Conversations With A Killer

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 man-power instead of forensics and science. It really makes it apparent that the police and FBI were really not prepared for something like Bundy at all, which brings us to the horrifying question of how many other people are there that have similar tendencies and can act out at any moment? While it is not completely clear about what exactly made Ted Bundy a serial killer, it can be logically deduced that misogyny and pornography has a role in such systematic violence against women. Both of these are rampant in today’s society, especially with the internet connecting people to content like this as well as other like-minded people. Are there other killers out there that we don’t know about?

Screenshot of Title screen of Conversations with a Killer The Ted Bundy Tapes

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 pure genius since this is a man who had escaped out of arrest twice. While his first escape was relatively benign, his second resulted in a wave of more brutality and killing, taking advantage of traveling across states to avoid his criminal past. Perhaps if Ted Bundy’s era had been our era, he would have had a much harder time getting away with as many things as he had gotten away with back then.

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!


One thought on “Conversations With A Killer

  1. se im not a huge fan of documenatries, ive watched the odd one here and there but i always love hearing about ones that are done well. so maybr i will check this out thanks t o you; ive also already laernt a lot i didnt know ty!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *