In the series premiere, he orchestrated the most sensational murders of the 20th century, but how much do we really know about Charles Manson and the Family? Helter Skelter goes back to the 1960s to reveal the untold story of the enigmatic cult leader and his band of followers who did his bidding – even when it meant killing nine people in the summer of 1969. His story has become legend, but the truth has yet to be told...
Helter Skelter travels back in time to the desperate early days in Appalachia when Manson was first exposed to prison when his young mother was sent away. Travel along Charles Manson’s sordid journey through reform school, jail and prison as he picks up the tools he will ultimately bring together to commit the most sensational murders of the 20th century.
Fresh out of prison, aspiring musician Charles Manson finds himself in San Francisco during the Summer of Love. There, he uses the tools he learned behind bars to recruit followers to his growing traveling commune. Helter Skelter follows Manson as he takes average teens and young adults and puts them through the change. As he travels from the streets of Haight Ashbury to Los Angeles, partying with A-Listers, producers and rock royalty we see that his seductive message might entice just about anyone in a vulnerable place.
To his followers, Charles Manson is the second coming of Christ, that belief reinforced by subliminal messages he receives through the Beatles’ White Album. But by the summer of 1969, a mythical race war, delusions of stardom, and bad drug deals leave the cult leader struggling to keep his family together. Helter Skelter reveals how, through intense programming, physical abuse, group sex, and tests of death, Manson finally convinces his followers to “do something witchy,” which can only mean one thing.
A desperate Charles Manson escapes with his Family to a desert hideout. There, prison camp-like conditions force two of the girls to make a life-or-death escape attempt. Meanwhile, Los Angeles is paralyzed with fear as the police fumble the investigation. But then Manson unexpectedly helps brings his reign of terror to an end. When a jailhouse confession comes to light, Helter Skelter reveals how the pieces of the puzzle finally come together for the law.
The most sensational trial of the 20th century finds a judge attacked on the bench, a daily circus of interruptions, a missing defense attorney, and a gallery of young girls blindly following Charles Manson in trying to derail the prosecution. Fifty years later, why does the man, his myth, his Family continue to horrify and also fascinate us? Has Manson finally found the attention and fame he so craved? Helter Skelter explores the aftermath of the murders that gripped the world, and why the myth of Charles Manson should cease to exist.
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