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Everything You Need to Know About the New Ted Bundy Movie

There’s been a lot of buzz about the upcoming movie “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile” which focuses on the life of serial killer Ted Bundy. While people seem excited for the movie’s release, the movie has also raised concerns that Zac Efron’s portrayal of Bundy will glorify the killer. Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming movie:

Background on Bundy

Ted Bundy was a serial killer who confessed to murdering 36 women between 1974-78, although it is estimated that he killed far more. The title of the movie actually comes from his sentencing in which the judge said:

“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.”

Perhaps the most terrifying part about Bundy was that he portrayed himself as a normal guy. People would describe him as charming, and that’s why no one thought he committed the crimes until he was sentenced. Adding to his normalcy, he had a girlfriend of seven years, Elizabeth, who never suspected him until his arrest.

Elements of the Film

The film’s cast list includes a lot of big names. Zac Efron will play Ted Bundy and Lily Collins will play his girlfriend, Elizabeth. Kaya Scodelario will play Carole Boone, who Bundy married while on death row. John Malkovich will play the judge, Jim Parsons will play the lead prosecutor and Haley Joel Osment will be a detective.

Another exciting element of the movie is that it will be told from Elizabeth’s perspective, not Bundy’s. It is speculated that it will be based off of her book The Phantom Prince: My Life With Ted Bundy, which she wrote in 1981. The movie will focus on her realization that her boyfriend is a psychopath.

Criticism of the Film

The movie has received criticism even before airing. Why? People are saying that the film glorifies Bundy because Zac Efron is portraying him as a charming, normal guy. Kathy Kleiner Ruben, a survivor of Bundy’s assault, agrees that the film glorifies the killer, but says that people should still watch it to spread awareness that there is evil in the world.

People were also concerned when the “Ted Bundy is Hot”  movement gained attention. Girls were posting on Twitter about how hot they think he is, disregarding the fact that he killed more than 30 women. Even Netflix responded, basically saying that there are plenty other hot men who haven’t killed people.

Defending the Film

Zac Efron has defended the film, telling Entertainment Tonight that “he wasn’t a person to be glorified” and that the movie “simply tells a story and sort of how the world was able to be charmed over by this guy who was notoriously evil and the vexing position that so many people were put in, [that] the world was put in.”

Fans have also taken to Twitter, saying that the reason Efron is portraying Ted Bundy as hot and charming is because that’s what Bundy was. That’s why he fit in so well and no one suspected him. Even after he was arrested, no one believed he was guilty until he was convicted. It’s a great take on the fact that murderers don’t have to look the part. They can be the boy next door.

Why Zac Efron Took the Role

Efron was criticized for playing the serial killer, but he says that it was the film’s psychological element that appealed to him. In an interview with Variety, he said, “Initially, I had reservations about playing a serial killer. I’ve seen people make horror films like this before, and it seems like an aggressive play to separate yourself from a perceived image.”

In an interview with WENN, he said, “The most interesting and exciting thing for me to contribute to the movie was Ted had this thing about him, this facade, his charm, and the way that he worked with people. A lot of people in prison loved him. Cops that knew him seemed to think he was an OK guy. It wasn’t until after he fully admitted to everything that most of the world really believed that Ted was even capable of these things. He pulled the wool over our eyes.”

The movie debuted at Sundance Film Festival and is set to come out later this year.  

Katya Awar

Northeastern '22

I'm a sophomore at Northeastern University majoring in Media and Screen Studies and minoring in English and Musical Theater. I hope to be a screen writer one day!
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