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‘Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes’ Hooks Audiences

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‘Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes’ Hooks Audiences

'Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes' provides audiences with a glimpse into the mind of a serial killer.

'Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes' provides audiences with a glimpse into the mind of a serial killer.

Photo Courtesy of Netflix

'Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes' provides audiences with a glimpse into the mind of a serial killer.

Photo Courtesy of Netflix

Photo Courtesy of Netflix

'Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes' provides audiences with a glimpse into the mind of a serial killer.

By Chayce Wellings, Videographer

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Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes is a Netflix documentary series that not only tells the widely known story of the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy, but also gives insight into the deranged man’s mind using archival footage and tape recordings of his time in jail. The docuseries was released on Jan. 24, 30 years after the day after Bundy was executed.

Ted Bundy was an infamous serial killer in the 1970s. Bundy was not just known for his brutal crimes against women, but also for his manipulative charm and good looks. Many people had denied the possibility of him being guilty of such heinous crimes due to his clean-cut appearance. His looks and charm also made him popular with women in and out of the courtroom, many of which would try to pass notes of compassion to him. Clearly they had ignored the fact that Bundy was suspected of murdering 30 women and maiming many others.  

The docuseries follows journalists Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth as they set out to get the real story behind Bundy’s 30 confirmed murders, told by Bundy himself via tape recorder. Michaud recorded roughly 100 hours of conversation with Bundy, much of which is Bundy telling his point of view of the story. He goes over everything from his childhood, politics, girlfriends, and most importantly, what he thinks of how one “hypothetical” person committed the crimes in Washington, Utah, Colorado, and Florida. The docuseries starts at the beginning of the killings in 1974 and ends with his 1989 execution.

For someone that knew almost next to nothing about Ted Bundy, this series was not only binge worthy, but also engaging. My eyes were glued to the TV, and my ears tuned everything else out. It’s one thing to read about major crimes or to watch a crime movie, but to listen to a real serial killer’s side of the story is something you cannot top. No matter what misdirection or lies Bundy may have told you can’t help but listen to what he has to say, and he knows it. He loves to talk, and it seems like he anticipated a big audience although he was talking into a tape recorder.

On top of doing a good job of displaying Bundy as the monster that he was, the show is fantastic at  displaying how his actions affected people. Victims, police, attorneys, journalists, and former friends all give their thoughts and memories of Bundy throughout the series. For the people who knew him as a friend, many displayed a face of utter betrayal and disappointment, and rightfully so. As I watched, I couldn’t help but feel for them. It would be no different if one of my friends or loved ones did the same. Learning how these people first loved who Bundy was and then seeing them reflect on the horrible events that took place was utterly heartbreaking.

The show does one peculiar thing that helps illustrate the evil that was brewing in Bundy. While Bundy talks, dark imagery and videos that correspond to what Bundy is discussing are shown over ominous music, as if Bundy talking wasn’t ominous enough. There is one moment in particular where Bundy is remembering the fallout with his first serious girlfriend, Diane Edwards, and reveals how much hatred and betrayal he felt. While he’s explaining the rage that was building inside of him, an old photograph of him and Diane is displayed, the camera slowly zooming in on Bundy’s eyes while the sinister music plays behind it. It elevates the show even more because it can get under your skin and definitely make you feel uncomfortable. Having Bundy’s cold blue eyes that close to the frame looking right at you is as unpleasant as it sounds. For a documentary, the show does a great job of making its audience feel on top of getting the hard facts.     

For anyone who is obsessed with true crime, Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes will keep you engaged and wanting for more, despite the subject matter. The horrific acts that Bundy inflicted on others will go down in infamy, but learning about his psyche is as horrifying as it is compelling.  

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