We have become fascinated with true-crime stories because of our deep desire to understand how someone could commit horrendous crimes, especially murder and rape.
This has resulted in a sudden wave of content surrounding the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy, who was executed 30 years ago for murdering at least 30 women.
The story of his life and crimes has most recently been depicted in Netflix’s documentary series "Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes," which was directed by Joe Berlinger.
The four-episode series focuses on Bundy and the heinous crimes he committed during the '70s and '80s across seven different states. During this time, serial killings peaked and the actual term “serial killer” was invented. Although it wasn’t that long ago, DNA testing was in its infancy and there were no national or state databases to connect his crimes together.
The backbone of the series relies on the interviews conducted in 1980 by reporter Stephen Michaud while Bundy was sitting on death row. Michaud admits that a traditional interview style was not working with Bundy until he proposed that Bundy speak in the third person.
The narration of Bundy analyzing his own crimes through a hypothetical man sends chills down the spine. Bundy admits to brutally murdering and sexually assaulting 30 women, although some of his comments have led investigators to believe he killed closer to a hundred women.
Along with the tapes, this show expertly weaves interviews with individuals who were involved in his case or who knew him, with archival videos and images from the time of his crimes.
Bundy is repeatedly characterized as “attractive,” “boy next door” and “charming.” In reality, he was extremely egotistical, self-righteous and cunning, which allowed him to escape jail not once, but twice. Still, the testimonies from close friends, colleagues and family indicate that some believed he was innocent.
Zac Efron (right) compared to Ted Bundy (left)
The discussion of Bundy’s attractiveness and charisma has only skyrocketed since the announcement and trailer release of the new film "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" starring Zac Efron.
Social media exploded after viewing the trailer that showcases Bundy in an almost romantic comedy type of film, which is a stark contrast to the way he is depicted in Confessions of a Killer. But both the film and the documentary series were directed by Berlinger, so the trailer may have been purposely misleading in order to gain publicity.
Netflix also recently acquired the film for $9 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter, allowing Netflix to have a monopoly on the most recent Bundy content. Many speculate that the movie will be released in the fall to give Efron and co-star Lily Collins the best shot during awards season.
But not everyone is tuning in to the Bundy craze. Annie Geitner, freshman at Salisbury University, hasn’t watched the "Ted Bundy Tapes" and doesn’t plan on it.
“I don’t understand everyone's obsession with this show and I think people calling him 'hot' on Twitter is really disturbing,” Geitner said. “I just think about the families and friends of the girls who were murdered and raped by Bundy and how they must feel about him getting all this attention.”
And after all these years, the attention and hype Bundy is receiving about his crimes would’ve made him ecstatic.
But the “Bundy binge” doesn’t end with the tapes or with Efron. Another documentary on Bundy directed by Celene Beth Calderon is expected to be released sometime this year.
Calderon is the first woman to direct a documentary on Bundy and it will focus on the “individuals who had personal or professional relationships with Bundy, including those who were left with the broken pieces of his atrocities,” Calderon said.
Ultimately, that is what "Confessions of a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes" fails to do. It hardly explores the stories of Bundy’s victims and how his trail of terror forever affected their families and friends.
The show does feature Carol DaRonch, a woman who barely escaped Bundy in 1976 after being abducted from a mall in Salt Lake City, Utah. DaRonch then went on to testify against Bundy in a trial where he was representing himself. But this is only a small part of the entire series.
"Confessions of a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes" is overall well-edited and captivating, but leaves the viewer wanting more. We never figure out what drove him to kill or why he chose his victims.
The series ends with, “People are ultimately unknowable, and Bundy is no exception.”
By SOFIA CARRASCO
Featured photos: Netflix, Popsugar images.