Will Quentin Tarantino’s Manson Murder Movie Stay True To History?

– by Joseph Medina

A couple days ago, THR revealed that the great Quentin Tarantino would be taking on a new project. As film fans, it’s great news whenever we hear that a talent like his is hard at work on a film. In my eyes — with the exception of Death Proof — the man hasn’t made a bad movie yet, and in an industry as large as this, his voice remains wholly unique and recognizable. What came as a surprise, however, was that this new idea wouldn’t just be an original idea from Tarantino, and it wouldn’t even be a Western — a genre he’s been playing with for two films now. Instead, it would follow the Manson murders.

In particular, it would (at least partially) follow Sharon Tate, an actress and wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski. Back in 1969, Charles Manson believed their house to belong to a record producer who had rejected him, and ordered his members kill him. Tate was pregnant at the time and, along with four others, she was murdered in cold blood. It’s a horrific story, and one that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to the over-the-top playful violence we see in Tarantino’s work.

This made us wonder…can we expect this film to actually follow the historical account of what happened? Tarantino’s own history seems to point in the opposite direction. While he’s never made a film based on actual true events, Inglourious Basterds did use the backdrop of World War II, and it ended with the Basterds taking out Adolf Hitler in a fashion that was definitely not historically accurate.

Of course, the comparison is not apples to apples, as the Manson murders were more recent, and still concern folks that still live to this day — including Charles Manson and Roman Polanski. That being said, it’s a question worth asking. Given Tarantino’s tendency to rewrite history and give the middle finger to oppressors in his films, we can envision a film that goes off into a different reality.

Imagine, if you will, a film that starts off historically accurate in its portrayal (relatively speaking. We still think it’ll have that trademark pulp from Tarantino). Halfway through the film, when it seems like Tate is ready to meet her end, the roles reverse, and she ends up murdering the Manson clan in her house. The second half of the film chronicles her continuing journey as the pregnant woman out for revenge. She tracks down Charles Manson himself and puts a premature end to his cult and his hate.

This would be in line with Tarantino’s other work in terms of (1) having a strong female protagonist, (2) taking down a figure of hate, and (3) skewing history to fit a more modern sensibility.

However, we can’t rule out the possibility that this is something that would be insensitive to those still alive to day who are tangentially involved with these murders. It’s also possible that Tarantino is using this film as a way to tell a more traditional story. With every film, he tries to push himself. This could be an instance where he pushes himself to tell a real life story in a more traditional and respectful sense than he would have otherwise.

Lastly, there’s also a chance that Tarantino will bring that pulpy, over-the-top flavor to this film and still stay true to history. That would be the most controversial way to do it. In many ways, it would come across as true exploitation in the worst sense. Now, if there’s someone who could get away with it, it’s Tarantino, but that wouldn’t stop it from being an incredibly controversial move.

What do you think we’ll see from Tarantino in his Manson murder movie? Do you think it’ll be one of these three approaches, or something else entirely? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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