Charles Manson's grandson wanted to give him a 'proper burial' despite growing up under his 'menacing cloud'
'Charles Manson: The Funeral' follows Jason Freeman as he struggles to come to terms with being related to one of the most detested criminals in the US
A new documentary from the network REELZ is offering a detailed view of the journey that Jason Freeman, notorious cult leader Charles Manson's grandson, took to fight for his grandfather's remains, conduct the funeral, and spread his ashes. Freeman is thrust into this world of the sensational case that involved his grandfather as he struggles to come to terms with being related to one of the most detested criminals in the US.
SVP of REELZ Development and Production, Rob Swartz, says in an interview announcing the documentary: "This documentary shows the unusual real story confronting Jason Freeman who struggles to comprehend his role in a situation that involves family, infamy and the inevitable event of death. Freeman's story will no doubt leave viewers asking themselves what they would do if faced with similar circumstances."
Many years before Manson became the infamous cult leader in California, he was married to a woman in Ohio named Rosalie Jean. The couple had a son, who they named Charles Manson Jr., who would go on to father Freeman. Freeman's father and mother never tied the knot so he kept his mother's maiden name. This didn't stop the looming shadow from being above him constantly, from which his mother was able to shield him for most of his life.
Freeman was only 16 years old when his father took his own life. This was after he unofficially went by the name of Jay White in order to protect his family from the media glare that would have followed if his true identity was revealed. For a young Freeman, however, he was left with the feeling of utter disappointment and anger at his father leaving him alone at a crucial point in his life.
His anger soon turned into curiosity as he finally decided to go on a journey to find out more details about his grandfather and what it meant for his own family. The director of the documentary, Buddy Day, said in an interview: "We wanted to explore the incredibly complicated choices in Jason Freeman's story."
Day continued: "What goes through your mind when this evil person who hardly anyone wants to be associated with is your grandpa and now you have his body? Do you ignore it? Embrace it? At the end of the day, Manson was still a family member and despite the menacing Manson cloud Freeman grew up with he still feels his grandpa deserved a proper burial."
The documentary follows Freeman every step of the way as he starts to come to terms with the haunting legacy his grandfather left behind in the form of the heinous murders, as well as the enormous weight the Manson name carries. The film shows first-time footage of the service along with the cremation. It even shows captivated audiences what happens when Freeman meets Manson supporters at the funeral when they come to say goodbye to the cult leader.
Freeman then ventures to the home of former Manson Family member, Diane Lake, who gives him a lot of insight into what life at Manson's Spahn Ranch was really like when she was still a member of the killer group. In the middle of all of Freeman's own dilemma when it came to claiming his grandfather's body, holding the funeral and then cremating him, Freeman's wife is also thrust into the media glare just by association.
Shawn Moreland, Freeman's mother, also appears in the film to offer her first-hand story about how she had to shield her son from his grandfather's evil. This all ended up being quite ironic after he took the obligation on himself to conduct the funeral for the notorious cult leader. The Manson supporters who attended the funeral and gave interviews for the documentary included John Michael "J.J." Jones, Craig "Gray Wolf" Hammond, and Billy Gram.
The two-hour documentary, 'Charles Manson: The Funeral', premieres on Saturday, April 13, 2019, at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT.