Manson, My Name Is Evil (2009)

Manson, My Name Is Evil (2009)
aka Leslie, My Name is Evil
Director: Reginald Harkema
Writer: Reginald Harkema
Cast: Kristen Hager, Gregory Smith, Ryan Robbins
Charles Manson's lust for blood left not only a trail of victims across Los Angeles, but also his minion's lives shattered. Leslie, a former cheerleader and prom queen, is one such follower of the serial killer. During her murder trial, one of the jury members, Perry, a sheltered chemical engineer, finds himself falling in love with the dangerous woman charged.
Pseudo biographical drama about Charles Manson family member Leslie Van Houten. Whom in 1969 was involved in a second night of murders involving Mansons LSD crazed family. The film is more about Leslies side of the trail and how she captivated a boyish Christian juror called Perry. Well made in parts but shockingly cheap in others (namely the cheap tactic of cutting to stock footage, must count towards 20% of the film). The film centers almost entirely on the lives of Leslie & Perry with Manson and his fellow hippy freaks becoming almost a sideshow. Reginald Harkema does far too much over handed direction with the infamous events (subtle this is not), and for a man who started in editing you'd expect a better job with those already mentioned roughly interlaced stock footage moments. The story is supposedly more fantasy then reality but settles down once the trail section begins (well other than an unnecessary dream sequence involving Perry having a dream about killing his girl/future wife and then having bloodied sex with Leslie). Acting is probably the films best feature Ryan Robbins is fine in what moments Charlie is onscreen as are the female family members, Gregory Smith is good as the innocent Perry and the very attractive Kristen Hager is well cast as Leslie. Ironically the reason I watched this was because king of low grade shock cinema John Waters condemned this film as a cheap tactic and misleading, due in most part to his friendship with the still incarcerated Van Houten. I'll be honest I was spellbound with Hagers performance (damn how much better does a bad film feel with good eye candy) sadly though other than a few moments of nudity this feels like a made for TV real life crime drama (the kind Hallmark screen at the weekends usually after their illness of the week film)
(6 out of 10)

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