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Phoenix Rising Part One: The Marilyn Manson/Evan Rachel Wood Saga

Phoenix Rising
Marilyn Manson and Evan Rachel Wood

Since I am not a fan of either, it has been interesting to follow the Marilyn Manson/Evan Rachel Wood saga from afar. The drama culminated today with the airing of Wood’s documentary, “Phoenix Rising” on HBO. I have just watched part one and I am certainly interested in watching the second part, but nothing in the movie convinced me one way or the other. Do I think that Marilyn Manson could be violent and somewhat abusive after a drug binge and one of his crazy shows? Sure, it’s not too difficult to imagine him smashing things across a hotel room, or bullying a woman, but the documentary suffers from some manipulative editing that plays a great disservice to Wood’s cause.

Wood and Manson had an on and off relationship for four years and a half (from 2006 to 2011) after he noticed her at a Chateau Marmont party. She was 18, he was a fan of her work – he knew her from the girl from the movie “Thirteen” – and he asked her to participate in his new project, “Phantasmagoria,” inspired by Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland (the project was never made). The two soon become friends, “really fast,” and she is excited because of his rock icon status: “A cool artist who thinks I am smart, it felt good,” she says. They have conversations about art while drinking absinthe and things progress rapidly despite the fact that she already has a boyfriend and Manson a wife.

During the entire movie, Evan Rachel Wood and the family members who are interviewed insist greatly on the fact that she was very young (she was 18-19) while the documentary uses animation where Wood looks like Alice in Wonderland, so like a little girl. When she describes Manson’s first attempt to kiss her, we immediately see a cartoon of her as this innocent 7-year-old Alice-like girl, when in real life she was 18, so of legal age. If Manson really abused her, if everything she says is true, do we need to be manipulated like this? Many will object to a relationship between an 18-year-old and a 37-year-old but it’s still legal and that’s why there’s no need to push this fake pedophile agenda. Besides the animation, there is a lot of footage of her as a child which just seems to have been included at the right moment to reinforce the idea of pedophilia.

Despite playing very mature characters on screen, she says she was homeschooled and very inexperienced. “I was so in the dark,” she says referring to her sexual education as if she had grown up a century ago. My grandmother was in the dark, but I have a hard time believing that a young girl, even homeschooled, was in the dark in the ‘00s.

Then, when she recalls the first time Manson kissed her, she says, “that was the first time a MAN was kissing me,” alluding to the fact that her previous boyfriend was as young as her. The problem is that Wood also dated Edward Norton (36 at the time) when she was 18, so before Manson. Another source even reports she was dating Norton in 2004, so before she was even 18, which should make him a bit nervous these days. Anyway, saying this was the first time a man had kissed her is an obvious lie, and it doesn’t serve her cause very well.

During her efforts to pass new legislation with the Phoenix act activists, she describes the violence, isolation, sleep deprivation, starvation, threats, fear, even torture that she had to endure, and how terrified she has been to name Brian Warner (Manson’s real name) publicly. She also declares she was raped by Manson during the filming of the video “Heart-Shaped Glasses,” after she had been fed absinthe. At the time, Manson allegedly made her say that the sex scenes were not real.

Overall, she truly looks traumatized by her experience with Manson, all her accusations may be true, but once again, why include the cute Alice animation, the false innocence?

There is also a segment describing Manson as a Nazi, and a Hitler idolater. Manson is well known to have pushed every button that exists including using Nazi imagery on stage, but this part seems to be there just to paint him as the evil character he plays on stage. Are we this stupid? If her case against Manson is strong, she doesn’t need all this problematic manipulation.

The first part of the documentary ends by saying that the filmmakers have attempted to reach Manson, unsuccessfully. This had a strong deja-vu feeling if you have watched the Allen vs Farrow documentary, another unbalanced movie that also aired on HBO.

Manson has not only denied all the accusations but filed a defamation lawsuit, making serious accusations against Wood and several other women. Among the accusations, the lawsuit claims that the women forged a letter impersonating an FBI agent who is allegedly investigating Manson. According to the lawsuit, the letter would have been used to recruit other women to make allegations.

I suppose we will hear about these women in part 2 of “Phoenix Rising” The saga continues tomorrow.

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