Those of you who keep abreast of this sort of thing will be aware that geek of film himself, Quentin Tarantino, is currently working on a movie that will feature the Manson Family.
Sharon Tate, played here by Hilary Duff (“A Cinderella Story”, “The Perfect Man”) who also produces, was the wife of director Roman Polanski and, along with a number of her friends, was brutally killed by members of the Manson Family on August 8th, 1969.
Writer and director Daniel Farrands (“The Amityville Murders”, “History’s Mysteries (TV)”) decides to take a quote from an interview Sharon Tate gave, around a year before her death, where she reveals having a nightmare that involves a strange man in her house and her and her friend Jay Sebring tied up with their throats cut, and attempts to turn it into a feature length film.
The film is, to put it mildly, pure hokum. There is a scene which appears to depict, as best as we know, the events of that fateful night, showing the murders in some graphic detail, but even this takes liberties.
The rest of the movie is just drawn-out drivel sullying the name of a promising actress who was brutally slain for no-reason other than living in the wrong house at the wrong time.
The Manson family said, once caught, that they didn’t target Tate or Polanski, but rather the home’s previous owner, Terry Melcher, who it’s thought knew Manson in some way and had perhaps made him a promise he didn’t see through.
Even if you put all of that aside, The Haunting Of Sharon Tate just isn’t a very good film. It feels like something that has been made for TV and the performances, Duff in particularly, certainly don’t help that feeling.
The film employs every known trick in the book to try and ramp up the horror: from shadowy figures walking in front of the camera as the music takes a sudden and dramatic turn, to electronic equipment switching itself on, to dream sequences that only become dreams at the end.
It is hard to know how anyone thought the making of this film would be a good idea. If you wanted to make a horror film about the Manson Family, go for it, but this? This is just wrong.
You can’t take a story that the vast majority of the world knows, say you are going to turn it into a horror film, and then completely re-write the actual, true events, that are far more harrowing and horrible than anything you’ve managed to commit to screen.
The Haunting Of Sharon Tate is a movie that should have remained as someone’s bad idea, locked away, never to see the light of day. I only hope Mr. Tarantino handles things with more care.