Story by Columnist Danata Paulino
Photo Courtesy of The Wrap
Ever since the release of the production photos for the film portraying a handsome man with a familiar smile, the buzz around “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” has been thoroughly controversial. The movie is based on the life and trial of serial killer Ted Bundy who is played by ongoing heartthrob Zac Efron. The controversy stems from whether or not Efron is the appropriate actor to be playing the admitted mass murderer. The trailer, backed by an energetic rock song, gave viewers a glimpse of the charismatic and grinning Bundy in all his infamous glory. The trailer release sparked great debate, in which many accused the movie of hideously romanticizing the man responsible for the death of 30 women.
Many are worried that “Extremely Evil” romanticizes Ted Bundy, but the reality is that Ted Bundy was romanticized. No one saw how he could be a criminal. There were no signs that he was a killer, he seemed like a normal guy. For these reasons, I believe that Zac Efron is an ideal fit for the part of Bundy. To create a realistic story, you need a realistically accurate actor. Most of the people I have spoken to about the movie have actively followed Efron’s movie career. None of these people gave the familiar response of wanting to watch this movie because of how attractive Efron is. Instead, they were… intrigued? Some didn’t even know if they wanted to see “Extremely Evil” because of how they would picture Efron following the criminal performance. I think that this reaction speaks for itself. Just as some are scared that their perceptions of the handsome actor will be altered, many at the time couldn’t grasp that Bundy, as attractive and charming as he was, could be a serial killer.
“Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” is a Netflix documentary series that was released recently. Watching the show with a roommate, we were thinking about the comparison between Bundy and Efron because of the awaited film. We asked the same questions as everyone else. Bundy was handsome, charismatic, and knew how to persuade intelligent women. Although it is frightening, these are the facts. To understand the criminal, the actor be able to portray the same characteristics. Efron has already stolen the hearts of so many doting fans that is seems the only thing left to do is claim the name.
Another issue that has been addressed about the film is how it will have a negative impact on the families of the victims and the victims that are still alive. Kathy Kleiner, one of the victims, addressed in an interview how she saw the movie to be important in showing people, specifically women, the dangers they don’t see. One voice is obviously not enough to make a claim that everyone personally involved feels the same. I suppose I like to believe that these considerations were taken into account by the director when making the film.
The reality is that there are always biographies, documentaries, and stories being continually written about the good and bad people in the United States. Why do people pick up books, or watch documentaries of other criminals? Curiosity. People want to know why serial killers are the way they are. They want to know who they were before, what made them become a criminal. Because of this, both my roommate and I agreed that these kinds of films can be taken as entertainment, but it is moreover important to watch for awareness to the dangers that are always looming over us.