MONDO EXTRAS

Gimme Shelter

by Jacob Clifton May 24, 2004
Helter Skelter

He again makes the point that Manson is about 90 percent incapable of serving as his own or anyone else's lawyer, dentist, shoeshine technician, or paperweight. This pushes Charles Manson over the edge and he in quick succession he offers to cut off the judge's head, begs for death right this very second, declares that the judge seems to think Manson is on trial, and explains that it's actually the court that is on trial, and is additionally "out of order" and "out of God." Someone finally tries to take him into custody and there's loud culty yelling-talking-singing crazy behavior from the Family, with lots of google-eyed staring and smiling. Outside, Bugsy's still all stressed, because even though they've established motive and the connection to Helter Skelter, Bugsy's still screwed, since Sadie is recanting.

This movie is actually lots of little movies strung together, like Vanity Fair or Until the End of the World. You keep thinking that's the whole story and wondering how they'll fill the rest of the time. So you remember the main character from the first part? Fresh Meat? She's not doing so well, in jail. Her hair's been washed, though, so...baby steps. She finds it hard to maintain focus talking to her lawyer, and really wants to tell what she knows, even though the lawyer is telling her to let it ride until they offer her a deal. He explains, in a way that makes me think it's not the first time, that since she didn't actually hurt anyone, and since Sadie's turned back to the cult and taken her testimony with her, total immunity is not out of the question, but if she doesn't play this right, she could end up with a death sentence. You'd really only have to tell me that once to make me button my lip and sit it out, but I'm not that cult-susceptible, I don't think. Does the Buffy thing count?

One assumes that the lawyer set something up, because in the next scene Bugsy is taking Fresh Meat to the Tate house to get her side of the story. She cries when she sees the Doberman guard dogs, because she wishes they had been there that night. Then she immediately gives birth with hardly a transition to the hospital. They take her baby away first thing, and then the lady from L.A. Law tells Fresh Meat that her new son will not be tainted by the whole cult-jail-crazy thing, and he'll be outside, pure and waiting for her. I bet L.A. Law lady is going to put so much ego in him.

Charles Manson is hanging out in his cell with that stupid "X" carved into his head. I'm so sure, Charles Manson. Although when I was little, I remember that I found this to be the chilling part, because I didn't understand about murder or court cases or cults, but I did know that looked like it frigging hurt. It's because, he explains to Bugsy, he has "x"-ed himself from the straight world and into the pure world of his mind. He leads Bugsy to the somewhat valid point that these kids clearly must have been at least a little screwed up before they ever met Charles Manson, and then lies that he never told them to kill anybody.

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Gimme Shelter

by Jacob Clifton May 24, 2004
Helter Skelter All this awesome publicity about Charles Manson has resulted in "half a dozen kids a day" showing up at the Movie Ranch to join. Too bad your administrative and project management departments are all in jail and crazy, but that doesn't stop most Fortune 500 companies, I guess. Bugsy reads out a meaningless list of things for no reason, but we do learn that Katie was a member of the Audubon Society, so maybe it's best she joined a cult rather than trying to have a rich and active social life all on her own. The cops and DA are amazed that kids whose accomplishments include "Campfire Girl," "Homecoming Princess," and "sang in church choir" could have possibly ended up stabbing a bunch of people "with knives and forks" (Hee! They totally did, we saw it in a flashback!) 169 times. The cop guy, again, thinks it's drugs, and he's partially right. But he doesn't care about that, because he doesn't need to prove motive. Except they do, because Manson was not present at the murders and thus will get off on the previously-mentioned fires and dune buggies charge and get reasonable doubt for his part in the murders. They discuss everything that's happened throughout the movie, including the fact that "Helter Skelter" was misspelled on the refrigerator: "We're not talking about Rhodes Scholars, here." Heh. Basically, Bugsy thinks that if they can tie Manson in to the "Helter Skelter" idea, and then connect that to the words written at the crime scene, "that's the same as finding his fingerprints." Except, I would add, one thousand times easier to appeal. Joey explains to this very ambitious DA that Charles Manson "got all his beliefs from two places: The Bible, and the Beatles." Both of which are partially written by guys named John who seemed to be on prodigious amounts of drugs -- connection? Director-screenwriter John Gray, I'm looking right at you. So the Beatles are actually talking to Charles Manson through their songs. Interesting. Even more interesting is that the Beatles song "Revolution #9" has directed Manson to the Book of Revelations, Chapter Nine, which refers to "four angels" whose faces "were as the faces of men" and their hair "as the hair of women" -- and we're back to the Beatles again! Dude, this guy is nuts and everything, but that is nuts! The angels' "breastplates of iron" are Bible code for electric guitars? I am not making this up, because I could not make this up, because I am not a total lunatic. There's lots more of this "The Bible says Kill Whitey" stuff and it's boring and everybody knows it basically, so I'll skip to the cop asking Joey how it's possible that grown-up people or even children would buy such a patent line of crazy bullshit. Which is the ultimate question which it always comes down with cults, for most people, I guess: How the fuck did you fall for this? What's going on with you, that you didn't just adjust your headset and keep walking? How come none of this is fishy to you?

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