What I Knew
Ted Bundy is the serial killer who interests me the least. I’m fascinated by Charles Manson’s ability to manipulate women into killing for him, thus becoming a serial killer without getting blood on his own hands. I’m fascinated by the dog of Son Of Sam; dogs are outrageously friendly to humans, so why would SOS think that one was making him kill?
Ted Bundy was my mom’s bogeyman. When she talks about him, her voice is strained with fear. She makes it sounds as if he killed and raped- in that order- right here in the Bay Area instead of just one in Northern California. She was a teenager when he was loose, and she was waiting for him to show up in town. She was expecting him to.
I may love the ’60s, but I’m fortunate to have not lived in the ’70s and ’80s. When Austin Powers described that era, he made it sound boring. It wasn’t. It was terrifying.
Watching The Tapes
It’s not black and white. I mean, the tapes themselves are literally colored television, poor quality, but pale colored nothenless. What I mean to say is, it’s not all vile. It’s nuanced.
The first tape was the best tape. It described Bundy’s childhood. Bundy thought he was a perfect, idyllic kid. A little shy, but he had friends and did well in school. One of these friends paints a different picture; yes, he had nice parents and all, but he himself was different, a little off. He had a speech impairment and was bullied. Bundy seemed to have blocked those problems from his memory a remembered only a paradise.
This is obviously a case of tainted hindsight. The woman obviously knew that Bundy was a serial killer and searched his past for clues. Bundy thinks he’s perfect, so he must’ve had a perfect past. The truth is somewhere on that spectrum, and they were on polar opposites.
One thing that they pointed out was Bundy finding out that he was illegitimate at age 14. I personally don’t see that much of a big deal. Millions, billions of people are illegitimate, myself being one of them. When I found out, it was a shock. My WIP was inspired partly by it, but it didn’t fundamentally change my identity. I was affected, but it didn’t turn me into a serial killer. I thought it was an odd thing to point at, until I heard Bundy dismiss it. I’m not saying it’s what made him a serial killer, but he was obviously affected by it and didn’t want to talk.
Bundy was diagnosed as bipolar/ manic depressive while on death row. The therapist determined that he had a manic episode during his trial, where he attempted to represent himself.
He described an “entity” that would overtake him as he killed, an entity separate from himself that thrived on murder. He didn’t claim the entity’s memories and actions as his own. He could only talk about it in the third person, because he thought of it as another person.
This honestly makes me pity him. To lose your mind and not have total control over your actions… It doesn’t excuse him. But if they had better mental health care when he was a teen, maybe he wouldn’t have killed all of those women. He would’ve been on medication, in therapy, worst case, an insane asylum.
I don’t understand why they didn’t diagnose him during the trial. Even if a man is intelligent and went to law school, if there is even a doubt of competency, he should be forced to be evaluated. He shouldn’t’ve been allowed to dismiss a good lawyer. He shouldn’t’ve been allowed to represent himself. But he was Ted Bundy, and everybody wanted him dead.
Starring Zac Efron
The documentary is good, but being a documentary, it’s a tad cut-and-dry in places. I agree that Bundy shouldn’t be sexualized, and that this is putting the survivors and families in pain. But as a writer, I recognize the potential for a damn good story. I am personally more interested in his wife Carole, but I understand the difficulty of telling her story considering that she disappeared shortly before he was executed.
The Sundance film apparently leans heavily on his long time girlfriend Liz’s perspective. She goes through living in this serial killer’s era, and starts to doubt her boyfriend after “Ted” has been spotted with witnesses.
I am not interested in Liz or her daughter. Liz fell in love with him before he was killing- Carole fell in love years after. One is a slow unraveling of finding out someone you love is a murderer. One is finding a murderer and falling in love with him. Anyone could do the first, but what kind of person would do the latter?
I am concerned about Zac Efron though. What made him go from high school sweetie to mass murderer?