Friday, May 19, 2017

The Ted Bundy Movie with the Trainwreck Title

They're making a Ted Bundy movie with the kid from High School Musical, and they're calling it Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. Holy crap, that title. Whenever I think of Zac Efron I think of my old roommate's ten year old daughter and her obsession with the Disney movies even though Efron's been "all grown up" for years. I can't stop thinking of him as a pre-teen heart throb, but I wasn't particularly bothered by his casting as Bundy. Bundy gets a rap as being handsome and charming, and Efron can pull off both.

In fact, Zac Efron as Ted Bundy is the thing about this movie I like the most. The title reads like a working title, or, not even that. Like they described what they wanted the movie to be, and decided "Fuck it, let's call it that!" The director is the guy who did Blair Witch 2 (Like... what?!) and the premise is at best confusing. All early press has been Efron playing Bundy, but the film is supposed to be told through the eyes of his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer. The problem with that is... there doesn't seem to be any casting information on her, and she wasn't actually involved in... well anything. She went back and forth between vehemently defending Bundy against allegations and secretly calling the tip line to report him. I'm not sure what the hell the movie is going to be about if it's told from her point of view. While the story of her internal debates and fear for herself and her daughter may be very interesting, it would seem dismissive to focus on the way he victimized her without getting into the actual murders he committed - none of which she witnessed or was involved in. 

To make matters worse, TMZ interviewed Bundy's lawyer (who is shopping his memoirs around, because of course he is) and ran this: "Efron's background as a charming heartthrob gives him an edge tapping into Bundy's persona -- the smooth talking, good looking guy who seduced young women."

Bundy didn't "seduce" young women, he kidnapped and murdered them. 

It's not a direct quote so I don't know who to put the blame on, but let's all just take a moment to vomit and move on. There's all sorts of buzz about this movie, but I gotta tell ya - there are only two things I think about when I think about Ted Bundy. The terror he caused, and the look of his dead eyes after his execution. Neither give me any comfort, and neither make me think of "seduction." 

I have a personal and professional interest in Bundy and the way he turned being an inoffensive looking young Republican into a way to meet and murder girls - but this movie makes me nervous for a lot of reasons. I hope I'm wrong. It would be really fantastic to see Bundy through the eyes of a woman who trusted him. Kloepfer is another victim of Bundy's when all is said and done.

I don't think the public interest in Ted Bundy is going to quell anytime soon, and this movie is already getting attention from every angle. With Efron as the star, it will probably attract a whole new crew of Ted-Heads who can't help but be charmed by the facade Bundy put out, even as they consume the gory details of the horrible things he did. Of course, that's not the film's fault, nor is it the actor's. It's the strange reality of Ted Bundy, and what keeps him popular. It's what allows his lawyer to refer to his crimes as "seduction."I hope it's a good film. I hope it treats the victims with respect. I'm not holding my breath.

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