A man died in California State Prison on Nov. 19, 2017 who caused the murders of seven people throughout the 1960s and left a legacy of fear and trauma throughout the United States.
The man was Charles Manson.
A reminder of this person hardly feels necessary, but I thought it would be interesting to get a retrospective look at this bloody history through the 2006 stop motion musical film Live Freaky! Die Freaky!
This film, directed by punk culture extraordinaire John Roecker, is essentially a retelling of the Manson Family’s origins, killings and ultimate incarceration through claymation. The cast of the film seems to have been drawn straight from Roecker’s punk rock Rolodex, including names like Travis Barker of Blink-182 and, starring as the mastermind himself, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day.
The animation style of this movie is about as unsettling as its subject matter, similarly uncanny as the work of David Firth, an animator famous for his dark imagery. Before that even begins, though, the viewer is presented with a “not for the easily offended” warning.
This may seem like a silly cliché or some boast of the movie’s shock value, but this caution is a massive understatement.
I’m all for offensive art. I see no problem with a story, movie or painting intended to make the viewer feel discomfort or even pain. Live Freaky! Die Freaky! accomplishes all of these things, but, at the end of it all, I couldn’t help staring at the screen and repeatedly asking “why?”
The clay depictions of sex and gore in this movie are beyond imagination, clearly making a point to disturb the viewer. But the reason for this aggression is not for artistic value—it’s for controversy, for attention, and it’s just so blatantly obvious that the movie comes off similar to Sausage Party—not actually offensive, just strangely arbitrary.
From the beginning, “Sharon Hate” is portrayed as a dumb blond Hollywood socialite with no real redeeming qualities (all names in this movie were slightly falsified).
Sure, it’s true that once someone is killed, especially as Sharon Tate was, society tends to glorify them more than is accurate of their lives. But this point would’ve been clearer and funnier if Tate’s lines were not written and performed like a 14-year-old who accidentally left a microphone on while pouting.
The visual style certainly is interesting, and the fact that the creators know precisely what they want the movie to be is admirable. But, other than a handful of comedic moments and a few conceptual lines, Live Freaky! Die Freaky! is just not as funny or as interesting as its premise would imply.