Ted Bundy (2002) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
Ted Bundy (2002) is a reasonably accurate depiction of the man that the term serial killer was invented for. The odd things about him were that he was clean cut, good looking, and most people found him charming. In fact, that sex appeal is how he lured most of his victims to where he could rape and murder them. Even while on death row, he had letters from at least 200 women who wanted to marry him.
|At the beginning of the film, we see his anger towards women gradually escalate from "Peeping Tom" to brutal murder. His girlfriend, played by Boti Bliss, never caught on that he was strange, even when he handcuffed her to the bed and asked her to excite him by pretending she was dead.||
|It is more like a docudrama than a character study, but they didn't hold back on the brutality. If the subject of serial killers interests you, this one is worth a watch.|
Put yourself in the director's shoes for a minute. You plan to make a film about a serial killer. How do you plan to make it something that people will watch? You have several options:
1. Impartial documentation of the action.
2. Sensational documentation of the action.
3. Placing it in the context of a plot contrived for the occasion - perhaps all the clues lead to some revelation about the man.
4. Psychological insight into what made the killer what he was.
5. Insight into the relationship between the killer and society, including elements in society which produce such men.
This film really didn't go for a "storytelling" technique or an "insight" technique. From the list above, one would conclude that it hovered between options one and two. It tried to show the horror of what it was like to be there as a victim. It tried to show the horror of Bundy's ultimate electrocution, including the death-lust of the people who lined the streets cheering his execution. It was quite sensational - enough so that I turned away a few times because I just didn't want to watch it.
I wasn't really able to pick much of a point out of it. If it gives any abiding impression, it is that Bundy was one of us. His childhood wasn't perfect, but there was no great aberrance in his life that fueled his murderous rages. He was a clean-cut guy with little-boy charm and a handsome face. I don't know why a guy like him committed these crimes. That would be an interesting subject for a film. It was not, however, the subject of this film. This story told the facts in chronological order, and if it suffered from any great weakness, it was a lack of depth.
If the film had a great strength, it was making us aware that he walked among us. He carried his wrapped victims past us and we never noticed, because he looked like a college guy moving into a new apartment. Even after escaping from prison, he walked among us, and might have stayed out forever if he had been able to act normal from that point on. He could not. He murdered again, stalked again, and was imprisoned again. But those who met him were always astounded to hear of his deeds, because he made love to them, went to public events with them, chatted with them amiably, was a loving stepfather to his fiancée's daughter, and showed no more signs of uncontrolled anger than many of us might show.
And perhaps this is really a horror film in the deepest sense, because the greatest horror of all is that this is a true story and he was a real man, and if he had came calling on our daughters, we would have been pleased to see such a polite, educated, respectful fellow. There was no defense against Bundy, because there was no advance warning.
The film stops short of extreme gore. The beatings are portrayed as cruel and ugly, but our vantage point usually focuses on Bundy's face, not on the victims. It also has a sexual bondage scene with explicit dialogue, and a graphic portrayal of death by electrocution. It is certainly not suitable material for children. Frankly, I'm not sure it was suitable for me, and I don't want to think about it any more.
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