Director – Frank Howard
Starring – Brian Klinknett (Slime Town Blues), Erica Bigelow, and Paula Shannon
Release Date – 1971
Rating – 3/5
Blu Release – 3.5/5
While most people know me for my love of horror but not many people get to know my exploitation side. I absolutely love exploitation cinema, especially blaxploitation. I’ve collected hundreds of exploitation movies over the years and I’ve often wondered why there was never exploitation flicks centered around serial killers.
Sure, we have the gritty Zodiac from the 70s but most films centered around serial killers are horror. Exploitation films are literally that…they exploit trends and fads. Serial killers has always fascinated American audiences so it would make sense that exploitation filmmakers would exploit that as well. A few weeks back I received the press release for The Other Side of Madness. I was shocked to see that it was an exploitation flick about the Manson Family Murders. This was the first time I had heard of this film so I reached out and was able to snag a review copy of the film on blu.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows members of the Manson family as they appear in court. The judge asks them to retell certain parts of their lives living with Manson before having them go into detail about the night they commited the heinous murders. **Spoiler Alert**
I’ve seen several horror movies centered around Manson and the Tate murder. Some were very entertaining while others tried too hard to be shocking and deplorable. The Other Side of Madness is somewhere in between. There is several things I really dug about the film and there was a few things I didn’t like.
The acting in this one is all over the place. Some of the characters are grounded and well done while others showed no signs of attempting to act. They just spit out their dialogue, which was obviously improvised, and then stood idly by while the other cast members did their thing. There is a clear inconsistency when it comes to the acting.
The story for this one tries to blend documentary, court room drama, and true crime. Honestly, I could have lived without the court room angle but it did have it’s moments. With that being said, if the film would have been a traditional movie telling the same story it would have been an unforgettable film.
Finally, this one is not a bloody flick. The ending of the film does have some pretty uncomfortable scenes but it’s still not a bloody film. The movie relies on the murders themselves to get across to the viewer rather than shower them with blood. Overall, The Other Side of Madness is a very interesting movie about one of the most gruesome murders to ever take place in the U.S. The movie gets some things right and missed it’s mark on others. It deserves a watch but don’t expect something you will revisit. The blu looks pretty solid as well. The video and sound quality is sharp but it’s nowhere near the best that blu can produce. I recommend that fans of exploitation and true crime check this one out.
Stunning 4K transfer from the original 35mm camera negative
Bonus CD of ”Mechanical Man” and ”Garbage Dump” both written and performed by Charles Manson, reproduced exactly from the original 7” vinyl soundtrack
Exclusive documentary ”The Other Side of Manson: An Interview with Producer Wade Williams”
Bonus featurette ”Mechanical Man: Wade Williams Meets Manson”
12-page collectors booklet featuring liner notes by award-winning filmmaker Alexander Tuschinski exploring the nuances of the film and its history
Original theatrical trailer (Original release)
Original theatrical trailer (Helter Skelter Murders)
Packaged in a unique and sleek black blu-ray case
English and Spanish subtitles