Excited about Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’? Here’s your extended reading, watching and listening list

Tarantino's new movie – hailed as a masterwork – is based in recent, grisly Hollywood history

LISTEN: You Must Remember This: Charles Manson’s Hollywood

What is it: A compelling, terrifying and impressively in-depth podcast

Why it’s great: If you only consume one thing related to the sordid Summer of 1969, it has to be this riveting 12 part podcast, originally broadcast in 2015 when Manson was still alive, albeit behind some very thick bars. Hosted and researched by Hollywood history queen Karina Longworth, it puts the Manson Family into compelling contrast with the end of the hippy era and fleshes out characters only hinted at in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, like Beach Boy Dennis Wilson and Doris Day’s son Terry Melcher, who lived on Cielo Drive prior to Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski.

READ: Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties – Tom O’Neill

What is it: A big new book that’s already been optioned for a six part Amazon drama


Why it’s great: Journalist Tom O’Neill has been writing this book for the past 20 years, so you better believe that it’s thorough. In it he dismisses previous writings on Manson and brings in his own research on the involvement of the FBI and CIA. Like a good conspiracy theory? Then hit up this hardback. 

LISTEN: ‘Lie: The Love and Terror Cult’ – Charles Manson 

What is it: The creepiest album you’ll ever hear

Why it’s great: Um, great isn’t quite the word for it, but if you want to truly submerge yourself in the sounds of the Manson clan, then may we direct you to Charles Manson’s debut album. The very definition of uneasy listening, the folksy likes of ‘Look At Your Game, Girl’ fit pretty well into the post-Dylan landscape of the 1960s, but there’s a definite strangeness to the more psychedelic Ego and for a man like Charles Manson to call one of his songs ‘People Say I’m No Good’ is just blatant trolling.

LISTEN: ‘The Family Jams’ – The Manson Family 

What is it: Another album you won’t want to play when you’re home alone

Why it’s great: Recorded in 1970 at the Spahn Ranch, but only released in 1997, The Family Jams sees Manson’s unincarcerated associates – none of who can particularly hold a tune – bashing out some jangly covers of his songs. Weirdly, The Cribs were big fans of The Manson Family’s musical output, with Ryan Jarman singing the praises of the song ‘Get On Home’ to NME in 2015. “I’m still really obsessed with Charles Manson,” he explained. “What he’s perceived to have done is not something I’m saying that I look up to, but the way he and his Family were living in a counter-cultural way I am jealous of. They tapped into something that will never be tapped into again. They dedicated their life to searching for the art and the beauty in things and the music they made is absolutely brilliant.” Riiiight then.  


Susan Denise Atkins, (left), Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten,(right), laugh after receiving the death sentence for their part in the Tate-LaBianca killing at the order of Charles Manson (Bettmann Archive)

LOOK: Vintage Los Angeles 

What is it: An Instagram account full of old school Hollywood treats 

Why it’s great: If Tarantino’s gorgeous and flawless recreation of 1960s Los Angeles had you in raptures then you’ll feel like you’ve just had two martinis at Mussos after a look at LA history buff Alison Martino’s impeccable Insta. With a feed full of pics of classic Hollywood, she was also first on the scene when swathes of the city were transformed as the film was being shot last year. 

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The Cowboy looks like the crooner and the crooner looks like the cowboy. ? ? In honor of Glen Campbell's birthday, sharing a photo of Glen and dad on the set of the @GlenCampbell GOOD-TIME HOUR in 1969. Glen played session guitar with the Wrecking Crew on many of dad’s records including MARY IN THE MORNING & SAUSALITO. On the particular day they performed those songs together on Glen’s show. Dad also cooked Glen his very first plate of homemade pasta. That was a big deal for young guy from Arkansas. I was so fortunate years later to work closely with Glen on a mini bio I produced on Glen’s life for TV LAND. BTW, I’m pretty sure that’s Lily Tomlin’s Rocking Chair from LAUGH IN behind dad!

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LISTEN: ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’ – Various Artists

What is it: An album, of course 

Why it’s great: Sure, we could tell you about all the incredible music that was around when Once Upon A Time in Hollywood was set, but Quentin Tarantino has already done such a good job we’ll just hand it over to him. Still the king of the crate-digging soundtrack, this one is full of good stuff you’ll already know (Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Mrs Robinson’ and Deep Purple’s ‘Hush’) and even better stuff that you’ll don’t (Buchanan Brothers’ ‘Son of a Lovin’ Man’ and Buffy Sainte-Marie’s ‘The Circle Game’) cut up with vintage radio adverts. 

WATCH: Los Angeles Plays Itself

What is it: A cut-and-paste documentary of monumental proportions 

Why it’s great: At nearly three hours long this fascinating documentary breaks down the film industry’s own love affair with the city of Los Angeles, with plenty of familiar vistas. Assembled by film critic Thom Andersen using nothing but clips from other movies, it looks at why directors use Los Angeles as a location, what it means and what they want it to mean. It’s basically Pornhub for film students. 

View north along Vine Street, near the interseection with Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California, June 30, 1962. (Photo by Camerique/Getty Images)

WATCH: Shampoo

What is it: A 1975 Academy Award winning movie 

Why it’s great: Set in Los Angeles 1968, Warren Beatty plays a seductive male hairdresser, rumoured to be based on Jay Sebring, Sharon Tate’s ex and fellow victim of the Manson Family. Like Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Shampoo features a banging soundtrack – Jimi Hendrix, Buffalo Springfield and The Beach Boys – and some really, really good hairstyles too. 

American actor Warren Beatty and English actress Julie Christie in a scene from the film ‘Shampoo’, 1975. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

READ: I’m With The Band – Pamela Des Barres 

What is it: One hell of a read

Why it’s great: For an insight into Los Angeles’ groovy scene – before everything got nasty – ‘groupie’ and nanny to Frank Zappa’s kids Pamela Des Barres’ autobiography is possibly the best rock’n’roll memoir ever written – and certainly the most fun. She was a regular at the Sunset Strip club Pandora’s Box, which features in the back of a Once Upon A Time In Hollywood scene. Nerds however will note that the club was demolished in 1967 and the film is set in 1969. But if you’ve already seen the film, you’ll know that Tarantino has no qualms about twisting the truth a little. 

WATCH: The Fearless Vampire Killers 

What is it: A Sharon Tate-starring, Roman Polanski-directed movie

Why it’s great: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood might use original clips from Tate’s film with Dean Martin, The Wrecking Crew, but 1967 horror comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers is of particular interest as it’s how Tate was introduced to her future husband, Polanksi. As is explained in Tarantino’s film, Tate had already left Sebring but this is definitely the work of a director infatuated with his star. Handily Polanski also plays her lover. Later he was keen to cast Tate in his hit Rosemary’s Baby, but the role went to Mia Farrow instead.