Look, I love a serial killer documentary as much as the next girl. In fact, some of my friends may be worried about how much of my time is actually spent watching them. However, unlike some, I like to think I know where to draw the line when it comes to my ‘obsession’.
I’m sure whoever is reading this is completely aware of the phenomenon spreading of the moment of discussing the attractiveness of actual murderers. This has been going on for a while, with a surprising number of young girls sharing their love for killers on social media, but the internet’s latest fixation? Ted Bundy.
Netflix seems to be investing a whole lot into educating people on this man. Their recent documentary series, the ‘Ted Bundy Tapes’, has already created a buzz. Additionally, the site has spent $9 million (according to Google) to be the location of the upcoming film, ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile’, starring everyone’s favourite child star, Zac Efron. This film, before being released, has already come under fire for romanticising, and even celebrating, Bundy. The trailer has been argued to make the movie seem more like a rom-com than a condemnation of Bundy’s actions, and to be honest, I agree. Perhaps this is merely a tactic to get people talking about the film and increase viewership, which seems to be working, however, this is exactly the root of the problem.
You see, the issue isn’t that people are admiring the face of a murderer, nor is it that some people think a film or documentary are using the wrong genre to tell the story of Bundy. It isn’t even that filmmakers are profiting from said murders. The issue lies in the fact that it is Bundy, not his victims, who is the focus of each of these things. I, myself, have found myself playing into this.
Even this far into the article, I have failed to mention Lynda Ann Healy, Susan Elaine Rancourt, Brenda Baker or Roberta Kathleen Parks.
Brenda Ball, Georgeann Hawkins, Janice Ott, and Denise Naslund have yet to be spoken of –
and these are just the victims from Washington: 8 out of 30+ suspected murdered women.
The problem with all the discussion around Bundy is that no one is mentioning the innocent girls whose lives he ended in cold blood, and no one seems to mind. Recently, I saw this Tab article making its rounds. Immediately, it reminded me of the likes of articles presenting various photos of young Joe Biden, except as you scroll down through this one, the several court and arrest pictures included subtly remind you of who you are looking at. Even worse than this initial similarity, there is no other evidence that this person being revered is anyone of huge difference to Joe Biden (apologies to Mr Biden for including him in this). The article is written fondly, and finishes with reminding you that looking at these photos ‘over and over again is totally ok’. I disagree.
The female attention towards Ted Bundy is not a new phenomenon. During his court case, many female fans would attend the trial, giving interviews outside the courthouse and writing letters to him during his incarceration. They would sit in the gallery while the victims’ family painfully watched on, still in mourning. Articles such as the one mentioned above are simply an extension of this, though much further removed, and that is the crux of the issue. The distance, both in space and in time, from the crimes and the families of victims, is perhaps what allows people to justify this behaviour: Bundy is now dead, and most of these people will never come into contact with the victims’ friends or family. However, it is vital to remember that the pain Bundy caused is still around; these crimes were not committed all that long ago, and are still within recent memory. The families, friends and communities around the victims still grieve, and I cannot imagine the sadness they feel at the world’s recent fascination with Bundy, and only Bundy.
I know that there are so many victims of so many murders whose names should be remembered in place of the perpetrators, and it would be impossible to mention them all. Instead, I urge people to begin placing the focus on the victims, rather than the likes of Bundy. If we begin here, we may be able to follow suit in other cases.
This link takes you to a website naming and remembering a number of Bundy’s victims.