Movies about serial killers don’t tell the whole truth

Social media doesn’t reveal the truth about serial killers.


Zac Efron as Ted Bundy in the film “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile”

Amelia Foster, A&E Editor

The constant stream of media about serial killers lately is exhausting. Everywhere I look, there’s another movie or documentary about the “disturbing yet genius mind” of some serial killer from the late 20th century. But these people weren’t geniuses whom we should praise, they were creeps who benefited off of a system that looked the other way.

At the root of every documentary about a serial killer, at the heart of every movie exploring their brain, I promise the common theme is just that they were sexist murderers. Still they’ve been glorified to no end, to the point where people are more willing to see a charming and misunderstood man instead of acknowledging the brutal deeds he committed. It’s fine to spread information about these killers, but recognize them for what they are.

Ted Bundy has been the media’s most popular serial killer lately, with Netflix releasing both the docuseries “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” and the new movie “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile” about the events. Sure, it might be fun to watch a hot Zac Efron portray Bundy in “Extremely Wicked,” but to what cost? The first trailer set the movie up as a kind of romcom, where Bundy would be the charming man who swept the protagonist off her feet, completely ignoring the fact that he brutally killed and raped 30 young women.

Throughout Bundy’s life, throughout his trial and even now, 30 years after his death, people have only wanted to see a charming man. “Extremely Wicked” allows Bundy to tell his own story in order to make a better film, but leaves out the gory details of how Bundy would keep his victims alive for days just to torture them, or hide body parts in his apartment to admire them. A simple search for the original cases or his FBI file, which are all public record, reveals this information but it is ignored in favor of the cinematic parts of Bundy’s story.

There are hundreds of websites and blogs dedicated to deifying long-dead serial killers like Bundy, you can even buy t-shirts referencing his car that he used in nearly all of his murders. Media like “Conversations with a Killer” and “Extremely Wicked” propagate this behavior by not telling the full truth.

If you truly want to learn about serial killers, read their case file, watch the court room videos- just don’t watch one of the many new movies about them because they’re steeped in subjectivity. Stories like “Extremely Wicked” don’t tell the truth; Bundy was never a charming man, he was a loser who could only find power by hurting women.