Sharon Tate’s sister calls upcoming movie starring Hilary Duff ‘tasteless’

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Charles Manson’s body is hardly cold and multiple movie projects surrounding his cult Family and the gruesome murders they committed are in the works. Before Manson went to hell, Quentin Tarantino announced his take on the murders, a movie starring Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, the actress who was murdered on August 9, 1969, along with fellow victims Abigail Folger, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, and Steven Parent. It’s bad enough that the grindhouse aficionado is making his own movie about the horrible crime, but now there’s another cinematic retelling being made.

According to Deadline, an independent film called The Haunting of Sharon Tate is happening, starring Hilary Duff as Tate. The project is described as a “psychological horror film” looking at the actress’s final days. The screenplay is based on an interview Sharon did a year prior to her death where she talked about dreams she was having about “ghosts haunting her house and foreseeing her own death at the hands of a satanic cult.” More specifically, Sharon allegedly dreamt that she and her friend Sebring had their throats slit. Hilary posted a photo in character on Instagram on Tuesday. In the accompanying caption, she said playing Sharon was “an incredible opportunity” and added ”She was an amazing woman and it was a true honor.”

While Hilary may have felt honored, Sharon’s sister is not at all happy about this film. Debra Tate, who was just 16 at the time of her sister’s murder, called the project “exploitative,” telling PEOPLE, “It doesn’t matter who it is acting in it – it’s just tasteless. It’s classless how everyone is rushing to release something for the 50th anniversary of this horrific event.”

She went on to say that the premise of the film is “a total fabrication,” explaining, “I know for a fact she did not have a premonition — awake or in a dream — that she and Jay would have their throat cut.” She added that she even “checked with all of her living friends. None of her friends had any knowledge of this.” And, just in case you aren’t clear on her position, she concluded her statement with “Tacky, tacky, tacky.” Debra is right, the whole thing sounds really tacky. This poor woman has made it her life’s mission to make sure that Manson and his family remained behind bars for the crimes they committed, appearing at every parole hearing and being outspoken about the fact that none of the Family members should ever live outside of prison walls.

If these two projects weren’t enough, also in production is Charlie Says, from American Psycho director Mary Harron and screenwriter Guinevere Turner. This project stars Matt Smith from Doctor Who and The Crown as Manson and deals with the murder trial of Family members Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendon), Leslie Van Houten (Hannah Murray) and Patricia Krenwinkel (Odessa Young). Merrit Wever from Nurse Jackie stars as grad student Karlene Faith, who was sent in to teach the women after their death sentence for the murders was lifted. The screenplay is based on Faith’s book The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Van Houten as well as The Family, written by Ed Sanders.

I’ll admit it. I’m guilty of being interested in this case – and I have been for a long time. We studied it in my high school psychology class, where we watched the TV movie about the murders and read Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter. I also recently listened to the comprehensive Mansion series of episodes on the superb podcast You Must Remember This (which I highly recommend). But really, enough is enough. I really feel for Tate’s family, as well as the families of all of the victims regarding these movies – especially QT’s. Hollywood should let these innocent victims rest in peace already.

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Hilary Duff pictured at the 'Younger' set outside the 'Good Morning America' show in Times Square

Hilary Duff and her boyfriend Matthew Koma arrive at Los Angeles International (LAX) Airport

Hilary Duff out and about in Los Angeles

Photos: Getty Images,, Pacific Coast News, Instagram

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46 Responses to “Sharon Tate’s sister calls upcoming movie starring Hilary Duff ‘tasteless’”

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  1. WMGDtoo says:

    So basically there are no other stories to tell. Why are they all digging this up again and again and again. What else can they say about it. Just move on and tell some other unknown story. I’m sure there are many that are sadly just as salacious.

    • LAK says:

      In the hands of Kimberley Peirce who brought us the story of Brandon Teena, this might have been worth watching.

      In the hands of QT, it is just going to glorify the violence and make Manson and his posse cool.

      • Hydrangea says:

        It makes me nervous (and nauseous) to think this might be a clever attempt to make Roman Polansky it makes me nervous (and nauseous) to think this might be a sneaky attempt to make Roman Polansky look sympathetic.

      • LAK says:

        Hydrangea: i hadn’t thought that far, but you are right.

      • Bridget says:

        The reality is, Polanski is going to look sympathetic pretty much no matter what. It’s a horribly sad story. What I’m uncomfortable with is the glorification of the Manson family’s crimes. It’s just so gross.

      • Hydrangea says:

        aargh what kind of spastic typing did I do? But yes, I hope QT is smarter than that. In other words, it’s still a strong possibility, sadly.

      • milla says:

        Polanski’s life until the rapes stared was bloody awful. It is the reason he still gets a pass. And to lose a wife and a baby like that… i have no idea how you recover from it.

        Sharon Tate’s sad story has been told. We don’t need reminders. Her life barely started. Can’t she just rest in peace?

  2. Jussie says:

    Charlie Says sounds like it could actually be interesting. The others are just tacky and unnecessary.

  3. whatever says:

    I don’t think there is anyone in Hollywood beautiful enough to play Sharon Tate. She was just breathtakingly STUNNING!

  4. Lola says:

    Hillary Duffy looks beautiful in that picture these movies are pretty tasteless though

  5. Erinn says:

    I was going to say how the heck did Hilary Duff get a big movie about Sharon Tate? But I guess it’s not as big as I had originally expected.

    It’s still weird to me that Lizzie McGuire is booking work as much as she is. She seems like a nice woman – I loved Lizzie McGuire as a kid. But she’s not really a great actress. Maybe she’s good to work with though.

    • jwoolman says:

      Yes, I imagine Hilary Duff isn’t difficult on set (that was her mother’s job). But she is just so one-dimensional. Disney had little interludes with their stable of kid actors and she was the only one who always came across as overwhelming shallow. Nice, but not deep. She can’t sing without a crew of engineers but Disney pushed her into that anyway. It seemed unfair to her. When she was dragged into the Cheaper By the Dozen remake to appeal to her demographic, she was asked if the older well-established comic actors like Steve Martin gave her any acting tips. She said no and thought that was great for some reason. My immediate thought was that she was obviously unable to play very far from herself and so they didn’t try to give her any advice. The girl who played her little sister was an example of someone who just kept getting better and better with age and showed depth even when quite young. It was kind of cringeworthy watching how much better she was than Duff in their scenes together. The only decent actor in Duff’s family is her older sister, who quietly kept working at it while the limelight was focused on Hilary.

      Hilary Duff actually got worse as an actor as she got older even on Lizzie Maguire. Quite a contrast with the kids on The Wizards of Waverley Place (including Selena Gomez) who kept getting better and better each season. Some people are easily directable as young kids but lose that ability as they age, Duff seems to be one of them. She’s comfortable in front of a camera and has a nice voice and looks good, so there should be other ways she can use those real assets besides being a poor actor.

  6. Sam the Pink says:

    This is tasteless, but isn’t it also just part of the larger murder-tainment we have now? I know so many people who love watching true crime stories on TV. Just because those people are not famous doesn’t make them okay either.

    • Hydrangea says:

      There used to be an abundance of top notch forensics shows on in the mid 2000s and they were quite fascinating but now it’s mostly true crime dreck. It’s 90% reenactment and 10% procedural unfortunately.

      • mk says:

        Forensic Files is the best, 20 minutes of facts and a little recreation, but mostly talking heads and FACTS. Most of the true crime shows now, especially on ID are sexed up and make your living room sound like a casino. Disgusting. Not allowed in my living room.

    • Merritt says:

      But some of those true crime stories are done with cooperation from the victim’s family.

      • Sam the Pink says:

        That’s true for the more serious ones, but it’s usually not true. There was a really enlightening article on XO Jane written by a woman whose sister’s murder was featured on one of them. She was pretty open that they use public records for them and don’t need the families, and her sister’s murder was misrepresented and made to sound salacious. It was very eye-opening.

  7. Neelyo says:

    Hillary Duff? This will make it to Lifetime, at best.

  8. adastraperaspera says:

    Agree that enough is enough. Will not watch any of these.

  9. wood dragon says:

    It’s all kind of morbid.

  10. Nancy says:

    Sharon Tate was butchered fifty years ago. Why is there the need to once again force the surviving family members of she, and the other victims to go through the nightmare again. Will she never get to rest in peace. It doesn’t appear Debra will. She has been living the same nightmare her whole life and deserves some dignity after the fight she and her late mother, father and other sister fought to keep the killers in prison. Let it be.

    • naomipaige says:


    • AnneC says:

      I grew up about a mile from the LaBianca’s and went to high school with their children. It was terrifying then and it’s sad and exploitative now. Tarantino making a movie about Manson is a terrible idea. Please let it not happen.

  11. Michelle says:

    This is why some sick serial killers crave notoriety. The victims are forgotten & the murderers get the books & films made about them,and their names are remembered. We truly are a messed up society.

    • bcgirl says:

      This post should be in bold.
      It should be sent to QT,
      and printed on the movie posters so everyone going out to “enjoy the film” can ruminate on that a bit.
      You are so g.d. right Michelle.
      How sad for the Tate family. Without their consent it should never have been planned.

      Any day now the “Amy Fisher Movie” with Amy portrayed as the victim, should be coming out. or has it been done already.

  12. Bridget says:

    I find myself hoping that with all this stuff coming out about QT, he’ll be pressured to move on from his Manson movie. It is gross and tasteless. All of these movies are.

  13. Patricia says:

    I read Helter Skelter and my blood ran cold. I also read the book by the woman who stabbed Sharon (Child of Satan, Child of God, I believe) once she had been so conveniently “saved” by Jesus while rotting in jail. Also terrifying to read.
    The act of stabbing a pregnant woman in the stomach is something that is haunting enough. Truly. It is something that hurts to even think about. There’s no need to sensationalize it. It’s not enertainment. It’s the death of a woman, a mother, an unborn and loved child, in the most depraved way.

    • Sam the Pink says:

      Honestly, I’d question anybody who’d PAY to see such a film. I get that murder is a common topic in film, but generally it’s fictional. This is an actual re-enactment of a real person’s murder.

      We have all generally heard the story of the Mansons, and if people are interested, there is a host of books, documentaries (which, by the way, I’ve never seen an account that actually re-enacts the murders), etc. We don’t need this. There is enough out there already for people who want to know. This comes across as ghoulish money-grubbing.

  14. Luca76 says:

    Co sign on the You Must Remember This podcast series on the Manson Murders. It didn’t feel explorative in the least there was also an interesting Fresh Air interview with a
    Manson biographer. I can’t imagine what the families go through seeing the deaths of their loved ones sensationalized and their killers glamorized. It’s just completely distasteful.

  15. What's Inside says:

    I will not watch these movies which will be an affront to the memory of the victims. The wicked conspirators are EVIL.

  16. SlightlyAnonny says:

    I love You Must Remember This! I never thought I would care about Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff until I listened to the podcast.

  17. minx says:

    Ghoulish, IMO.

  18. lisa says:

    i wouldnt want to be in any sort of manson or manson adjacent movie

    i guess im being superstitious, but it seems like surrounding yourself with some bad vibes

  19. holly hobby says:

    Tasteless. Seriously those poor people died a horrific death. Isn’t that enough? Fight on Debra. Shut it all down.

    And Hilary is no way as good looking as Sharon Tate. Sharon was stunning.

  20. Jayna says:

    I love reading. I love books from buying hard copies, going to used book stores, going to the library. So I am ashamed to admit I’ve never read Helter Skelter. Everyone raves about it. I always mean to every time it’s mentioned, but then forget about it, until again, like now, where the novel is mentioned.

    Hillary Duff as Sharon Tate? Come on.

  21. Shannon says:

    Nah. I have better things to do with my money than watch a re-enactment of pure evil.

  22. Rocknrust says:

    I don’t know if I’d watch but I’m interested. How long are you supposed to wait after a crime to do a movie? Although a horrible murder it is part of history. People on this sight are watching the Versace movie how is it different?

  23. Sarah says:

    Hey they glorified Tonya Harding in a movie, and people even spent money to see it and validate Harding’s actions and behaviour, and tackily enough, it has won Oscar nominations which makes my blood boil. If they can make a tasteless movie glorifying a villain, then they sure will do something like this.