made for TV movie ever
21 October 2006 | by mrushSee all my reviews

This movie tells the story of the Tate-LaBianca murders in Los Angeles in August 1969 of 7 people by Charles Manson and his "family".Sharon Tate and 6 other people were horribly slaughtered in two nights of senseless killing by Manson and some of his devotees.Much of the movie deals with the prosecutor,Vincent Bugliosi,and his courtroom quest to convict the heartless butchers.Bugliosi also wrote the definitive book about the killings that you should also be sure to read.It will scare you like no work of fiction ever could.

Steve Railsback plays Manson,no,Railsback BECOMES Manson in this film.Railsback is perfect in every way in his portrayal of Manson.He has the voice and mannerisms down and it would be hard for a casual viewer to tell the difference between clips of Manson and Railsback,he is that good.Marylin Burns plays Linda Kasabian,one of the family members.But she will forever be best known for playing screaming Sally Hardesty in the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre".

Being a TV movie of course the gore is pretty tame but even without the graphic gore this movie still makes the horror and awfulness of these murders crystal clear.Railsback shows you the inside of Manson's mind and that is a twisted nasty grubby little thing.Despite attempts by some rock bands and others to make Manson seem cool he is nothing but a runty little sadistic loser who continues to show no remorse to this day.He will end his senseless little life locked up like the slobbering animal he is.

This movie is even better than other later movies made for theater release.It is pretty much faithful to Bugliosi's book and trial transcripts and gives you the best film account of the murders that set Los Angeles and the nation on edge and ended the 1960's with a big bloody

exclamation point.

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