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Sexualizing Ted Bundy

2-5-2019

Chris Sahovey, Contributing Writer

Zac Efron plays Ted Bundy in the movie, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile”, and he’s receiving a lot of backlash for it. In a recent interview with Independent, an international news organization out of the UK, the director of the film, Joe Berlinger, called it a “naïve and knee-jerk reaction.” Although the film received excellent reviews at the Sundance Film Festival where it first premiered, the trailer was criticized when it went online because it shows Efron topless in a shower scene which some say is an attempt to sexualize the character.

“If you actually watch the movie, the last thing we’re doing is glorifying him. He gets his due at the end, but we’re portraying the experience of how one becomes a victim to that kind of psychopathic seduction,” Berlinger said in a statement with Independent. He acknowledges that while there may be an element of making entertainment from misery, there are “valid lessons to be learned from these topics.

Bundy was executed at the Florida State Prison in 1989 after being found guilty of raping, murdering, and dismembering more than 30 women. One of Budy’s surviving victims, Kathy Kleiner Rubin, spoke about the film saying she “doesn’t have a problem” with people watching the film, “as long as they understand that what they’re watching wasn’t a normal person”.

In an interview with Bundy in 1989 right before his execution, Budy was quoted as saying, “I’ve always preferred women to men, I probably have sixty percent women friends and close to 40 percent men friends. It’s always been divided that way. I enjoy women.”

As we now know, Bundy’s victims were all young women, and his crimes were committed so violently that a judge later coined them as “extremely wicked, shocking evil, and vile”, giving the film its name.

Bundy had plans after college to get into law school, after not getting into any of the law schools he had hoped he began to feel rejected, and his relationship with then-girlfriend, Diane Marjorie Jean Edwards, deteriorated quickly.

“I experienced any number of insecurities with Diane. There were occasions when I felt that she expected a great deal more from me than I really capable of giving. I was not in any position to take her out and squire her around in the manner in which she was accustomed…or buy her clothes,” Bundy said.

According to Bundy, Elizabeth was The One from the first moment they met in a bar.

“She was from a Mormon family. She was from a wealthy background. She was somewhat meek. Liz had a child that she had to raise alone for a time.”

Edwards published a memoir, The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy in 1981 under the pen name Elizabeth Kendall. She has kept a very low-profile, never publicly speaking about Bundy, according to an article about their relationship in E News published just this month.

There were, of course, many other women and victims. To learn more about Bundy and his life, watch the docu-series on Netflix which is out now.