True crime dramas are surging in popularity on both network and subscription services and Netflix is no exception.
The subscription service, responsible for last year’s Making of a Murderer and multiple crime documentaries is back again, this time with a profile of serial killer Ted Bundy. This dramatization of the real life murderer features former teen star Zac Efron in the titular role, and he has some interesting thoughts about the killer — founded more in today’s climate of social justice than the actual crimes perpetrated by Bundy in the 70s.
The latest Netflix crime original, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” casts Efron in the role of multiple murderer Ted Bundy. The film follows the killer’s life and crimes. The killer’s good looks, charm, and outlandish behavior has made him the subject of multiple books and documentaries. This is the latest in a long stream of materials beginning before the killer’s execution.
Speaking to Fox News, Efron spoke out about his belief on how Bundy got away with his crimes for so long.
“Ted Bundy is a vile, vile human being,” he said. “There is no part of this at all… I can’t express how much I loathe the man that this movie is about.”
Bundy’s crimes make him one of the most reviled and feared serial killer of all time, but Efron also brought some more contemporary commentary to the role. Founded more in the social justice mode so popular today, he highlighted the killer’s “white privilege” as one of the key reasons Bundy eluded capture and punishment for so long.
Instead of noting that these crimes were committed during a time when the understanding of serial killers and behavioral science was in its infancy, Efron felt the killer went unpunished for so long because of his skin color. According to Ann Rule’s “The Killer Beside Me” and multiple crime experts, the reason Bundy was undetected for so long was because he moved around a lot – heading from one coast to the other in search of victims. He also benefited from the rudimentary technology of the day, which did not allow police in one location to cross-reference similar crimes in another jurisdiction across the country, so his many murders were not connected for a long time.
“The fact is that this movie really happened. The fact is that the whole world, literally, all the media, everybody, was capable of believing that this guy was innocent. Talk about white privilege, talk about white… whatever. Every major topic in this movie is bent on showing you how evil this person is,” Efron added.
Efron acknowledges that Bundy was evil, but highlights the killer’s eventual media coverage, stating he got a break — not because of his looks or charisma (as most experts believe), but because of the color of his skin.
Applying today’s latest politically correct verbiage to these notorious crimes and this killer in particular minimizes the work done to bring him to justice (he was ultimately convicted and executed). It also totally overlooks the many factors that law enforcement trainers and personnel learned from studying his case and his methods, leading to better detection and apprehension rates for others who pursue the same dark path.
The Bundy film can be seen on Netflix. No mention of white privilege is included in the script, just in the followup press with the main cast.