Based on a true story, this film depicts the life of Theodore Robert Bundy, the serial killer. In 1974, after having murdered several young women, he leaves Seattle for Utah, where he is a ... See full summary »
Marvin J. Chomsky
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C. Thomas Howell,
Docu-drama based on the life of Ted Bundy, a serial killer who killed at least 19 young women during the 1970's (though some sources say as many as 30 to 35 were murdered). Set from his college student years, to his first victims, his capture, escape from prison (twice), his final killing spree to his trial, conviction and execution. Written by
The story of Ted Bundy is a truly fascinating one. The movie "Ted Bundy" however, failed to portray many of the most interesting periods in his life. That, along with one glaring bit of unrealism and a complete lack of tastefulness kept me from enjoying this movie. Some fine acting performances make the film watchable, but only barely.
Ted Bundy had a troubling childhood where he discovered in his early teens that he was illegitimate and that the man who had acted his father was in fact not. This was a terrible shock to young Ted and he retreated into pulp fiction detective stories that were actually soft-core pornography. Between feeling he had been betrayed by his mother and the sexual arousal he got from these stories, his pathos began to form.
All the while, Ted Bundy got good grades and kept up appearances at school. He graduated high school and college without real difficulty. He became very politically active for the Republican party here in Seattle, and made some contacts that would later be horrified to learn to whom they had given allegiance, most notably a man named Ralph Munro who would become the Attorney General of the state of Washington.
It is at this point where the movie starts, and not with his political prowess, but rather with a relationship he had with a local woman. The film depicts him trying to have genuine human contact and showing real concern to this woman, two things of which this monster was completely incapable. It only briefly shows him in a social situation where he proves highly charismatic, and can get almost anyone to like him within a few moments, a trait necessary to his future endeavors.
These scenes in Seattle offer a technical quibble as they seem to have been shot in Pasadena or some other southern CA location. There are shots with the San Gabriel Mountains in the background and some dreadful scenes at a park where the background is very sparse. Here in Seattle, one would have to drive 100 miles or more to find a park with a hillside barren of trees in the background, but this does not discourage our film makers. The most aggravating part of this is the fact that there are many places in northern CA that could have been used for Seattle without running the cost up too much, but the producers of the film were evidently not concerned.
Most of the rest of the film is devoted to his killings, and even shows a couple with seemingly perverse pleasure. While they do show him as a monster, there is almost a sick humor to them that I found somewhat inappropriate. The film does well to show that one of his jail breaks was facilitated by his befriending a guard.
The film completely disregards one of the most fascinating periods of his life however; his trial. Ted Bundy proved to be a fairly adept attorney and was able to mount a creative defense and the judge even complimented him on his litigation skills when pronouncing the verdict. While in prison awaiting trial, Ted Bundy developed a romance and went so far as to call the woman as a witness in his trial, and make his wedding vows part of his murder trial. This is totally overlooked by the movie.
All in all, this movie seems to be an excuse to show a couple of rape-murders rather than a serious attempt to understand the mental mis-wiring of one of the sickest persons ever to walk the face of the earth.
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