Warning: Spoilers for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood


The late 60s were a pretty wild time in the United States - there were all kinds of drugs floating around and the Vietnam War had ravaged the minds of the young. Amidst all the madness and noise however, there was something terrible that captured the imagination of the entire populace. 

Source: Allthatsinteresting

One incident that shook the very core of the American dream was the brutal murder of actress Sharon Tate and four friends between August 8 and 9, 1969.

Sharon Tate was the wife of director Roman Polanski, and she was also tragically over 8 months pregnant at the time. American culture had not been exposed to the killing of such a high profile celebrity in such a blatant and seemingly meaningless manner. It sent shock-waves around the country and became one of the most high profile cases of the decade.  

Source: Latimes

The killings were carried out by members of the Manson Family, a cult under the guidance of Charles Manson.

The clan was made up of around a 100 members - mostly young middle class women - who believed that Manson was a manifestation of Jesus. He was a quasi guru to them, and they lived a highly unconventional communal lifestyle, habitually using psychedelic drugs and listening to Manson's sermons. 

Source: Time

The Manson Family had been radicalised by Charles' prophecies about an imminent and apocalytpic race war. 

In fact, Manson and his followers were highly influenced by The Beatles' White Album, except in their brain it somehow referred to a plan to start a race war and prepare for the apocalypse. When one follower had an altercation with an African-American, Manson became convinced the Black Panthers would retaliate.

Source: Uccexpress

He decided that the Manson Family should indulge in a string of murders in order to hasten this race war. The man was a master manipulator, and his followers would do anything he asked.

In May 1969, some members shot and killed a black drug dealer in an effort to start said war. In July that year, they abducted a music teacher named Gary Allen Hinman, tortured him, and finally stabbed him to death.

Source: Investigationdiscovery

After this came their most high profile kill - the Tate murders.

The previous tenants of the house Sharon Tate lived in had managed to anger Charles Manson over some petty issue. For some unfathomable reason, he sent 4 of his most ardent followers to the house and told them,

Totally destroy everyone in it, as gruesome as you can.
Source: Allthatsinteresting

They snuck in to the house, cut the phone lines and then wreaked absolute havoc on Tate and her friends, where partying with her. Sharon Tate was stabbed 16 times. The killers wrote 'pig' with Tate’s blood on the front door as they left

The victims also included Tate's friend and former lover Jay Sebring, Polanski's friend and aspiring screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski, and Frykowski's lover Abigail Folger. Steven Parent, a visitor, was also shot while entering the gate. It all went down at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles.

Source: Vanityfair

The next night, some of the same followers along with Manson himself sneaked into the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. 

They woke them up, tied them, and then each of them proceeded to stab them several times. 

Source: Independent

The murders led to a media frenzy, and within a few months, Charles Manson and the rest were arrested and sentenced to life in prison. Charles Manson subsequently became the most notorious killer/cult leader in American culture. 

The events of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood present an alternate history version of how things went down. One where the seemingly invincible Cliff (Brad Pitt) takes down 2 of the attackers while tripping on acid. Leo's character straight up torches the third. Oh, and Brandy the doggo is a lot of help too.

Source: History

But alas, that's not how things went down - with Sharon and the gang sharing a drink with Leonardo DiCaprio. In truth, things were a lot more tragic.

Either way, it's nice to have a happy ending, so thanks for that Quentin Tarantino. And that's the story behind one of the most infamous events in American history, something that shaped the perception of Hollywood, serial killers and popular culture for decades to come.