A monster in the making

Just days before Charles Manson's death in November 2017, a new podcast from Hollywood and Crime about his life,"Young Charlie," debuted at #1 on iTunes.

Narrated by Tracy Pattin and actor Steven Lang, the podcast is written by screenwriter and director Larry Brand. The acclaimed director, who directed "Beyond Glory," "Christina" and "Halloween Resurrection," joined Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams to discuss how a troubled boy from West Virginia ended up becoming a dangerous cult leader and why he continues to be an American pop culture phenomenon.

Brand believes America's fascination with Manson has less to do with the man himself and more to do with the intricacies of the human brain. According to Brand, Americans are not so much fascinated by Manson necessarily, but rather innately enthralled by evil, such as obsessing over murders and child kidnappings.

He goes on to say that he believes years of human evolution have lead to this inherent captivation with every terrible news story or headline that crosses our path. "Even if it's a thousand miles away our brains are on the alert as if it were next door. That's the way we evolved, to worry about what happened next door," Brand said. "When we hear about a spectacular murder, whether it's Charlie or Ted Bundy or Andrew Cunanan who killed Versace, we have this impression that we need to know this information. It's really important for us to know this information."

Watch the full episode above to learn more about the "Young Charlie" podcast and the childhood and upbringing of one of Hollywood's most infamous murders.

Tune into SalonTV's live shows, "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage," daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT, streaming live on Salon, Facebook and Periscope.

More From This Week on SalonTV