Zac Efron's new Ted Bundy movie is getting backlash for “sexualising” the serial killer
28 January 2019, 16:47 | Updated: 6 October 2020, 13:05
The trailer for the Ted Bundy-focused movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile has split opinion on the internet.
It's been known for a while that Zac Efron was going to play notorious serial killer, kidnapper, rapist and necrophile Ted Bundy in a new movie but now that the trailer for the film has dropped, people are very conflicted about the whole thing.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile stars Efron as Bundy and Lily Collins as Bundy's fiancee Elizabeth Kloepfer. There's been a lot of hype around the film, particularly in regards to Zac's eerie transformation from ripped Hollywood heart throb into creepy 70s murderer and now, following the weird vibes of the trailer, people are calling it out for appearing to over sexualise and romanticise the murderer.
The trailer was released just before the film's premiere at Sundance Film Festival. It features a shirtless shot of a ripped Efron and portrays Bundy as a charming, charismatic family man, with a few murders scattered in between - all the while set to some kooky upbeat music. Bundy's charm has long since been one of the most chilling characteristics about him but the abundance of it in the trailer is apparently not what everyone was expecting, given that he's one of the most dangerous serial killers of all time.
Of course, Twitter has had something to say about it, particularly in the wake of the whole "Ted Bundy was hot AF" narrative that's been occurring on social media following the release of the Ted Bundy Tapes documentary on Netflix. Some people are questioning the choices behind the portrayal of the murderer in the film.
Can we not sexulize Ted Bundy?— Kayla Stetzel (@KaylaStetzel) January 26, 2019
He raped, murdered, and decapitated women and had sex with their dead bodies. Not here for this hyper-sexualized Zac Efron film.
I know the youth of twitter will obsess over him, and I’d prefer not to read thirst tweets about a serial murderer
ted bundy was a serial killer, rapist and necrophile who brutally murdered 30+ women with zero remorse but the marketing team of zac efron movie decided to go with this casual comical tone? whats not clicking ma'am https://t.co/JKsBDnyUjD— Aisha (@helenstheme) January 25, 2019
imagine you had a daughter that was raped before being murdered and then then decades later an edgy thriller about the man who did it is made, where he’s portrayed as some cool, impressive guy rather than the disgusting animal he was, honestly sickening https://t.co/zi6KH2KkRb— kit (@_kitto_) January 26, 2019
Others, however, understand the portrayal and are pointing out that Bundy's charisma, charm and APPARENT GOOD LOOKS (!??!) were very real and were part of the reason why no one suspected him as someone who could do such horrific things at the time. It's how he lured his victims and it's the entire point of the film.
One Twitter user wrote: "Portraying him the way that people saw him & reminding everyone that evil doesn’t have a recognisable face is IMPORTANT."
That Zac Efron - Ted Bundy trailer is getting unfair criticism.— Skyler Shuler (@Skylerhxc) January 26, 2019
Do people not understand that in real life Ted Bundy portrayed himself as a very charismatic, cool, American guy.
WHICH IS WHY NO ONE SUSPECTED HIM TO BE THE MAN BEHIND THESE HORRIBLE ACTS OF VIOLENCE.
saying things like “Ted Bundy wasn’t even attractive” completely negates the fact that he quite literally lured women to their deaths by being charming. he was a clean cut, smooth talking, ladies’ man, the complete opposite of anyone’s idea of what a serial killer would look like— open window maniac (@_padawanski) January 26, 2019
Ted Bundy was considered good looking and charming and I think the whole point of casting Zac Efron is for the charm and to remind you that not all serial killers look sinister and evil, sometimes you trust someone who looks like this and they are a psychopath. https://t.co/U4xwCs7hWI— Kabila Thiagaraj (@KabilaThiagaraj) January 27, 2019
Points were made! But according to the first critics reviews and comments by the director himself, it sounds like what was portrayed in the trailer is not really the case with the film at all. Director Joe Berlinger has defended the movie, claiming it is supposed to reflect how Bundy portrayed himself to be a handsome, charming, all-American man while he was carrying out his murders.
Cosmopolitan also points out that the film is, just as the original source material was, told from the eyes of Bundy's fiancee who struggled to accept the reality of her boyfriend's crimes and throughout the entire thing, "begs the question: if you were in bed with a monster, would you know it?"
Zac Efron, whose performance in the film has been praised, has also said that he feels "a responsibility to make sure that this movie is not a celebration of Ted Bundy, or a glorification of him. But, definitely, a psychological study of who this person was. In that, there’s honesty."