Charles Manson, Quentin Tarantino, and Jesus Walk Onto a Movie Set

By Mark Judge Published on March 2, 2023

In a recent interview, Catholic priest and exorcist Father Vincent Lampert made a profound observation. There is only one person in the Bible who asks to follow Jesus and gets turned down. That person is the man who was possessed by demons. When the man is cured, he asks to go with Jesus and the Lord says no. Jesus tells the man to go home and be with his friends.

A Notable Lesson From the Demon-Possessed Man

According to Father Lampert, this is notable because it is a lesson about the curative power of friends and loved ones in helping those who have been overtaken by demons. The “legion” of Satan’s army prefer that we be left isolated, afraid, and alone. That Bible story speaks to our recovery from the COVID Panic, where outright lies and errors in basic critical thinking led our government to shut down our entire civilization for several years. Like the possessed man, people still feel cut off from family and community. It’s soft ground for Satan to strike.

To fully grasp the importance of this lesson, it helps to read the passage from the gospel of Mark which describes what happened after Jesus sent the demons from the man into a herd of pigs, who ran into the sea and drowned:

The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs.

And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’ And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.  (Mark 5:14-20)

Friendship as a Disruptor of Demonic Evil

At around the same time as I heard Father Lampert’s interview I was re-watching Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, the 2019 film by Quentin Tarantino. It might seem like a leap to go from an exorcist to a Brad Pitt film, but I was struck at how Hollywood taps into what Father Lampert was describing. It’s a modern story about the power of friendship to withstand and drive out demons. At it’s core sits a very conservative message. 

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood takes place in 1969, a year that many feel signaled the release of a wave of demonic forces in the West — drugs, promiscuity, the Occult. The movie centers on an actor named Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double and friend Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt).

Rick’s career is declining. He’s an old-school 1950s star, and the burgeoning world of hippies and cults is starting to encroach on him. 1969 is the year of the Charles Manson murders, which form the climax of the film. Recall what cult-leader Manson said right before he ordered his minions to murder actress Sharon Tate and her unborn baby: “I’m the devil and I’m here to do the devil’s work.”

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Again and again in Hollywood, the theme of friendship as a disruptor of demonic evil is dramatized. In one sequence Cliff Booth, who is a war veteran as well as a stuntman, goes to check on a director he once worked with. The man is in an abandoned lot inhabited by Manson-loving hippies. Booth demands to know where his friend is, refusing to leave until he has gained entry into the cabin where his friend is sleeping. The Manson groupies are dirty, wicked creatures, offering drugs, free sex, and worshiping a leader who literally thinks he is the devil.

A Happy Ending Instead of the Real One

In Tarantino’s alternate 1969, Sharon Tate is saved by Dalton and Booth. The violence in the final minutes of the film is absolutely brutal, with the Manson hippies getting a savage beating. The scene, set in the dark nocturnal atmosphere of a normally quiet house, reminded me of the final warfare between the priests and the possessed girl in The Exorcist.

We’ve also learned that Quentin Tarantino might be a deeply passionate conservative at heart. In his review in The New Yorker, Richard Brody wrote, “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood has been called Tarantino’s most personal film, and that may well be true — it’s far more revealing about Tarantino than about Hollywood itself, and his vision of the times in question turns out to be obscenely regressive.” Brody then spells out his disgust with Tarantino’s vision:

If only the old-line Hollywood people of the fifties and sixties had maintained their pride of place — if only the times hadn’t changed, if only the keys to the kingdom hadn’t been handed over to the freethinkers and decadents of the sixties — then both Hollywood and the world would be a better, safer, happier place. There’s no slur delivered more bitterly by Cliff and Rick than “hippie,” and their narrow but intense experiences in the course of the film are set up to bear out the absolute aptness of their hostility.

Replacing God With the State: From Charles Manson to Anthony Fauci

To which I say, “Amen.” Something very dark was unleashed on America in the 1960s, a spirit of intoxication and sexual abuse and the desire to replace God with the State. It is with us still. There is a path that can be traced from Manson to Dr. Fauci, two men who set themselves up as godlike leaders. These men and the people who blindly follow them are legion. Like the possessed man Jesus confronted, they do not want us with our sane and loving Christian friends. They prefer that we are isolated, alone, paranoid and cutting ourselves with rocks.


Mark Judge is a writer and filmmaker in Washington, D.C. His new book is The Devil’s Triangle: Mark Judge vs the New American Stasi.

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