Green Day, Rancid Star in Puppet Movie About Charles Manson

Culture Writer
The Arbiter Online, Boise State University

Hundreds of years from now in a post-apocalyptic era, the only remnant of human history mankind can find is a copy of “Helter Skelter.”

The book is about Charles Manson’s cult, and the murder and mayhem carried out in the late 1960s. This cult was formed using a loosely based belief that Manson was in fact God or Jesus.

With no knowledge or reference point of the past, future mankind interperets as biblical, and Charles Manson is recognized as the messiah.

This is the starting point of the movie “Live Freaky, Die Freaky,” the insanely creative puppet animation movie that has recently been released on DVD.

The cast list reads like a “Who’s Who” of mainstream punk rock. Rancid’s Tim Armstrong co-produced the movie, conducted the score, and narrates. Every member of Rancid, and Armstrong’s side project The Transplants also have parts in the movie.

Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong plays the lead character, Charlie (Charles Manson), and performs on the soundtrack. All other members of Green Day have parts, along with members of AFI, Good Charlotte, X and the Go-Go’s.

The movie plays out a twisted, and sometimes exaggerated to the point of fictional, version of Manson’s story. The characters names have been slightly changed to avoid any legal problems. Charlie, Susan Hatkins, Sharon Hate, and the name of the book “Healter Skelter” are too close to the truth to cause any confusion.

Charlie’s theories about wanting to save the earth, and save the wealthy pigs by murdering them help the religious connotations play out.

The rich Hollywood elite are portrayed in the movie as people who enjoy ruining the environment just because they can. And people in power are either played by pigs, or tagged by metaphors that reference them as pigs.

The movie contains a couple full song musical interludes, and is packaged with a free copy of the soundtrack. But the funniest musical reference may be when Charlie puts on a copy of the Beatles White album (a record Manson claimed told him to kill) looking for direction. “I wanna hold your hand,” the record repeats over and over. Only to have Charlie claim he has been told to murder Sharon Hate.

The movie contains a warning about explicit puppet sex, violence and language, and you can also add scenes of puppets doing drugs to that list. But all of this mayhem being played out by claymation puppets makes for a very funny and entertaining movie. The fictional twisting of the story lends itself to the comedy factor.

As the story winds down, Charlie’s day in court does not go very well. In a fictional death sentence scene, Charlie is told by the judge that the reason for his verdict is, “you just don’t fuck with Hollywood.”

If you have any reason to believe that your sense of humor may be slightly on the odd side, pick up a copy of this movie. You will not be disappointed.