Some say the 60s truly died the night the “Manson Family” brutally murdered Sharon Tate, who was pregnant at the time, along with four other people in the actress’s California home. Now, the trailer for upcoming horror-thriller Charlie Says promises to take audiences back to the summer of ‘69, offering “a provocative new perspective on one of the most notorious crimes of the 20th century.”
In this retelling of the Charles Manson story, Matt Smith (Doctor Who) stars as the infamous cult leader, with Chace Crawford (The Covenant) playing his right-hand man, Tex Watson. But unlike many Manson films, the focus of Charlie Says is not Manson himself, but the young women he had under his spell: Leslie Van Houten (Hannah Murray), Patricia Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon), and Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendón). Years after the murders, empathetic graduate student Karlene Faith (played by The Walking Dead’s Merritt Wever) visits these women in prison, only to find that they’re still in Manson’s clutches. Or maybe they’re just not ready to confront the things they’ve done…
Charlie Says is directed by Mary Harron, the writer and director of American Psycho, and was penned by her American Psycho co-writer, Guinevere Turner. The film is based on two books about the Manson Family, one of which—The Long Prison Journey of Leslie van Houten: Life Beyond The Cult—was written by the real-life Karlene Faith. The other source is The Family, Ed Sanders’ controversial 1971 profile of the cult group.
IFC have revealed the first trailer for Charlie Says (below), which will get a limited theatrical release on May 10. The film is just one of three (and counting) 2019 releases that features Manson and the Family’s murders, the others being The Haunting of Sharon Tate and Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Following Manson’s death in 2017, it seems some silent moratorium on the subject has been lifted (not that we’ve ever been short of Manson films).
Hopefully, Harron’s film will truly deliver on the new perspective it promises.
Words: Samantha McLaren (@themeatispeople)