On Friday, the trailer for the Zac Efron’s Ted Bundy biopic, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile premiered.
The movie is told through the eyes of Bundy’s fiancé, Elizabeth Kloepfer, whose book serves as the inspiration behind the movie. In real life, Ted was a charmer and didn’t exactly fit the stereotype of a serial killer. And it’s one of the main things that Kloepfer had to come to terms with. Because how could someone who appears so amazing on the outside be capable of such heinous things?
But watching the trailer, I felt as though it romanticized and glorified Ted a little too much. And I’m not the only one who feels this way. While speaking to TMZ, Kathy Kleiner Rubin, one of Bundy’s few victims that got away said,
“I don’t have a problem with people looking at it, as long as they understand that what they’re watching wasn’t a normal person… The movie does glorify him more than I think he should be, but like I said, I think everyone should see it and understand him as what he was…”
Normally I try not to judge a book by its cover, but the trailer put such a bad taste in my mouth. All I could do was put myself in the shoes of the parents of the victims who were raped and killed by Ted. They’re not going to care about Ted’s personality and what made his so captivating, all that’s going to matter is that he raped and killed 30+ women – police speculate that his count could be in the hundreds. Wouldn’t you be disgusted by how the movie portrays your daughter’s killer?
The trailer also shines a light on the women that followed him while he was on trial. Even though Rubin hopes that people will be able to look past Bundy’s charm and realize what a monster he was, I know that’s not going to happen. For some reason, certain women and men seem to be drawn to serial killers.
Serial killer groupies are certainly nothing new (just look at Charles Manson’s harem). But I’m already seeing a pattern on Twitter among younger girls who are already fawning over the film. Even though they’re most likely obsessing over Zac Efron, there could be a few who turn that into an obsession with Ted Bundy himself.
Why do I think this? Because Netflix, which recently dropped the docuseries Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, had to release a statement on Twitter page reminding people that Bundy wasn’t hot. And the Netflix documentary didn’t even have a Hollywood heartthrob portraying Bundy. They only have pure footage of Bundy and people are still somehow finding him attractive.
According to those who’ve already seen the film at Sundance, the movie really focuses on the victims and on Bundy’s fiancé Kloepfer, who has her own internal conflict when it came to her relationship with Ted. If that’s what the movie really is about though, why not portray that in the trailer? Instead, the trailer makes Ted seem like some kind of badass as he escapes prison and charms the jury in court.
If you’re looking to get a more accurate portrayal of Ted, I highly recommend Netflix’s docuseries, which shows footage from the trial and recordings from Bundy while he was on death row. It tries to get you inside his brain; which, to me, is impossible to know the true depths of his sickness. It’s a stark contrast from what the movie trailer portrays.
In the end, I might watch the movie anyway, just to see if my assumptions were wrong. I’m not going to judge you if you decide to go see the movie because you’re fascinated by Ted Bundy… I mean, I might, just a little. But if you do, keep his victims in mind. These were young women that had so much life ahead of them, a life that was taken too soon by a disgusting, sadistic, sociopathic man.
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Alysia Stevenson is a twenty-seven New York City transplant currently living in Florida with her boyfriend and three furbabies. When she’s not writing, you can find her watching beauty tutorials on Youtube or Parks and Rec for the millionth time.