Exactly fifty-three years ago, a horrifying ritual crime took place in California, USA. Years have passed but the horror of the killing is intact: it is the savage murders of five people in the house located at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles by members of Charles Manson’s cult. One of the victims is the one who was at the time the filmmaker’s wife Roman Polansky, Sharon Tate. A prominent model and actress, she was eight months pregnant when the horrific tragedy took place.
Everything seemed to work out for the young and sublime Sharon Tate, a native of Dallas, Texas and 26 years old. Noticed in Hollywood, she was placed by producer Martin Ransohoff for the film being prepared by Roman Polanski, The Vampire Ball, because the young woman is under contract with the production company. A time refractory to this idea, the filmmaker accepts and ends up falling madly in love with the actress. On January 20, 1968, in London, Sharon Tate married Roman Polanski during a highly publicized reception at the Playboy Club in London. The party, symbol of the cultural ferment of the British Swinging Sixties, also has many Hollywood personalities, dancing in pop and Victorian outfits to psychedelic music.
A gruesome ritual crime
Taken by the preparation of a new feature film in Europe, Roman Polanski must leave the United States. His wife, who had accompanied him for a few months, then returned to the American continent to continue her pregnancy quietly. On August 8, 1969, she invited several friends to the superb house built in 1942 for the French actress Michèle Morgan and which the Tate-Polanski couple rented. During the night, three individuals entered the villa: Tex Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel and Susan Atkins, while a fourth remained in their car.
The leader of the group, who officiates in the name of the psychopath and guru Charles Manson, kills or has killed all the occupants, but also a young student who has gone to see the caretaker of the property. Sharon Tate, pregnant, does not escape the massacre. Tied by the neck to a beam in the living room, she begs to stay alive. She was stabbed sixteen times. With his blood, the killers will also write “pig” (pig) on the door of the house.
This massacre is part of the crazy actions of the sect “The Family” of Manson. He had ordered his followers to randomly kill the inhabitants of upscale, white neighborhoods in Los Angeles to cause chaos in the country. Presented during his long trial as a solitary madman endowed with an impressive capacity for persuasion, Charles Manson – who never showed any repentance – was sentenced in 1971 to the death penalty alongside four of his disciples. The sentences will be commuted to life imprisonment.
Personal tragedy, American trauma
Roman Polanski will remain traumatized for life by this tragedy, calling Sharon Tate “love of his life“. When the news of Charles Manson’s death was announced in 2017, he could not react, leaving his lawyer to speak for him. “The murder of Roman Polanski’s wife and their unborn baby still remains painful and prevents him from reacting to the death of Charles Manson. He hopes to one day correct the legal process underway in Los Angeles to have the right to pray at his grave in Holy Cross Cemetery.“, Harland Braun had declared to TMZ.
The murder of Sharon Tate is also an American trauma. 1969 is the Flower Powerthe Woodstock Festival, the summer of love… The massacre puts an end to this recklessness. Celebrities barricade themselves in their homes. You don’t leave your door open anymore. Beyond the intimate wound of losing his young wife and his unborn son, Polanski is overwhelmed by some and must justify himself, in particular because he has turned Rosemary’s Baby, a film about the demon… Manson’s motivations, however, seem to be linked to his extreme frustration at not having a successful musical career. He had tried, unsuccessfully, to sign a recording contract with record producer Terry Melcher, who had previously rented the house where the atrocious crime took place…