(CBS Local)– It’s been almost 50 years since nine people were murdered by the Manson Family.
While many documentaries and movies have been made about Charles Manson and his cult, no one has ever focused on the women of the Manson Family. Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner did just that in their new movie “Charlie Says.” The movie tells the story of how Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Susan Atkins came to be members of the cult and why they still remained under the spell of Manson years later in prison.READ MORE: FDA Clears Johnson & Johnson's Single-Dose COVID-19 Vaccine for Immediate Use
“I was a young teenager in the late 1960s and I was very affected by that story,” said Harron in an interview with CBS Local. “It was apart of the consciousness of anyone that was alive at that time. The trauma of seeing these young innocent hippie girls involved in gruesome murders and the shock of how and why that happened is something we’re still processing. They were vulnerable human beings that ended up in monstrous place.”
The film was deeply personal for Turner because she spent the first 11 years of her life in a cult.
“When the producers approached me to write the story of the Manson girls I said I have another layer to bring to this,” said Turner. “My own upbringing was not entirely like the Manson Family, but had a lot of similarities. I feel like I brought a lot of that texture to the movie.”READ MORE: Sacramento Doctor Appears in Virtual Traffic Court While Performing Surgery
This is the third movie Harron and Turner have done together and the two have been friends for over 20 years. The filmmakers were particularly interested in the years after Houten, Krenwinkel and Atkins were sent to prison.
“Three years after the trials, the women were kept in isolation units and they’re still living in the life of the ranch,” said Harron. “They still believe everything Charlie said and it took an outside visitor that we dramatized to try and breakdown their brainwashing and ideology they’ve been set in… I don’t think any other film will focus on the women in the way that this one does.”
While this story remains relevant 50 years later, Turner and Harron also think there’s an additional interest due to the way our society looks at cults.
“I’m thinking about our moment culturally with our fascination about cults,” said Turner. “That’s not why I came to this project or why Mary came to this project, but it feels like it keeps ramping up.”
“If there’s something good to come out of this, it really helps to discuss mind control,” said Harron. “It really helps to discuss how people stop listening to their own conscience. That little voice that is saying maybe we shouldn’t go to people’s houses and scare them. Don’t turn that voice off in your head that’s telling you not to do these things.MORE NEWS: San Francisco Police Return Stolen Puppy to Richmond Family
“Charlie Says” opens in New York on Friday, May 10 and then in Los Angeles on VOD on Friday, May 17.