There’s no way to deny the influence that Charles Manson had on TV and movies. In fact you can’t even deny how much of an effect he and his brood had on American culture. People had already acclimated to the fact that horror, despair, drama, and all negative aspects of life had some strange pull on them when it came to cinema, but Manson’s story allowed the media to capitalize on it. Before the trial was even over there were movies about Manson and his followers and what they’d done that were out in theaters and larger than life. If you don’t think that’s sick and twisted then I’m not sure what to say. People tend to lean towards whatever will bring the biggest reaction it would seem, and the Manson murders are something that brought out the most opportunistic tendencies in pop culture.
Charles Manson was a very charismatic and somehow magnetic personality. He didn’t have to say much to gain his following and once they’d decided to believe in what he said there was no going back. The murders they committed were absolutely heinous and the media attention it got was at some points ghoulish to such an extreme that one could only stomach the idea of glamorizing such an individual if they were a step away from being crazed themselves. There’s not a lot of good to say about the fact that Manson and his followers were immortalized in film, but the freedom of speech and expression is after all an American right no matter how distasteful it can be at times.
Manson’s level of crazy was unfortunately like candy to the film and TV industry’s, and they ate it up greedily, seeing a chance to pass on something throughout the country to inform and to possibly entertain. The former was a way to obviously to let people know what had happened and to keep them aware of what to look for in their own neighborhoods since paranoia was for many a way of life, and still is. The latter just seems wrong on so many levels that it’s hard to fathom why anyone would think that Manson and his followers would be a fun and engaging story to tell.
Of course misery and tragedy are often part of the media that tends to get a lot of attention since humanity seems to find this entertaining for some odd reason. There are many explanations for why this is so but it is a fact that the Manson murders allowed many film makers and TV shows to jump on the bandwagon and broadcast one show after another and one special after another in order to glamorize and play up this incident to such a degree that Manson became a legend in his own time.
Many outlaws throughout history have been glorified for having done something that was deemed as right and just against someone else. Those individuals have often gone down in history as revolutionaries and famous men and women for the acts they committed. But very few of them have managed to gain the attention that Manson did during his life.