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Netflix’s film about Ted Bundy has had its share of criticism, as many think the film is glamorizing the serial killer. Zac Efron, who plays Bundy, doubled down on his efforts to defend the film and his role in it on The Ellen Show Tuesday.
“I am not into portraying a serial killer or anybody of this nature or glamorizing them in any way… it does not glamorize the killing,” Efron said. “This is an important thing for people to hear.”
Extremely Wicked Shocking Evil and Vile, which is set to be released on Netflix May 3, tells Bundy’s story from the perspective of Elizabeth Kloepfer’s (Lily Collins). Kloepfer is Bundy’s former girlfriend of six years, who became suspicious of Bundy while the two were together.
“I really wasn’t interested in playing a serial killer,” Efron said at the London premiere of the film. “I’m not in the business of glamorizing a horrendous person or his acts, but there is something unique about the way we went into the psyche of Ted and his longtime girlfriend Liz.”
There has been a renewed interest in the serial killer with Netflix’s recent release of Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes and the announcement that Extremely Wicked Shocking Evil and Vile was in the works.
Bundy murdered at least 30 young women throughout much of the 1970s. Many people felt like those victims were being forgotten while Bundy was being glorified—especially after finding out that a young, attractive actor would be taking on the lead role as the serial killer.
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
I feel so bad for the families of the victims that have to sit there and see their terrors revived as a witty romantic thriller https://t.co/uP4y03XSBU— anime yitties (@peachesfrfr) January 26, 2019
stop 👏 romanticizing 👏 violent 👏men 👏👏👏 https://t.co/mKRpcuk2RP— Becca Farrow 💙🦁 NYCC E26 (@rfarrowster) January 27, 2019
Now imagine that happened at least thirty times https://t.co/nflGiShEW6— Lindsay Ellis (@thelindsayellis) January 27, 2019
FUCKING. PREACH. the last thing we need right now is a movie sensationalizing a man who brutally kills women. this week ALONE a man literally murdered five women because he hates women. we don't need to glorify these horrible people, stop fetishizing serial killers 2k19 https://t.co/Zt7NYVXO0l— ✨ɯɐɥɓuıuunɔ uıɹǝʞ✨ (@KerinCunningham) January 27, 2019
dude, the mere fact that they cast zac efron when he looks nothing like bundy just SHOWS the intent was to romanticize the sucker. showing he was a “normal” dude who was well-liked in his community and portraying him as a “sexy devil” are two different things— dairy-free bitch (@TequilaSpleen) January 27, 2019
Bundy was said to be extremely charming, and that was likely how he got his victims to trust him before murdering them. So, there are some who think that this “charming” take on the serial killer is an OK depiction of Bundy and the story.
Literally all they’re doing is showing him how EVERYONE saw him, and showing us how normal and “charming” they can be, anyone can do what he did and that’s what it’s showing, yes it gross and uncomfortable because we know now that he’s a sick monster, they didn’t:— María. (@BebeLiza_) January 27, 2019
The director of the film, Joe Berlinger, has also come out to defend the film against its critics.
“You can’t watch this film and say that we’re glamorizing or glorifying Bundy,” Berlinger recently told Digital Spy. “What we’re doing is portraying the psychology of deception and betrayal.”
- ‘Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes’ feels like a bad one-man show
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Eilish O'Sullivan is an editorial intern for the Daily Dot studying journalism and government at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle and the Daily Texan.