Pop Rocks: Charles on Film -- Manson Through the Years

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

There are a handful of sure things in life: the other line at the toll booth moving faster, a dog's undying loyalty and the fact that Charles Manson will never ever get paroled:

After 11 failed bids for freedom, notorious killer Charles Manson, now 77, is up for parole later this month.

The parole board rejected his bid in 2007, saying Manson "continues to pose an unreasonable danger to others and may still bring harm to anyone he would come in contact with."

Manson refused to participate in that hearing, describing himself as a "prisoner of the political system." He also declined to participate in any psychological evaluations in 2007.

That'll show 'em.

Manson's crimes were indeed horrific, and yet his famously demented interviews and excellent beard have made him fodder for popular culture like no other mass murderer. So to commemorate his imminent not-release, here are five of Manson's more memorable pop culture doppelgangers.

Of course, these are all from TV movies. He is a murderer, after all.

Bob Odenkirk -- The Ben Stiller Show (1992) One thing you'll notice when (if) you rewatch this short-lived sketch comedy series is how terribly unfunny Stiller actually is. The biggest laughs come from Janeane Garofalo, Andy Dick (I know, right?) and the criminally underappreciated Odenkirk. After watching this, go purchase all four seasons of Mr. Show with Bob and David and declare your house the Republic of New Freeland.

Steve Railsback -- Helter Skelter (1976) Manson's speech at the Tate/LaBianca murder trial is probably offered in first-year criminal law courses as a primary example of why you should never let your client testify on his own behalf.

Trey Parker -- South Park (1998) Everyone tends to do the same voice when they play Manson, and it's not necessarily his. It's close, but those portraying him always have to kick it up a notch, as if saying Manson was crazy. Well, let me tell you something: I've learned from watching a bunch of Manson clips (aside from a strange desire to listen to The White Album) that YOU'RE the ones who are crazy, and it's high time you start taking a deeper look at YOURSELVES, and judging the LIE you live in.

I think I need a nap.

Michael Reid MacKay -- Summer Dreams: The Story of the Beach Boys (1990) Dennis Wilson's (and the Beach Boys') involvement with Manson is well-documented, which just goes to prove even rock stars can be prone to acts of questionable judgment. Charlie's appearance is at about the three-minute mark in the clip. I tell you that because you may have a hard time distinguishing him from the fake bearded Brian Wilson (Greg Kean) later on.

Jeremy Davies -- Helter Skelter (2004) What the...? They made *two* versions of Vincent Bugliosi's Manson trial book? You know, I'm against remakes as a matter of course, but if the recent news is true that a sizable number of people were unaware the Titanic was an actual boat that actually sank, maybe it's a good idea to make a new version every 30 years or so just to ensure more legions of Americans don't make idiots of themselves on Twitter.

Oh, and Davies also played the weaselly Upham in Saving Private Ryan. That guy was like the proto-Manson.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.