A rehashing of the past: The 2019 films that are remembering the crimes of Ted Bundy

Back to Article
Back to Article

A rehashing of the past: The 2019 films that are remembering the crimes of Ted Bundy


Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

  After the highly anticipated Netflix series “Conversation with a killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” was released in January, Netflix received some great reviews, along with some particularly disturbing reviews. Fans took to Twitter and other social media platforms only to talk about how “hot” they found Ted Bundy – a serial murderer, rapist, and necrophile. Apparently, this isn’t the first time Bundy has been idolized.

  The series is a documentary that features a number of the actual tape recordings used by interviewer Stephen Michaud to incriminate Bundy. Michaud was able to trick the childlike psyche of Bundy into exposing his own detailed motives and crimes in the third person.

  Bundy’s downward spiral began after a rough breakup with his long time girlfriend in college. His killing spree begun as he murdered about 20 women during the summer between his graduation and starting law school, and this was only the beginning. Bundy would manipulate and lure women, and  knock them over the head with the crowbar. After the victim was unconscious or even dead, he would continue to commit other nefarious crimes against them. Michaud interviewed Bundy for over 100 hours while on death row after being convicted of attempted kidnapping and the murder and rape of 36 women; According to studies, however, it is said that Bundy may have killed almost 100 women.

  Earlier this year in January, the Sundance Festival previewed the new film on Ted Bundy called “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.” Critics had great things to say about the film, and commended Zac Efron on his exceptionally accurate performance.

  Owen Gleiberman with Variety says that, “[With] Zac Efron as Ted Bundy, the movie devotes so much screen time to Bundy’s “normal” side — i.e., the side that wasn’t out bashing, strangling, and dismembering young women — that you could make a case that the film itself is compartmentalizing Bundy’s evil.” This charming characteristic of Ted Bundy made it very difficult to depict him exactly as he was, because Bundy never looked like the gruesome killer that he was.

 Kate Erbland with Indiewire said, ““Extremely Vile” isn’t a glossy or loving look at Bundy. More sad than salacious, it’s the rare film about a criminal that offers human details without humanizing a man who so many agree was a monster.” Erbland debunked the reviews that accused director Joe Berlinger of glamorizing and humanizing, with her take on the film.

  Some survivors of Bundy even stood up and spoke out about their feelings towards the general attention, publicity, and the entertainment attention that Ted Bundy receives from the media.

  Kathy Kleiner Rubin, one of the Bundy survivors from the bloody sorority house attack at the Florida State University, said that “as long as they understand that what they’re watching wasn’t a normal person,” she is generally comfortable with the movie. She does however comment on the glamorization of Bundy in the film and wants to make sure that he is depicted in light of the way that he actually was. She too commented on Bundy’s manipulative looks and disposition, and appreciates that the movie will teach woman to not trust any face, no matter who the person is or how they look.

   Although there were some good reviews, the majority of critics were reeling over the shockingly lenient depiction of Bundy, because he is played by heartthrob Zach Efron. Movie critics also complained that the movie does not depict Ted Bundy in the right light; he is almost posed as a misunderstood individual, rather than a serial killer.

  Critic Emily Yoshida claimed that the movie itself was underwhelming to the actual story, and that it merely scratched the surface of an unbelievable story; “Berlinger’s film gets sucked into the gravity of sensational events that are already a matter of public record, and spends so much time meticulously recreating them that the perspective is diluted. It isn’t long before the film seems to lose any perspective at all.”

  The film is set to be released quite soon to Netflix to join the Ted Bundy Tapes. Although the film can be argued to be a pointless rehashing of the past, it can also be argued as a film that reminds people that serial killers can be the complete opposite of what they seem.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email