The MANSON Media Collection which includes the book “Death to Pigs” the 1973 MANSON on DVD and “Inside the MANSON Gang” on DVD
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Pros: Actual footage of the Manson Gang right after the murders.
Cons: Set not intended for newcomers to the case.
Note this is an actual description of THE MANSON MEDIA COLLECTION, which is what my review centers around. and in no way shape or form do I plagiarise the authors work in anyway. I do not attempt to nor am I capable of trying to explain the authors extensive research. and unique interpretations depicted in his films or presented in his written work The information provided in my review is based on my own personal experience with the DVD documentaries “Manson”, “Inside The Manson Gang” and with the book “Death to Pigs”. Additional notes and links to the official website that is Hendrickson’s can be found at the bottom of this review!
This review is about the Manson media collection and its contents and purposes only. This limited release is meant to be used as a supplement. This limited release has been buried in a vault for over 40 years and is now available only to specific individuals. Distribution and authorization of the DVDS is exclusively determined by the author and only for a limited time. And when I say limited edition I mean limited..1 of the three products..INSIDE THE MANSON GANG is already unavailable!
I like the fact that this obscurity adds to the collectability of the items. However my impression is that only a few specific individuals will actually buy this… so demand has to be extremely low here and it is my observation that unless you are already a super fan of this CASE and had time to familiarize yourself with the vast amount of elements connected to and concerning all the people involved…don’t even waste your time here…Although I like this and find it rather refreshing because it reexamines an old and tired history and breathes new life back into it… to anyone else you’re going to be greatly unsatisfied and extremely disappointed..this is for serious fans and collectors only!
This collection set has nothing to do with investigating whether or not Manson and his gang are guilty of murder. All were decided guilty in a court of law. Rather this set serves as a recorded account of the treacherous business and corruption of none other than our current United States Judicial System.
Robert Hendrickson’s first film was released in 1973 at select theatres receiving mixed ratings and reviews. The only available versions were limited and on VHS tapes .most of these being unauthorized bootlegs that had horrible picture quality and sound. In 2004 MANSON was officially re-released and digitally restored by the director. His second movie was released straight to DVD 2007. The book entitled Death to Pigs in 2011.
Manson and The Manson Gang documentaries isn’t so much about the murders as it is about the people involved with the killings and others involved with those killers..this is about a lifestyle lived, a mindset shared, and the repercussions of living so free that nothing is off limits, no boundaries to stop these people from doing anything they wanted to do. All types of crimes …if you can think a crime up in your head this group committed them.
No real depiction or graphic descriptions about the murders is really here and it’s not needed..being able to see these people in the height of their madness is fascinating and hearing them speak, watching how they lived, and understanding the way they think is downright chilling, I mean I want to know what makes people like this tick by listening to them explain it..since the ranch burned to the ground only a few years after the arrests means finding actual video and sound of the Manson gang in their natural habitat is extremely rare and this is what makes Hendrickson’s work unique .
The book has the actual transcripts of all the interviews that were conducted during filming and ended up in the movie including the interviews that were cut. The book relies very heavily upon Hendrickson’s role as a film maker as well as what he personally experienced while making the documentary. A variety of interesting elements surround the Manson Case and just as many odd connections from a wide variety of differing paradoxes and historical irony is staggering.
I don’t need to see or hear about those murdered to enjoy this book…the most interesting facts of the Manson case are about the Manson Family and ultimately Charles Manson himself. We already know about the murders and we’ve seen the crime scene photos that seem to be the center piece of every Manson documentary out there. Very little info about who the family was and how they lived.
Hendrickson makes some excellent points that really make you think..for example the killers used their victim’s blood to write messages on the walls and various objects at the crime scene..specifically “Pig” “Death to Pigs” and “Political Piggy”. Also introduced as part of the prosecution’s case was a Beatles song “Piggies” (again referring to the establishment and therefore relating to the media Hollywood .involvement…) since Sharon Tate was an actress and her husband was a film maker and because of the prosecutions intent focus on the words “Helter Skelter” Bugliosi’s natural instinct was to conclude..that the words written in blood referenced the victims themselves and their now mutilated bodies were the actual message intended…
Hendrickson states that the words Death To Pigs and Pigs were meant to warn and intimidate the police…who would ultimately be among the first at the crime scene. The word “Pig” written on the door was put there as a macabre greeting to the cops..aka pigs… ..since Manson and his family, (just previous to the killings) ,had been harassed, raided and arrested by the police on more than one occasion and were covering up the tracks they left (at an unrelated murder) by trying to get the police to think the black Muslims did the crimes. By making a black panther paw on the wall in blood next to the words “political piggy”…then pig on the door at Sharon Tate’s house the reference here is that pig meant cops which is the title of the book.
I’d have to say that the author’s biggest gripe seems to be with Vincent Bugliosi’s “Helter Sketler” motive.. considerable time is spent on this that not only throws in reputable doubt that Bugliosi lied both on the stand by inventing a motive that would not only secure him a healthy win over the case and prosecution…but his insatiable desire to convict Manson at all costs… and by any means necessary….. including write and close the book on one of the most sensationalized crimes and trials of the 20th century. According to Hendrickson.. Vincent Bugliosi described the case as being so fantastically vast in magnitude that fully understanding all the variables was like peeling an onion with each layer revealing more and more complexity and unusual. coincidences.
The prosecution’s case was indeed pretty cut and dry; Manson used powerful hallucinogenic drugs and repetitive mind control/programming on his followers and convinced them to kill for him and then send a message to the establishment..i.e. elite Hollywood actors and law enforcement officials..by decoding a prophesy from a Beatles album..the song Piggies is about such established order..and by killing these specific individuals to spark a race war that would essentially be “Armageddon” and the annihilation of the white establishment…
Manson is an American icon of everything that is perceived as evil in our society. If you haven’t already tried to find out as much truth as you can as to what, why, and how something like this happened… If you haven’t read prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s crime novel Helter Skelter or watched the movie of the same name this set is not for newcomers inexperienced with the intricacies of the case I have watched all I could find concerning Manson on the internet including just about every Charles Manson documentary and interviews, listened to interviews from the killers , listened to audio tapes of Manson talking to people on the phone. I have watched the many parole hearings of Manson and that of those who were also convicted of the murders. I have. listened to the Beatles “White” album looking for “clues” (as Hendrickson describes it) and connecting it somehow to the Manson case or disconnecting it from the case..
The Manson Media Collection has such persons in mind in considering presenting evidence, historical truths, accurate information, and documented facts. Unfortunately the Manson Gang was never allowed to testify in court to explain their versions of what they think really happened. It’s important to point out that this set release is told and explained by a journalist, a documentary film maker, writer, and producer but specifically the Manson Gang.
According to Hendrickson..his 1973 Manson movie was unfairly banned and it was banned against the US constitutions put in place to protect freedom of speech. His movie was disregarded and forbidden in a ruling by a judge..to continue playing during the trials for fear of affecting the decisions of the jury. That went against the legal constitutional rights that exist as the law… also the fact that the judge super exceeded the law by silencing Manson from testifying and depriving him of his legal right to legally represent himself to put on his defense…. one of the more prominent themes from Mr. Hendrickson’s book is the corruption and crimes that are committed by those of law enforcement…and it’s clear he thinks that they (the police) and prosecutor Bugliosi is by all intents and purposes, self serving and ultimately full of shit …
(Lol..I find this undertone to be quite humorous in nature but also because quite possibly the information provided by the author here also makes perfect sense.)
Naturally in light of these facts the treatment of Manson by the prison guards and later by the police..Manson builds up quite a hate and disgust for law enforcement as well as by that of the United States Government….at the time of the Tate killings..it was decided to be a revenge killing /cover up to throw police off the track (concerning another murder that took place shortly before the Tate murders…) the general consensus among everyone involved in the Manson gang..was the intended target was to be Beach Boys producer Terry Melcher..with constant raids to the Spahn Ranch, and continued harassment by police, there was also a building paranoia about retaliation from the Black Panther militant group.
Personally, because of my extended interest with the Manson case and having exhausted the possibility of discovering new information by researching everything online, you eventually run into a dead end..and are left to make up your own judgments…(gets old real fast…) and most of all the information available is written according to Bugliosi and with-out-a-doubt is factually misleading , fabricated and decidedly one-sided.
My overall impression and extended review:
A lot of effort is put into this book to try and make it more intricate..by combining..multiple layers and writing techniques….this is one part movie script, one part interview, one part transcripts from the documentary, one part conspiracy theory, and one part the authors personal life as a filmmaker… Luckily I have an interest in how films are made and understand its importance on how these elements impacted the films content.
Otherwise I can see most people becoming annoyed and uninterested in how details like changing the video reel and getting the perfect angle etc…to be over descriptive , unnecessary, and downright boring as hell. Another issue I can see non-fans getting disappointed about is that the book looks like it will be loaded with lots of photographs, (I actually expected full color photographs to be strewn throughout its pages myself upon ordering.) the book has little to no photos at all..
Although there are dozens of black and white photos of the Manson family members and key witnesses they are added to provide faces with the names. No new or uncut photographs of the victims are included in this book. Hendrickson explains that the reason for this is because the two films actually serve as the books pictures.
Whether this is just a good excuse for Hendrickson to save money by going the cheap way out is more likely the reason for absence of photography, but because Hendrickson is so good at excusing these shortcomings I quickly felt like it was for the best the book turned out like it did..
I actually watched the two DVDs and tried following along with the book…it syncs up perfectly….but instead of just being a copy of dialogue in the movie…the book also reveals additional information upon each segment used from the film as well as lots of additional segments that are unrelated to the films contents.
However as I stated earlier..these aspects about the case like crime scene photos are no longer interesting or exciting to super fans..we have seen those hundreds and hundreds of times already since the first time we heard about Manson and Helter Skelter… I didn’t buy this media collection to just rehash what I know and learned about the case already…whats the fun in that? I bought the set to hopefully find newly discovered evidence that provides additional insight on what the truth is behind what actually happened and why.
This media collection provides just the sort of complexity that makes this case interesting in a whole new way… I actually feel like because of this release I now am able to formulate a more accurate conclusion as to what I think actually happened now having heard both sides to the story.
I think to gain full appreciation for what Hendrickson has assembled for us to examine in the book “DEATH TO PIGS” is having the two documentary films as a set together. Since the book was first published in 2011 more than 50 years after the Crime and Trial of the 20th century first gained international exposure, a lot has changed amongst our society. Many of the beliefs shared by the family concerning a world in revolution and war hasn’t really improved much historically and the US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is just like the Vietnam conflict and protests of the 1960’s albeit in a different geographical location.
Hendrickson insists that the US and its media presents itself to the American people that they are there to fight against terrorism..yet the mass majority of middle easterners insist it’s just merely “US occupation” disguised as a fight against terrorism. I imagine that the events of 911 having just happened at the time publication of his book was ready, weighed heavily on the authors mind and it serves as the backdrop he uses to describe massive cover-ups by the US military and how the perceptions of the citizens of America is a result of extensive mind control programming our Government agencies have been using and implementing for hundreds of years.
He provides specific techniques that are being used and how to defend against it. Considering some of the current events of white police officers killing innocent minority’s that have flooded the news lately and how these events have sparked a great deal of anger once again at our law enforcement officers., we once again see the “Death To Pigs” concept of the Manson Gang by the heinous crimes committed by the police and sheds new light upon the “revolution” ideas that Manson and his gang insisted was going on more than 50 years ago. As we witness it taking place right before our very eyes. It is these circumstances surrounding us that made the Manson Crime and Trial so interesting to begin with and this is why the Manson case has remained the most sensational and iconic true-crime account in the annals of American History.
Review Conclusion and Final Thoughts:
I really like the overall personality that is presented by the Author/Director, in his commentary included on the films but particularly of that which is projected by his writing style in his book Death To Pigs. He seems incredibly intelligent and exceptionally down to earth and yet again at times he comes off as being rather eccentric with his preoccupation of presenting the reader with several of his own brand of conspiracy theories. I didn’t feel like I was being forced fed and manipulated to believe him or not. Hendrickson only points out and presents to you possible motives that stand in direct contradiction to Vincent Bugliosi and his book Helter Skelter…even though it is apparent within his writings that he concedes himself to be anti.Bugliosi and refers to him in a way that makes them sound like arch rivals.
After investigating the information provided through-out the book..it became clear why Hendrickson, dislikes Bugliosi…Hendrickson states that while the prosecution was scrambling to find any information they could about the Manson gang…He was already on location filming the family in person… according to multiple descriptions throughout the book…it is learned that while filming wrapped up at the Barker ranch, it was obvious he was playing with fire. After experiencing ,on a hot day, a smell that was so foul it had to be a dead body …in fear for his life he and his co producer fled Barker ranch in a panicked hurry…lucky to have completed his documentary and glad to get out alive…it was suggested by an attorney that he should contact Bugliosi and discuss with him the evidence collected in interviews of the notorious Manson gang and their accounts about their approval of acts as incomprehensible as murder.
Sadly Hendrickson got word from Bugliosi that he had no interest in viewing his film nor did he have any desire to discuss with him anything involving the case. Well no wonder he thinks Bugliosi as a low life…the guy is not only ungrateful for Hendrickson’s ability to help but he’s an arrogant asshole. A belligerent self righteous prick! A prime example of the kinds of people our judicial system has deciding the ultimate fate of peoples lives and the authority to violate their rights and even kill them unjustly. And get away with it.
Hendrickson never blatantly insults Bugliosi outright…in fact the mass majority of the time he simply refers to him in the third person..for example..he refers to Bugliosi as just “a certain prosecutor” or as the “lead prosecutor involved with the case”..which in a sense says more about the authors true feelings about his role in the case… Hendrickson by this time had already completed his 1973 MANSON film and was later nominated for an academy award…unfortunately it’s all about who reaches the market first who makes the bigger impact. What is presented as the absolute truth to the public which was no other than Bugliosi’s hit true crime novel HELTER SKELTER
It would seem that had Hendricks film been allowed to play during the trials, its commercial success would have been massively improved. This would be a filmmakers shot at becoming a noteworthy contender in the movie business as a director. I get the sense that because of the extenuating circumstances Hendrickson’s real potential to make it big was taken from him by a judge who made rulings that were later decided by a team of legal consultants to be unconstitutional and therefore illegal. Had he knew that at the time…he would have been able to distribute his film as he intended it to be.
Hendrickson’s bad luck situation and Manson movie is now what is left.. a once struggling independent filmmaker with dreams of making it big stolen away from him by a corrupt judicial system and significant role as part of the “establishment”.. However perhaps now with the completion of his book and re-release of his 1973 MANSON FILM and recently released subsequent companion film INSIDE THE MANSON GANG…He has successfully proved himself on the hardcore Manson enthusiast as reputable and honest expert. There is no need to take HIS word for anything…because the footage will show… it isn’t about what he thinks…the evidence presented is coming straight from the horses mouths…the only people in the world who actually know the truth, The people who were there . THE MANSON FAMILY GANG.
Additional Notes and Interesting product info::
This set was signed by the filmmaker Robert Hendrickson….and personally issued to me, with my name hand printed right on the DVD cover. I actually saw the 1973 Manson documentary before it was removed from youtube…and was quite surprised. The book is over 540 pages.
Shot in 1970-71 the production of this film is actually mentioned in Vincent Bugliosi’s true crime classic “Helter Skelter”. Hendrickson and crew caught the Manson family at the height of its madness in the wake of the Tate/LaBianca/Hinman murders and Manson’s subsequent arrest
.Shot on location at Spahn Ranch and featuring extensive interviews with key “family” members such as Squeaky Fromme, Sandra Good, Bruce Davis & Steve ‘Clem’ Grogan as well as Manson prosecutor Bugliosi himself and ex-family members Paul Watkins and Brooks Poston.