The trailer for the new movie about serial killer, Ted Bundy, aired last weekend the movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
The film, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” portrays Bundy— played by Zac Efron— as everything he was: manipulative, maniacal, and attractive.
“I’m worried that with such a well-known—and seen by many as attractive—actor playing Ted Bundy, it will lead to people romanticizing him, which is dangerous,” said Kara Denike (’20).
The film is being ridiculed as romanticizing the idea of the serial killer’s life and his killings, but some argue that this is the nature of popular culture and media towards crimes.
“We romanticize serial killers in general,” said Matt Cicci, Professor of English and Digital Rhetoric.
“We make movies about them, people write best-selling novels about them, and then someone like Ted Bundy comes along and all of a sudden there are these memes about how attractive he is. I think what we are really talking about is this longstanding tradition of romanticizing serial killers.”
Cicci further said that the media tends to exalt white male serial killers but rarely attempts such post crime reframing with minority or female criminals.
“I think there’s a fine line to walk between being interested and romanticizing him and other serial killers,” said Denike.
The largest issue that media seems to have is the fact that Zac Efron, who has a past as being a heartthrob and the star of High School Musical, is portraying Bundy in the movie.
“This whole [debate] exists much further beyond the whole Zac Efron thing, and while it probably is a valid argument, I think it finds its roots in a longstanding history of glorifying such thing,” said Cicci.
Others believe that Efron portraying Bundy shows that any regular person could be dangerous to society.
“Not all serial killers are creepy people hiding in their basements,” said Nicole Reece (’20).
“It puts into perspective that you need to be cautious with everyone you meet. [Bundy] was a charming man. I wouldn’t go as far to say that he wasfacially attractive, but he had that charm factor, where people wanted to help him. That’s how he lured them.”
“It can’t completely judge whether it is a good thing or not that [Efron] is playing him because I haven’t seen the film yet,” Reece added.
“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” hasn’t been released yet near Alma, but once it is, perhaps Bundy film creates conversation students will see it and create their opinions then about whether the media portrays Bundy — along with other serial killers — as romanticized or in an accurate way.