The Ted Bundy Tapes
Ever since Shane Dawson’s Youtube docu-series hit off, the internet has been quick to respond by following the trend. Documentaries are back in business, perhaps the most interesting (and controversial) documentary popping up in this wake is Netflix’s famous documentary Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.
Unraveling the case of Ted Bundy, the documentary tells a story using retrospective elements, from having Ted Bundy himself engage in the discussion through his recorded tapes and having those involved in the case to explain these past events, as well as prospective elements, like showing news recordings, paper clippings and interviews from when the case was open and progressing. This dual storytelling, from the past and from the future, was a very interesting way of presenting the facts and chronology regarding the life and investigation of Theodore ‘Ted’ Robert Bundy and his infamous serial killing.
When I had first found out about this documentary from a Netflix tweet that showed up in my feed, I was certain that I wanted to watch this. While I am usually enthusiastic about wanting to watch things, I never actually get around to watching them. In fact, I probably would have forgotten about this documentary entirely if a kid in my class hadn’t been gushing about it non-stop for at least an hour. Giving glowing reviews, I decided I had to watch this as soon as possible.
While I am somewhat interested in what the internet calls ‘true crime’, I can’t really call myself a true enthusiast. I only knew that Ted Bundy was a famous serial killer. Anything and everything past that, I had really no idea about. From the opinions I’ve seen by true crime enthusiasts, it seems that the Netflix documentary is geared more towards people who are uninformed of the details of the Ted Bundy case. Despite claiming to have ‘tapes’, the tapes don’t really add any new information to the pool that the true crime community already has. So while the documentary may have been rather boring and repetitive for someone who is very interested in Ted Bundy and has done all their research previously, it was a riveting tale of modern horror for people like me who were previously unexposed to things like this.
With streaks of narcissism, Ted Bundy lived what could arguably be called a double life that later started blurring the lines between each other once he slipped up and cast himself into heavy suspicion leading to his arrest. Normally appearing as a mild-mannered student and even showing up to church and having a charming image projected onto those around him, no one suspected that he could be the culprit of a series of murders that shocked society.
One thing I especially liked about this documentary was how they put the time frame of this case in perspective. Ted Bundy happened in an era where the term ‘serial killer’ was unheard of, neither a central database nor the internet existed and investigation happened on the basis of
What makes Ted Bundy’s story horrifying is the fact that he managed to galvanize people into putting in place safety mechanisms, from walking in groups at night to phoning in the police about possible suspects, and yet Ted Bundy managed to find chinks in these attempts of security. Perhaps it was pure luck, although it is more likely to be
One thing that really bothered me quite a bit was the fact that one of victim’s of Ted Bundy had survived and was able to identify Ted Bundy, but was still not taken very seriously, simply because he was the charming law student that everyone ended up liking and could not imagine as a killer.
Overall, the documentary was definitely interesting. It wasn’t as action-packed or as dramatic as you’d expect from a Netflix series, but for a documentary, it was very well done. It’s the kind of program I’d be glued to if it came up on television during the evening! I’d give it a 3/5 in terms of entertainment and 5/5 in terms of it being an informative documentary.
What kind of documentaries do you like to watch? Is true crime something that also interests you? Let me know in the comments below! Thank you for reading. Have a nice day!