Noted ladies' man and serial killer, born 11/24/46, who brutally raped and murdered several young women and girls during the 1970s. Bundy was a very good looking and respectable guy, who was on the fast track in his local Republican Party. Prison psychologists didn't find any of the usual stuff wrong with him when they profiled him, just an unusual amount of dependence on women.

If anything can be used to explain Bundy's killing spree, it might be that he found out at the age of 23 that the woman the thought was his older sister was actually his mother, and the people he thought were his parents were actually his grandparents.

Bundy had one major love of his life, a high-class California girl named Stephanie Brooks. During college, she dumped him because he was kind of an outcast, and he didn't fit in with her lifestyle. Ted's revenge was pretty cold. In 1973, he hooked up with her on a trip for the GOP, wooed her back to loving him again, then severed all contact with her in early 1974. She was lucky. By that time, he had already started killing.

The first known victim of Bundy was Kathy Devine, a 15-year old hitchhiker, whose body was found in a park in Washington state. She had been strangled, sodomized, and had her throat cut. During most of 1974, Several young women in Washington, Oregon, and Utah were to meet a similar fate. Police were able to draw up a composite sketch of the killer that people close to Bundy recognized and reported, but because of his respectable status in the community, detectives were more inclined to follow other leads and tips, which were pouring in. Only in August of 1976 was Bundy first caught by the police after speeding away when a curious police officer drove up to his unfamiliar car.

Finding a crowbar, wires, rope, handcuffs and an ice pick in his beetle, offciers detained him on robbery charges. When the handcuffs were opened by a key found at an earlier Bundy crime scene, detectives started to probe deeper. A young woman came forward and identified Bundy as her attempted kidnapper one year ago (Bundy had posed as a police officer). The evidence from this case was enough to send Bundy to prison, but only for a very short time. In 1977, he was sent to a Colorado jail to await trial for a murder recently pinned on him. Bundy made a botched escape attempt, then another successful attempt seven months later in December. He fled to Tallahassee, Florida.

In January, Ted attacked and raped a number of Chi Omega sorority girls in their sleep at their house at FSU, killing three. Bundy would continue his work through February, but he was caught after a suspicious 14-year old reported that a 'fireman' in plain clothes asked her to get into an unmarked van. His last victim was only 12 years old.

This time, Ted didn't get away. Bundy was executed in Florida in 1989. He admitted to killing 28 women, but many believe the number is higher; one source puts the number at 36.

The above is a highly abridged version of the resources at www.crimelibrary.com

One anecdote told by Bundy, not in the above: He walked into a post office, past the wanted posters, where his name was on the top of the stack. He introduced himself to the security guard there as 'Ted Bundy', and asked where he might get something good to eat. The guard gave him directions to a restaurant, and Bundy left, untouched.

At least until Hannibal Lector, Bundy was the popular public image of a serial killer in the USA; every direct-to-video film which features a handsome, smooth, homicidal villain terrorising a disbelieved heroine owes a debt to Bundy. Along with Denis Nilsen and Charles Manson he forms part of the triumvirate of fundamental serial killer types - the cannibal, the cultist, and the seemingly-normal woman-hating rapist/murderer (Charles Whitman was, of course, a spree killer).

Ted Bundy is the most obvious model for the character of Patrick Bateman of Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho - another murderous, woman-hating psychopath who managed to avoid detection because of his apparent normalcy. A constant thread of discussion surrounds the book as to whether Bateman's killings are real or imagined, fuelled by the belief that they are too extreme to occur in real life; the extremity of Bundy's mania gives weight to the former opinion.

Ellis' theme was that a well-presented, disturbed, violent killer could survive and thrive in a culture which values presentation above all else; Bundy was the living proof of this. Had he embarked on a killing spree and been caught, he would merely be infamous - but the ease with which he escaped from the police, twice, to rebuild his life from scratch in Florida, beggared belief.

The Bundy affair was ammunition for both sides in the death penalty debate; on the one hand, nobody could argue that he should live - hundreds of people cheered his eventual execution with slogans such as "Burn, Bundy, Burn" and "You're Dead, Ted" - but his ten-year stay on death row through multiple appeals, arguing that he was addicted to pornography and that an 'entity' within him had caused the murders, ended up costing Florida over $6 million and untold anguish to the relatives of the deceased. Bundy's history of escaping from custody fuelled the argument that the death penalty prevents killers from striking again, yet at the same time Bundy was in no way deterred by the thought of death, as he did not expect to be caught, or care if he was.

In the UK Bundy's notoriety was overshadowed by the contemporaneous killings of Peter Sutcliffe, 'The Yorkshire Ripper'. A curious wind must have been blowing in the late-70s, as Sutcliffe conducted a similar murder spree against women, albeit women who were, or who he believed to be, sex workers. Bundy's crimes were topped in the infamy stakes by those of Jeffrey Dahmer some years later (Bundy at least had the decency to stop abusing his victims when they died) - American Psycho was released whilst Dahmer was still active.

There is a persistent urban legend that a pre-fame Deborah Harry was accosted in New York by Bundy, managing to escape from his car (in real life, a Volkswagen Beetle). The ever-handy Snopes.com points out that Bundy never visited New York, however.

In 2002, risking accusations of glorifying a serial killer in order to make cash on an obviously gratuitous movie, Matthew Bright decided to go ahead and chronicle the period of Ted Bundy's life that led directly to his arrest.

The good news is that Ted Bundy has already been immortalised due to extensive documentation and media coverage, and this movie could do no more harm than pose the question, "why?"

We are then posed the question, "Why the hell make a movie about Ted Bundy?" Well, there's surely a good reason that the movie was released, yet all the filmmakers seemed to try and portray was how things were perceived through the killers eyes; if that doesn't sound like glorification, I don't know what does.

Really, giving any kind of explanation behind the thoughts of a serial killer is a great thing. However, attempting to attract some kind of sympathy for a renowned serial killer is questionable: this is quite evident in the scene in which Ted lies on his girlfriend's lap and tells her about the helplessness he feels. Are we supposed to feel sorry for this character, or are we to fear his presence and accept this as a part of his insanity? The juxtaposition of a loving, caring gesture against the brutal murders depicted elsewhere in the film certainly conveys the absolute monstrosity that Bundy possessed, yet it does little to promote the filmmakers as little more than sympathisers.

In all, the film was very well shot. The acting was most notably led of course by Michael Reilly Burke who played Ted Bundy, who stood out among many other excellent performances by supporting actors and actresses. The only real problem with the movie is not the questionable nature of the violence depicted, but the question of for what purpose the violence is portrayed besides bloodlust? Unclear expression alongside such suggestive material is a nightmare; one that brings this movie to its knees in total defeat of purpose.



Cast and Roles

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