New films unearth infamous serial killer

The story of Ted Bundy was recently dramatized in the new Netflix docuseries, “Conversations with a Killer: the Ted Bundy Tapes”

A name has resurfaced that most alive in the ’70s hoped they would never have to hear again: Ted Bundy.

Bundy was an infamous serial killer who was active in the years of 1974-1976. He confessed to murdering and raping 30 women without any sort of remorse; however he is suspected of killing many more, and now Netflix has used tapes that Bundy himself spoke on for a docuseries, “Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.”

The series documents the years that he was active, from when authorities didn’t realize they had a serial murderer on their hands, to Bundy’s many escapes from prison, to his execution.

Although I am not a big fan of documentaries, I actually was on the edge of my seat for most of this. The episodes often ended on cliffhangers, my favorite of which was Bundy chronicling his jump out of the courthouse library window to escape the police. It made me click on the next episode regardless of how late it was.

I felt that the flow of the series was really cohesive. There were no moments where I felt that I was missing any part of the story.

The story being told by a narrator as well as snippets from Bundy himself was equal parts interesting and chilling.

There were moments where I actually had chills running down my spine from how heartless he really was, and how confident he was that he could actually get away with murder.

It was also fascinating to visibly watch public opinion shift from never believing that a college educated, good looking man could murder 30 innocent women, to chanting “Burn, Bundy! Burn!” outside his prison. 

The docuseries is not the only Bundy-centric thing being released this year. Just recently, the trailer for “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” was released.

When I first heard of this movie, the title confused me because it was so long. However after watching the Netflix documentary, it made perfect sense.

At the end of the trial where Bundy was given the death sentence, the presiding judge, Edward G. Cowart, said this to Bundy, “The court finds that both of these killings were indeed heinous, atrocious and cruel and that they were extremely wicked, shockingly evil, vile and the product of a design to inflict a high degree of pain and utter indifference to human life.”

I thought the integration of his sentencing into the title of the movie was especially compelling.

Many parts of the trailer include actual things that Bundy said, including the line, “I’m gagged and you’re not,” which is what he said in retaliation to the media not allowing him to speak on television.

The movie trailer also introduced Zac Efron as Bundy, which caused an uproar of complaints.

Most of these complaints include people concerned that casting Efron will cause people to idolize and glorify what Bundy did.

While I do agree that the decision to cast a well known “heartthrob” as one of the most prolific serial killers of all time was not the best decision, I do not believe this will glorify what Bundy did.

The thing is, back in the day, Bundy was semi-glorified. During his trials, women and teenage girls would come to them, and many said they came to see him. With one even saying, “I don’t see him doin’ any of that stuff they say he did.”

Many people supported Bundy and believed him to be innocent until he confessed to brutally beating and raping women as a last grab at extending his death row sentence. 

I have hopes that this new movie will take itself seriously and not become the romantic thriller the trailer portrays. 

What people need to understand when going to this movie is that the murders in it are not some fantasy thing. Those were real women with real families who were murdered by a sociopath. This is no subject to take lightly or to glorify.

Timeline of a murderer

January 1974 – Bundy attacks and sexually assaults Karen Sparks in her apartment

February 1974 – Bundy commits his first known murder of Lynda Ann Healy, a college student from Washington whose remains were later found at a Taylor Mountain Site.

Early 1974 – Bundy commits seven more murders throughout Washington and Colorado.

Late 1974 – Bundy moves to Utah, where he murders two more women, Nancy Wilcox and Melissa Smith.

Nov. 1974 – Bundy attempts to abduct Carol DaRonch, but fails.

December 1974 – Elizabeth Kloepfer, Bundy’s then girlfriend, reports him to the authorities.

August 1975 – Bundy is arrested for the first time. He is pulled over by police and found to have suspicious items in the back of his car (a ski mask and handcuffs) and is subsequently arrested. He is later released due to lack of evidence.

Sept. 1975 – Carol DaRonch identifies Bundy as her kidnapper in a lineup.

February 1976 – Bundy is found guilty of attempting to kidnap Carol DaRonch and is sentenced to 15 years in Utah State Prison.

June 1977 – Bundy escapes from the courthouse where he was standing trial as his own attorney, by jumping out of the buildings second story window. He is later found and sent back to jail.

December 1977 – Bundy escapes yet again, this time by a hole in his cell’s ceiling. No one realizes he is gone until the day after his late night escape.

End of 1977 – Bundy makes his way to Florida where he assumes no one has heard of him.

January 1978 – Bundy breaks into the Chi Omega sorority house where he kills two women and beats two more within an inch of their lives.

February 1978 – Bundy attempts to flee Florida but is caught and arrested.

June 1979 – Bundy is put on trial for the Chi Omega murders of which he is convicted of doing. The trial leading up to this verdict is the first ever to be televised.

February 1980 – Bundy married Carol Ann Boone during his second trial in Florida. He is sentenced to death by electrocution.

1984 – Bundy attempts to escape prison but is caught and relocated.

1984-1989 – Bundy continuously confesses his crimes to anyone who will listen. He takes credit for most of the murders he is suspected of, along with confessing to others the police had no idea about. 

January 1989 – Bundy dies via the electric chair at age 42.

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