MONDO EXTRAS

Gimme Shelter

by Jacob Clifton May 24, 2004
Helter Skelter

The cult members talk some stoned talk about the Beach Boys, and Dennis Wilson, and how Dennis and Melcher are going to make Charlie a star. It's exactly like being in a creepy room full of drugged-out idiots, so I guess they did their job. They've really found a group of actors who can do a bang-up job of staring blankly into space and wiggling and laughing so softly, so cultishly. They talk about how Melcher should get Doris Day to visit the Movie Ranch so they could get her away from Rock Hudson. It's a certain post-millennial 20/20 hindsight that allows me to say, "Wouldn't be as hard as you think." Although the idea of Doris Day in a cult is pretty awesome. There's a lack of transition that leads us to a talking heads sequence where Charles Manson and Fresh Meat go all Scientologist one-on-one where he convinces her to cast off the negative feelings and patriarchy of her stepfather and husband for the much freer, more flower-childlike option of being one of the bitches in Manson's harem.

It would be cooler if this character had any resistance whatsoever to Manson Family Programming, since the whole point of following this character on her first day in the cult, I would think, would be to make it more understandable or conceivable that someone -- say, you or I -- would jump right into life at the Movie Ranch. Since, unlike Fresh Meat, almost everyone I know has at least some form of a backbone or mental processes, that has failed. To a certain extent it's a bit more effective as it goes on -- he tells her she's special, and not disposable the way her husband made her feel when he ditched her just before the whole "South America" plan. He says that now he is her father and he is her husband and...a huge red flag pops up on screen: "Signs you are in a cult: #3." Then he fucks her, but it's okay because there's been a huge orgy going on this whole time that the camera only now pulls back to reveal. Gross.

Bobby, the cult member from blond guy's house, gets pulled over by a fairly doughy cop for "driving a dead guy's car." Meanwhile, Fresh Meat has fulfilled her first stealing assignment, and hands Charles Manson $5000 that she stole from her husband's friend. He approves, and all the cult members start whooping and yipping. His hands are waving in the air, he's the maestro to their mob mentality, as they sing-song that it wasn't actually stealing because "Everything belongs to everybody." I love lame cult catch-phrases, don't you? I also love lame cult sing-song voices. It really gives that cult-like edge to things when you say everything that way. He kisses her and everybody yelps some more and there is some "Woo!" These people. Then all the identical hippies gather around Fresh Meat and I guess they...yeah, there's another orgy.

A cult chick who's not unlike Angela Bettis in May or River Tam from Firefly wakes Fresh Meat up in the pile of bodies to go on a joyride with Charles Manson. They are all wearing black outfits, so you know it's Top Secret. There's some amazingly anachronistic Marc Snow music playing as they let themselves into a big house and then for some reason all start crawling around the house on their hands and knees. That's sneakier, I guess. The Manson Family calls this type of action a Creepy-Crawler. Purpose unknown. Seriously, though, the music. I don't want to get into a whole thing, but I do want to say that it's ridiculous. This is the first time it's been so aggro, but right now there are digitally-modulated electric guitars and some jungle beats happening, okay? It's like watching Alias, just without the people ever bathing. So they move the furniture around in this house, and make the paintings on the walls hang wrong, and put chairs on top of tables, and I don't get it. And then they go into the bedroom and steal some things and with the music and the fast cutaway editing it's very much like a whole different movie for a bit.

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Gimme Shelter

by Jacob Clifton May 24, 2004
Helter Skelter Faerie Queen explains that Fresh Meat just showed up today at the cult, and Charles Manson stops to ask some pointed questions, like why she came to join the cult. She explains that her husband left her and Tanya, and that their latest plan had been to "go to South America." You'd think there would be more to the plan, but...this is the kind of person that joins cults, after all. Charles Manson is like, "Where ya been living?" (I think -- he's very good, again, at being Charles Manson) and I yell, "North America!" Charles Manson "jokes" that maybe she came to California looking for Jesus, and everyone laughs uproariously. I hope they explain why that's funny. There are word noises to the effect that he would like for Fresh Meat to steal some things based on what her heart tells her to steal. Topping Charles Manson's list of Favorite Things: "Dollar bills, and cars, and candy." The cult members talk some stoned talk about the Beach Boys, and Dennis Wilson, and how Dennis and Melcher are going to make Charlie a star. It's exactly like being in a creepy room full of drugged-out idiots, so I guess they did their job. They've really found a group of actors who can do a bang-up job of staring blankly into space and wiggling and laughing so softly, so cultishly. They talk about how Melcher should get Doris Day to visit the Movie Ranch so they could get her away from Rock Hudson. It's a certain post-millennial 20/20 hindsight that allows me to say, "Wouldn't be as hard as you think." Although the idea of Doris Day in a cult is pretty awesome. There's a lack of transition that leads us to a talking heads sequence where Charles Manson and Fresh Meat go all Scientologist one-on-one where he convinces her to cast off the negative feelings and patriarchy of her stepfather and husband for the much freer, more flower-childlike option of being one of the bitches in Manson's harem. It would be cooler if this character had any resistance whatsoever to Manson Family Programming, since the whole point of following this character on her first day in the cult, I would think, would be to make it more understandable or conceivable that someone -- say, you or I -- would jump right into life at the Movie Ranch. Since, unlike Fresh Meat, almost everyone I know has at least some form of a backbone or mental processes, that has failed. To a certain extent it's a bit more effective as it goes on -- he tells her she's special, and not disposable the way her husband made her feel when he ditched her just before the whole "South America" plan. He says that now he is her father and he is her husband and...a huge red flag pops up on screen: "Signs you are in a cult: #3." Then he fucks her, but it's okay because there's been a huge orgy going on this whole time that the camera only now pulls back to reveal. Gross.

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