Charles Manson The Final Words is in part based on Hippie Cult Leader

By: Jessica Goddard

One of last year’s most eagerly-anticipated headlines – the death of Charles Manson – makes this documentary on the notoriously fascinating subject all the more topical.  Narrated by Rob Zombie, Charles Manson: The Final Words (based on the book Hippie Cult Leader by James Day) uses disturbing files from the original murder investigation, interviews with members of Manson’s cult, and exclusive audio from phone conversations with the aged Manson himself while he was still alive and serving his life sentence at California State Prison.

Don’t expect a detailed retelling of Manson’s life story; it’s not biographical.  The film is specifically concerned with Manson’s status as a cult leader and the famous murders for which Manson eventually went to prison.  It provides photos and timelines and crude dramatic recreations, but ultimately its main export is an alternative theory to what many will have understood to be a closed case.

There’s potential controversy here, as the documentary calls into question the legitimacy of Manson’s historic conviction and scrutinizes the prosecution’s famous “Helter Skelter” conspiracy that’s become synonymous with the “Manson Family” (another term dismissed as propaganda).  Really what this film is doing is taking an 80+ year old iconic murderer and giving him a microphone and, perhaps more contentiously, taking him and his point of view seriously.  But you know what?  It’s compelling.

Charles Manson: The Final Words asks you to reconsider what you think you know about the motive behind the Tate-Labianca murders.  It’s the perfect documentary in that it takes your perception of the facts and forces you to interrogate them within yourself.  The timing is both convenient and inconvenient now that Manson is dead.  There’s no one disputing that Charles Manson was an evil man.  But are we comfortable putting evil people away (he was initially sentenced to death) on the basis of a manipulated justice system?  Can someone who is evil in one way be reasoned with in other ways?  At what point do we close a case, even if questions still remain?  And for whose sake?

REELZ TV to air "The Final Words"

Realz TV will be featuring Buddy Day’s “The Final Words” based in part on his new book Hippie Cult Leader during the weekend of August 9, 10 and 11. August 8, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the murders that changed America. The Tate/LaBianca murders marked the end of the innocence of America as the murders stoked fear in Hollywood and LA and were covered by media around the world.

In his book, (James) Buddy Day has added additional interviews and new facts since the airing of the Final Words in November of 2017. The book presents the “Alternative Theory” to the motivation for the murders. The book clearly provides evidence and first hand interviews that debunk Vincent Bugliosi’s fantasy (Myth) Helter Skelter that he used to convict Manson of 9 murders when it is clear at best he may have committed one. There is no question Manson was using Charles “Tex” Watson to settle a grudge when he showed up at what they thought was still Terry Melcher’s rented house. But Tex and the women committed the acts of murder on their own, under the influence of drugs and clearly without emotion or remorse. Tex Watson was not tried as part of the first trials and over the years has changed his story numerous times to suit himself and to try to implicate the women as the masterminds of the murders yet he clearly states when confronted by the victims, “I am the Devil and I am here to do the devil’s work.”

According to New York Times best selling author, Suzy Spencer “The result is an intriguing and thought-provoking read. – based on first hand interviews, testimony transcripts and police reports.”

banner ad.jpg

Optimum will make Hippie Cult Leader available as an Audio Book

As we move towards the 50th anniversary of the most notorious murders of the 60’s and perhaps the past century there are numerous new books, documentaries and movies on Charles Manson the Hippie Cult Leader. Optimum is pleased to announce that they are working with veteran book narrator Russell Newton. Russell has narrated over 50 books in the past few years and we felt his voice would lend the right tone to such an intriguing and emotional story. The fact that we are forwarding the Alternative theory behind the murders that will debunk “Helter Skelter” made it so much more important to have the right voice narrating this intriguing new take by James Buddy Day.

Available August 8th 2019.



The Last Words of Charles Manson

By James Buddy Day




You have a prepaid call from…Charles Manson.”


August 8, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Manson Family Murders. The crimes defined a generation and remain an incredible source of public fascination. How could a no-account drifter and ex-con become a charismatic leader of what prosecutors called a diabolical murder cult? Some have proposed that the prosecution made-up the race war theory in order to more easily convict Manson through a sensational conspiracy narrative. If the prosecution did construct the Helter Skelter theory, is convicting a man like Charles Manson so essential that any means of achieving it is acceptable? 

Now, award-winning documentarian and author James Buddy Day will debunk the Helter Skelter narrative with the release of Hippie Cult Leader, The Last Words of Charles Manson [August 1, 2019, Optimum Publishing]. This is Day’s firsthand account of Charles Manson’s final interviews leading up to his death on November 19, 2017.

The most riveting elements in Hippie Cult Leader come from Manson himself. With eerie conversations about modern society, justice and his decades behind bars, these insights will help you get to know the man they call, “Charlie.” Hippie Cult Leader includes shocking new details, never before seen material from the original investigation to reconstruct a path of events that led to the brutal murders of movie star Sharon Tate and seven others during the summer of 1969.

Exclusive interviews include alleged “Manson Family” killer Bobby Beausoleil, and “Family” members Barbara Hoyt and Catherine “Cappi” Gillies, prosecutor Stephen Kay, defense attorney Gary Fleischman, and music producer Phil Kaufman.

Day began talking to Charles Manson for a documentary project. Manson’s story started with his insistence that the truth about him remained untold and that the system was—and had always been—out to get him. “When they lose control, they don’t admit that they lost control, they just lost face and they make another movie like you’re doing,” he told Day. The documentary The Final Words premiered on the Reelz Channel in November 2018.

“I want readers to come into the book wanting to read about the Manson story they’ve heard, but come away with a completely different understanding of what really happened,” says Day.


About the Author:

James Buddy Day is an award winning true crime producer, showrunner, writer and director for numerous television and feature documentaries. Buddy’s work has been showcased in numerous film festivals, and featured in national publications such as The Today Show, Rolling Stone, TMZ, The Daily Mail, Billboard, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Buddy’s widely recognized works include, “The Disappearance of Susan Cox Powell” (Oxygen/Texas Crew Productions), “Charles Manson: The Final Words” (REELZ/Pyramid Productions), “Charles Manson: The Funeral (DRG/MyEntertainment), “The Slender Man Stabbing: The Untold Story” (Red Arrow/Dorsey Pictures), “Casey Anthony: Her Friends Speak” (REELZ/Kinetic Content/Pyramid Pro), “Sex, Lies & Murder” (Pyramid Productions).


Learn more about James Buddy Day on IMDB.


Hippie Cult Leader will be available in both paperback and e-book formats on August 1, 2019 wherever books are sold, and is currently available for pre-order.



Calgary director's Charles Manson doc challenges 'evil incarnate' narrative as oversimplified Social Sharing

On August 8, 2019 Optimum will launch a new book on the Manson Narrative. The book expands on and further explains the docudrama “The Final Words”.

CBC interviewed the author and here is the rest of the story

His name has become synonymous with evil,' James 'Buddy' Day says

David Bell · CBC News · Posted: Nov 16, 2017 7:05 PM MT | Last Updated: November 16, 2017

James 'Buddy' Day's documentary MANSON: THE VOICE OF MADNESS digs into some of the misconceptions people have about 'greatest serial killer of all time.' (The Associated Press/CBC)

A Calgary director's documentary about Charles Manson, which opens Thursday at the Calgary Underground Film Festival, is challenging long-held assumptions about the man many consider one of the most evil people of all time.

"I don't know that anyone is evil incarnate," James "Buddy" Day told The Homestretch.

"I think that is one of the fascinating things about Charles Manson is that his name has become synonymous with evil. When you really dive down and unpack exactly what he is like and who he is, he is just a human being like everyone else."

Day's documentary, MANSON: THE VOICE OF MADNESS, explores some of misconceptions many people have about the infamous convicted mass murderer and cult leader, whose followers killed nine people in late 1969.

"I think what is most misunderstood about him is that he really is a product of the criminal justice system that he grew up in. He was incarcerated when he was nine years old," Day said.

"Understanding him through the lens that he is the embodiment of prison is really important."

A new documentary challenges the assumptions many have on the life of Charles Manson. (File Photo/The Associated Press)

Part of what Day hoped to understand better is the truth behind the Helter Skelter theories.

Day says the Los Angeles district attorney at the time said Manson had gotten out of prison in 1967. After travelling around southern California recruiting people for his cult, he turned them into mindless robots to do his bidding.

"They then said that he became obsessed with the Beatles' White Album, and became infatuated with the idea that there was going to be a black versus white race war that would wipe out the world," he said. 

"They then said that he further brainwashed his cult to believe this and to further the race war, he ordered them to commit a series of murders that would somehow inspire the race war.

"They would hide in a secret hole in Death Valley and then after the race war they would emerge and [Manson] would rebuild the world after the victorious black army would require leadership of some sort."

Convicted of 9 murders

Day says many people don't know the actual charges and convictions Manson faced.

"It was commonly reported that he was convicted of the weekend murder spree which consists of the Sharon Tate murders and the [Rosemary] LaBianca murders. He was actually convicted of nine murders over a series of months, he received nine death sentences. The prosecution said he was guilty of carrying out these murders through a concept of vicarious responsibility," Day explained.

MANSON: THE VOICE OF MADNESS opens Thursday evening at the Calgary Underground Film Festival.(Supplied)

He says his documentary team set out to construct a more fulsome narrative.

"We scoured the earth for anyone we could find that was associated with the Manson family. Many of them have been hiding since the 1970s. I spoke to three or four off-camera who didn't want to participate but would validate certain events for me and tell me I was on the right track."

Day says the process started by nailing down interviews with the man himself.

"On a whim I wrote Charles Manson a few letters. A few months later I was filming a TV series and to my great surprise my phone rang and it said, 'You have a collect call from Charles Manson,'" he said.

"I ran out and spoke to Charles Manson for the first time and then kept talking to him over the course of the next year and really did a deep dive of investigating with my team every aspect of the Helter Skelter theory and then got to meet a whole bunch of people and tried to unravel the mystery."

As to why Charles Manson's story continues to draw people in almost 50 years later, Day says it's complicated.

"I think there is a lot of misconception about Charles Manson. I think people are infatuated because they think he is the greatest serial killer of all time. That is an obvious source of public fascination," Day said.

"What I think, from my perspective, is most fascinating about it, is how deeply misunderstood not only the story is, but the motives and the personalities that were around there and him, himself."

Book_Cover_05_04_19 (1).jpg