Behind the scenes of the brutal crimes lurking throughout Quentin Tarantino’s brand-new film, ‘Once top top a Time … in Hollywood’

Cameramen film the scene as Charles Manson is lugged into the Los Angeles city jail under uncertainty of having actually masterminded the Tate-LaBianca killing of respectable 1969. Bettmann / Contributor

In Once upon a Time ... In Hollywood, the new film from manager Quentin Tarantino, an actor and also stuntman (played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, respectively) uncover themselves living following door to beautiful actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). That the summer of 1969, and also what nobody of the characters know is the Tate and also five rather will soon be brutally murdered by members of the Manson Family, the cult led by Charles Manson that would certainly become, because that many, the can be fried symbol of the dark side of the 1960s.

You are watching: How many people did manson family kill

In Tarantino’s film, Manson and also members that the household loom in the background, an ominous presence haunting the painstakingly recreated Los Angeles landscape. Together the 50th anniversary the the Manson Family’s crime approaches, here’s a primer that attempts to untangle the who, what, where, and why that the case.

Who was Charles Manson?

Born in 1934 come a teenaged mother, Charles Manson’s at an early stage childhood and young life was invested bouncing roughly between loved ones and, later, in and also out of establishments in the Midwest. In his early on 20s, the married twice and also fathered a son. Manson was considered so thoroughly institutionalized by authorities the upon his 1967 relax from a California prison, that asked the warden if he can stay.

Instead, Manson migrated to Berkeley and then mountain Francisco, cities that came to be flooded v young world looking come embark top top a new way of life. An larger figure among the crowd, that amassed a small group of pendant (almost totally women) and, in 1968, headed along with several female pendant to Los Angeles to pursue a music career, having learned to play the etc in prison. Manson’s devices of persuasion to be the lax social password of the late 1960s, in i m sorry runaway hippies mingled openly with Hollywood royalty, and his capacity to tell rather what they wanted to hear, both of which he parlayed into a friendship with Dennis Wilson, the drummer because that the beach Boys.

Through Wilson, Manson met various other music-industry players and also grew progressively fixated ~ above stardom, every the while exercising greater and also greater regulate over the team that happened known together the Manson Family. He was, together investigative journalist Jeff Guinn put it in Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson, “the wrong male in the right location at the appropriate time.”

After the household members behind the respectable 1969 murders to be apprehended, Manson was placed on trial for murder together with them. He no do any of the yes, really killing, but prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi argued that the family members did everything Manson ordered them to do—including murder. Among California’s longest-standing prison inmates, Manson passed away in November 2017.

Who to be the followers recognized as the Manson Family?

In the public’s imagination, the “Manson girls,” together they became known, loomed almost as huge as Manson himself. Mostly young females in your late teens and early 20s, Manson household members were, in the late 1960s, not specifically unusual. White, middle-class women all over the country were heading for cities prefer San Francisco and Los Angeles, influenced by various other hippies come “turn on, song in, and also drop out.” Manson offered his female pendant to attract other men to both sign up with the group and also to support it—it was several of the females that originally met Dennis Wilson and also brought Manson to his home.

Manson and the household bounced approximately Los Angeles, eventually settling in ~ Spahn Ranch, one old film-and-television collection in the western mountain Fernando Valley. At Spahn, Manson exercised total domination over the group—members were supposedly forbidden indigenous wearing eyeglasses or transferring money, and also in Member the the Family: my Story that Charles Manson, Life within His Cult, and also the Darkness That finished the Sixties, Manson monitor Dianne Lake (just 14 as soon as she met Manson) in-depth long nights of lectures, in which Manson instructed others at the ranch to take LSD and listen come him preach around the past, present and future the humanity. Several of the family members remained faithful to Manson also after he to be sentenced to death (later converted to life in prison as soon as the state that California i turned down the use of the fatality penalty)—in 1975, among Manson’s faster followers, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, attempted come assassinate president Gerald Ford (her pistol jammed and she was easily felled by the an enig Service).

How walk Manson fit right into the Hollywood scene?

Manson had connections come a number of wealthy and influential world in Los Angeles. With Dennis Wilson, he came to be acquainted with record producer terrycloth Melcher, child of actress Doris Day and also boyfriend of model and actress Candice Bergen. At one point, the daughter that actress Angela Lansbury to be a family hanger-on, and also though she no an main member, she offered her mother’s credit transaction cards to buy the Family’s food and also clothing.

Melcher and Bergen live at the home (10050 Cielo Drive) that Tate would at some point rent with her husband, director roman inn Polanski, and also Guinn posits the the home represented Manson’s refusal by the musical establishment—he’d courted Melcher together a patron, and also even held the producer in ~ Spahn Ranch, wherein Melcher politely listened come Manson and also the family perform. Manson pinned a great deal of hope on his relationships with Wilson and Melcher, and it’s widely believed that when it came to be clear the two guys weren’t going to significantly breakthrough his music career (though Wilson did convince the Beach guys to re-work and also record a version of Manson’s track “Cease come Exist,” i beg your pardon they renamed “Never find out Not to Love,” it was thought about a flop), Manson became increasingly focused on violence.

Actress Sharon Tate takes a leap in the film Don"t do Waves Silver display Collection/Getty images
terrycloth Melcher and Candice Bergen, who were formerly acquainted with Manson and lived in the residence where Tate to be murdered before Tate and Polanski moved in. Dove / to express / Getty photos

What to be ‘Helter Skelter’?

Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, in his exhaustive effort to put together a motive for the Family’s killings, came down on Manson’s obsession v what he called ‘Helter Skelter.’ Taken indigenous the Beatles song of the exact same name (Manson said his pendant the White Album to be further proof his theories around the finish of the world were correct), ‘Helter Skelter,’ in Manson’s verbiage, to be the pending race war that would check out thousands dieand pressure the household disappear to underground caves. There, they would certainly wait till it was time because that them come emerge and rule what was left the the world.

While Manson at first foretold the the very first crimes would be committed by African-Americans versus whites, the desperate state of his affairs in the summer that 1969—his music aspirations had actually largely concerned nothing and also his Hollywood relationships had passed away up—led that to transition focus and tell the family they might have to start Helter Skelter themselves, committing savage crimes in upscale areas in an effort to demonstrate to African-Americans exactly how the violence need to be carried out. In 1974, Bugliosi published Helter Skelter: The True Story the the Manson Murders, the an initial major work assessing the Manson Family and the best-selling true crime book of all time.

outline of Spahn Ranch, a former Hollywood filming place where the Manson family later take it up residence. 1970. Ralph Crane / The LIFE snapshot Collection / Getty photos

Who to be the Manson Family’s victims?

On the night of august 8, 1969, Manson household members Tex Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, and Linda Kasabian (who would later on turn state’s witness against the others) drove to Tate and Polanski’s residence (the director was the end of town working on a film). The eight-months pregnant Tate, who showed up in 1967’s Valley the the Dolls and was considered one of Hollywood’s most promising up-and-comers, was relaxing at residence with her friends: celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, and Folger’s boyfriend Voytek Frykowski. None of them had any tangible link to Manson or the household other 보다 being physically in the home previously populated by someone Manson knew (Terry Melcher).

In Helter Skelter, Bugliosi writes the a witness because that the prosecution defined a in march 1969 job on i beg your pardon Manson concerned the residence looking for Melcher and also found Tate ~ above the porch instead—“There could be no question that Charles Manson observed Sharon Tate, and she him,” writes Bugliosi.

Tate and her girlfriend all died at the hand of Watson, Krenwinkel, and also Atkins, as did Steven Parent, a teenaged friend of the house’s caretaker who happened to be pulling the end of the driveway together the killers arrived.

The an extremely next night, the same group of family members members, to add Leslie van Houten and also Manson himself, collection out come commit an ext murders. Lock drove come the home of grocery service executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, in the Los Feliz area the Los Angeles. LaBianca was entirely unknown come the Manson Family—some of its members had reportedly been to a party in the neighborhood. According to Bugliosi, the LaBiancas were preferred at random after several hours of driving around upscale Los Angeles neighborhoods.

See more: How Many Nobel Prizes Did Marie Curie Won, Marie Curie

Leslie valve Houten, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel (left come right) walk native the jail section to the courtroom during the trial because that their duty in the Manson family members murders. Bettmann / Contributor

Why does Manson still loom so large?

The brutal nature the the killing committed by the Manson Family, in addition to the truth that several of the victims to be celebrities, touched upon few of the deepest fear of the American psyche—the idea the you might not be for sure at home, because that one, and the idea that even ‘good girls’ room a couple of moves away from committing unspeakable crimes. They also cemented the idea in popular culture that the cost-free Love motion of the 1960s wasn’t totally free at all. The a sentiment more explored in Jeffrey Melnick’s Creepy Crawling: Charles Manson and also the countless Lives that America"s most Infamous household , in i beg your pardon Melnick, professor of American studies at the university of Massachusetts, Boston, examines the long-term social impact the the Manson Family. In “The White Album,” one essay appearing in her eponymous collection named after the Beatles album, Joan Didion offers the murders to argue the the ’60s had effectively ended—“the paranoia,” she wrote, to be fulfilled.