Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time…’ Climactic Scene Was ‘Fitting,’ Ex-Manson Family Member Says

“I thought the ending was very clever,” Dianne Lake tells The Daily Beast

Last Updated: August 16, 2019 @ 10:33 AM

Spoiler alert: Please do not read on if you haven’t seen Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”

One more person is singing Quentin Tarantino’s praises for the final scene of “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”: former Manson Family member Dianne Lake.

“I thought the ending was very clever,” Lake said in a review of the film in The Daily Beast on Friday.

The climactic scene is a reimagined take on the 1969 murder of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four other people at the hands of Charles Manson disciples — who all meet very different fates to what really happened.

“You know, I loved those people. It’s hard,” Lake said about the Manson Family members that committed the crime in real life — and were destroyed in the movie. “But they did commit these horrific, brutal … They committed mayhem. It was only fitting that the mayhem ended up on them.”

Lake became the youngest member of the Manson Family when she joined at age 14 in 1967. Three years later, she was the star witness in the trial that put Manson and several of his followers behind bars.

Overall, she seemed to enjoy “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood,” complimenting the movie’s depiction of Spahn Ranch, where the Manson Family resided on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

In Tarantino’s version, Lake — who was nicknamed “Snake” by family members — is played by actress Sydney Sweeney when Brad Pitt (as stuntman Cliff Booth) visits the ranch.

Lake did push back against the film’s fictionalized motivation for the Manson Family’s attack, though, where several members talk about the need to kill the people who taught them to kill — actors — while outside Tate’s home. Lake said the attack was spurred on by Manson’s obsession with setting off a race war in the U.S., as prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi argued at trial.

“I know that there’s a lot of people out there that say that’s BS, but I was there. He had been talking about this race war for a long time,” Lake said. “Then once The White Album came out, it was Helter Skelter. But it was still this race war, and we were preparing for it. And once it was over, ta-da! Charlie and family would rise from the ashes and, you know, repopulate the earth and fix everything. Charlie thought he was this Messiah. He thought he was Christ, coming again. It was just crazy.”

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