By Madison Roper
If you are unfamiliar with Ted Bundy, he was one of the most notorious serial killers in America. He was convicted of killing at least 30 women in multiple states in the 1970s.
This past January was the 30-year anniversary of Bundy’s execution for the murders. The anniversary seemed to have created an influx of interest in him.
A part of it was the documentary, “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,” and a movie, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” starring Zac Efron as Bundy. Both are Netflix Originals.
The documentary presented tape audio of Bundy that had never been heard by the public before, it keeps things factual and thorough.
“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” had a much different take.
A large part of the movie that intrigued me was the way it shows Bundy’s relationships with two different women. The movie had an effect that made me question Bundy’s guilt.
The first woman was Elizabeth Kloepfer, who was with Bundy for seven years. The second is Carole Ann Boone, an old friend who was with Bundy while he was in jail.
The movie is seen through the perspective of Bundy’s long-term girlfriend, Kloepfer, who only really knew Bundy when he was putting on an act for her, to manipulate her.
It mostly focuses on his time in custody, where details of his multiple arrests and two escapes were public information.
Kloepfer was one person that anonymously called Bundy into the police. She called the police multiple times on his strange behavior, however, she still didn’t 100 percent believe that Bundy was guilty and police assured her that he didn’t match certain aspects.
In the Netflix Original, Kloepfer, played by Lily Collins, ignores or tries to excuse away any evidence presented in his court hearings.
Boone is the mother of Bundy’s only child, who was, according to the movie, conceived during one of Boone’s visits to Bundy where she paid a guard to look the other way.
In the movie, Kloepfer didn’t know what to believe while Boone believed Bundy to be innocent.
With both women, it is shown how Bundy emotionally manipulated them.
The points where this is most obvious is in the scenes where Bundy is visited by each of the women.
After Bundy’s first escape, Kloepfer visits him. In the movie, Bundy gives Kloepfer a gift. She says “I’m sorry, I didn’t get you anything.” His response is “You brought me the only thing I wanted in the entire world.”
If this was a regular couple, that could be cute. But Bundy quickly transitions into a mode of manipulation.
Bundy’s gift was a book that meant to “never lose hope”. He uses that to emotionally control Kloepfer, to keep her on his side.
“Running was foolish of me. But you weren’t answering my calls.” He starts to play victim to Kloepfer, to make her believe that he has done nothing wrong.
I believe this kind of control is exactly why the movie feels so unsettling at times, it’s because that is how Kloepfer was feeling mentally.
When Boone first visits Bundy, he doesn’t hesitate for a second to start playing victim again. He wanted pity to get her sympathy, and to use Boone as a way to get to the press since he wasn’t able to.
“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” is a movie that I believe gives a great view of Bundy, of who he truly was: a manipulator.
It shows how quickly someone can start to control another person, and he did that with so many women.
To all the people who are not disgusted by Bundy’s horrid actions as a killer and a manipulator, but instead find him to be attractive, you honestly worry me.
If a man as mentally disturbed as him can get through to you only through a screen, I wish you the best of luck with real people.