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Scary Horror Movies With a Manson Feel

Updated on July 21, 2018
NessMovieReviews profile image

My passion is for films that scare the pants off you and I am always searching for movies that can do just that.

Why Are Horror Movies Based on Manson, So Darn Scary?

A lot of the movies in this article are either 'loosely' based on Charles Manson and his crimes or give off a Manson vibe. Some of these films are the same as true-life accounts of the Manson led killings.

If you are unaware of who Manson is, I urge you to google the guy. His name sparks debate due to his lengthy incarceration. Many of his fans believe Manson's followers committed the crimes, not him. They say he shouldn't have been jailed for life.

He died in 2017, aged 83 and whatever your thoughts on his jail time most agree he is an interesting case.

Perhaps watch some of these recommended movies or look at the list further down the page of movies written specifically about him and decide for yourself.

Was he guilty if he didn't commit the crime himself?

“I'm nobody
I'm a tramp, a bum, a hobo
I'm a boxcar and a jug of wine
And a straight razor ...if you get too close to me”
― Charles Manson

#WolvesattheDoor #Manson #Movies #Horror #Reviews
#WolvesattheDoor #Manson #Movies #Horror #Reviews | Source

The Wolves at the Door (2016)

What's it About?

Set in 1969, some friends come together to hold a farewell party. All four are systematically stalked by people who seem to have randomly chosen them to torment.

Notable Cast Members

Kate Cassidy is the only one who presented with any filmography I had seen. She has appeared in TV series Harper's Island and Melrose Place and featured in Nightmare on Elm Street (2010,) Taken (2008) and Black Christmas (2006.)

Director and Screenplay

John R. Leonetti has smashed out the direction for this and for some other pretty cool movies like:

  • Insidious (2011).
  • The Butterfly Effect 2 (2006).
  • Both Annabelle Movies (one in 2014 and one released in 2017).

Gary Dauberman wrote the screenplay and has also penned some of the same things as Leonetti, having written for Annabelle – both editions, Crawlspace (2015) and It (2017) among a lengthy list of others.

Given both their ability in successful films, I think this movie is somewhat underrated.

What the Critics Thought

This film is described as ‘loosely’ based around the murder of Sharon Tate by cult members led by Charles Manson. So loosely that the main protagonist, Sharon (played by Kate Cassidy) and is pregnant.

The other characters in the film are also named the same as the people murdered in the original true crime back in 1969. So not really loosely at all.

Critics thought that the depictions of the murders in the film mirroring the real events of the true story was distasteful and written with the wish to exploit a horrible crime. They say it shows no regard to the surviving family members of the victims.

My Rating and Review

Charles Manson has many films and documentaries based on his life and around the murders he committed. There is even a TV series called Aquarius starring David Duchovny that ran for 2 seasons.

The Wolves at the Door is brutal and so is the real story. Critics are still objecting to anything made based on these real events. Sometimes on other true-life crimes. The fact is, it's done all the time. I'd rather know than not know.

I thought it was a terrifying account of the fateful series of deaths that happened. Charles Manson was a monster and so are his followers. He epitomizes what horror is all about. The pace is on an even keel for the most of the film. Through camera long shots featuring the killers in the background and other use of low angles, silhouettes, and menacing covered faces, it resulted in an intensity that lasted throughout the film.

The whole set-up is like a game of hide-and-seek except that only one group is really playing.

I often wonder what motivates people to do evil things to ordinary people. The killers picked the couple so randomly. It sends a chill down your spine. The storytelling of this movie reflects just how random it all is. The acting was particularly believable with Kate Cassidy's performance pinning it all together.

I gave 'The Wolves at the Door' 3.5 knife-wielding psycho's out of 5

'The Wolves at the Door' - Trailer

#Strangers #LivTyler #ScottSpeedman #Movies #Reviews #Horror
#Strangers #LivTyler #ScottSpeedman #Movies #Reviews #Horror | Source

'The Strangers' (2008)

What's it About?

Kristen and James arrive at his family’s holiday house after being at a wedding. Due to the events we see in a flashback, they are not in the best of minds. Late in the night there is a knock at the door and a woman asks for Tamara and Kristen tells her she has the wrong house and the woman says;

“see you later.”

James leaves the house to buy smokes and while he is gone, events unfold that leave Kristin to believe someone has been in the house. They have. Not only that, the people want James and Kristin dead. It’s a game of survival from there on in.

Notable Cast Members

Due to the masked villains not saying a lot, I wasn't going to mention any of the actors unless they did something spectacular and although the part played by DollFace is surprisingly model Gemma Ward and Mike, played by Glenn Howerton who was in Crank (2006,) they are very much unknown actors apart from the lead characters by Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman and I'm sure people know of them.

Director and Screenplay

Written and directed by Bryan Bertino, although centered on the true crime story, Bertino said in an interview his true inspiration came from something that happened to him while staying in a remote location and Bryan quoted this story:

“As a kid, I lived in a house on a street in the middle of nowhere. One night, while our parents were out, somebody knocked on the front door and my little sister answered it. At the door were some people asking for somebody who didn't live there. We later found out that these people were knocking on doors on the area and, if no one was home, breaking into the houses"

My Rating and Review

This film is great, I mean it is truly scary. It’s 'terror in company' and resonates heavily with the concept that a group of people can terrorize random people for no reason just as Manson did with his followers.

This movie is disturbing at which I may point out – may make me a horror movie degenerate for having thought so highly of it. I have seen this movie multiple times. The stupid decisions made by the central characters is widely talked about in reviews of this film and sometimes I begin to doubt my intelligence. Then I remember the situational context. I made excuses for James nicking off mid-scene trying to play the hero. Their lack of ability to have a cell phone that works on hand is excused by the backstory of why they are at the remote cabin and gives them room for forgiveness.

I felt the casting was well-selected. Liv Tyler always exudes a certain innocence and Scott Speedman has that 'nice-guy' feel about him. It makes sense for him try to fix the situation.

At times the intruders seem to have a purpose. As viewers we. want to know what that is. The sequel came out in March 2018, did you find out what their purpose was?

I give 'The Strangers' 4 dead cell phones out of 5.

'The Strangers' - Trailer.

#TheInvitation #MansonInspired #Movies #Horror #Reviews #MichielHuisman #LoganMarshallGreen
#TheInvitation #MansonInspired #Movies #Horror #Reviews #MichielHuisman #LoganMarshallGreen | Source

'The Invitation' (2016)

What's it About?

A group of old friends has been to a large home in The Hollywood Hills for a get-together. Guests at the party are known to each other or know each other. Some have intertwined pasts.

Something is off. There is no phone in the house and no one can get a cell phone signal. What is it that no-one is saying and what will it mean for the party guests?

Notable Cast Members

Michiel Huisman from Game of Thrones is in it as David and Will played by Logan Marshall-Green from Prometheus (2012.) Sure, there are other cast members who have been in feature films, but those mentioned are the ones I liked.

Director and Screenplay

Director: Karyn Kusama.

Screenplay: Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi who seemed to have also teamed up for the movie Ride Along (2014) and its sequel in 2016. They also worked on Clash of the Titans (2010) together.

My Rating and Review

Will think's it's strange that the front door is locked and is the first to wonder what's going on. It's Will that questions events as they occur. Those little things he does make you wonder what is going on in this seemingly normal dinner party.

I found the tension right up there until I knew what the secret was, although then I was still tense wondering where they were going to take the ending and how it might all tie up. The narration throughout is wonderful, the movie flows and ebbs like the tide.

This movie was fantastic and I loved watching the characters evolve and betray what lay beneath the invitation. I loved the ending for its restraint and for the fact it alluded to the bigger picture but left you to imagine it for yourself.

I give 'The Invitation' 4 red lanterns out of 5.

The Invitation - Trailer

"The Invitation works so well because it taps into our general distrust of the world around us and how our survival instinct has been muted and ignored in order to keep up the appearance of being polite."

Drew Tinnin of Dread Central who rated it 4/5 stars.

For a moment it just seems like a normal get together reminiscing about old times. The Invitation. #TheInvitation
For a moment it just seems like a normal get together reminiscing about old times. The Invitation. #TheInvitation | Source
#YoureNext #Movies #HorrorMovies #MansonInspired
#YoureNext #Movies #HorrorMovies #MansonInspired | Source

'You're Next' (2011)

What's it About?

The Davison’s are a broken family and haven’t had a get-together in a long while. Head of the family is Aubrey and Paul and it’s their wedding anniversary. They invite their children and plus ones to the estate for a dinner party as an opportunity to mend some fences and show some gratitude for their beautiful family.

A gang of animal-masked intruders appears one by one. What do they want and why are they trying to kill them?

Notable Cast Members

All of the cast listed have lengthy if not well-rounded TV and movie filmology. When looking through the cast members it looks like a reunion of V/H/S cast members.


Directed by Adam Wingard, he won critical acclaim for starting a new genre called Acid Horror with his movie called Pop Skull. which has a Manson vibe going on. Adam is coincidentally involved in V/H/S too.

Announced in 2015, Adam is scheduled to work on a movie called Godzilla vs King Kong due for release in 2020.

My Rating and Review

This movie has one of the coolest kills scenes I have seen in a while, which happens when the chaos starts. I would rank it among one of the best; “whoa, I didn’t see that coming," type scenarios ever. Another death scene shortly after that had the same shock value attributed to it. I then crossed my fingers and hoped the rest of the movie would stay where the bar was set. It did.

I thought, when I first watched this, it would be generic horror and I know that many viewers feel it's got vibes from many other horror movies and it does, but this one does it differently. It’s not like every other one and that’s why it's so good.

The characters are all well-played, well thought-out and likable. Single location horror is not new. Some people will guess where it’s headed but I didn’t (well not straight away anyhow.) Maybe you won't see the twist coming either.

I think 'You're Next' is worth 4.5 masked assassins out of 5.

Do you find Manson movies offensive?

See results

Manson Inspired Movies

(click column header to sort results)
The Strangers
Helter Skelter
Summer Dreams
Movie: It may seem odd that this is here however one member of the Beach Boys Dennis Wilson met Manson after running into two of his followers and became a fan of the group.
House of Manson
The Manson Family
I Drink Your Blood
Movie: Pretended it wasn't about Manson.
The Helter Skelter Murders
The Manson Massacre
Manson Family Movies
Movie: Almost prequel to Wolves at the Door.
Manson, My Name is Evil
Hunting Charles Manson
Movie: Again a prequel to Wolves at the Door.
Manson Family Vacation
Movie: Not about the event as such but about touring the murder sites.
Manson's Lost Girls
The Wolves at the Door
How can people still be offended writers are making movies about Manson? Look at this list!
#LarryFessenden has starred in some great movies. #TheInvitation #HorrorMovies
#LarryFessenden has starred in some great movies. #TheInvitation #HorrorMovies | Source

Manson Inspired Documentaries, TV and Cartoons

(click column header to sort results)
Helter Skelter
Made for TV Movie.
The Ben Stiller Show
A short-lived TV show where Ben Stiller dressed up as Manson and answered questions from ‘jail.’
TV Series.
Live Freaky! Die Freaky
Animation (movie but still a cartoon) - Set in the future where Helter Skelter is the name of the Bible and Manson is the messiah. It is a dark comedy musical.
The Manson Family
Documentary style movie: More a documentary than a movie.
South Park
Cartoon: A Christmas episode where Manson is said to be in need of some Christmas Spirit.

Additional Fun Fact

Is Rob Zombie a Manson Expert?

In House of 1000 Corpses (2003) Rob Zombie references Pat Krenwinkel killing Abigail Folger. There is a sequence called "stab the bunny" which has a visual nod and script hints that refer back to Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry's description of this murder in the book "Helter Skelter."

is your mind blown too?

© 2017 Mother of Movies and Series Reviews


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    • NessMovieReviews profile imageAUTHOR

      Mother of Movies and Series Reviews 

      15 months ago from Moreton Bay, Queensland

      @Ryan, yeah give it a watch but prepare to be disturbed.

    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 

      15 months ago from Louisiana, USA

      Funny Games is supposed to be coming to Netflix soon so I can't wait to see it. You're next was pretty decent.


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