OK, It's Probably Time to Stop Making Ted Bundy Movies
It might be time to cool it with making films about the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. From the time his real-life case was catching headlines back in the 1970s up until the present, there have been several movies made about the killer.
To add insult to injury, two more films about Ted Bundy were released in 2021 within weeks of each other. The films’ directors were even feuding over their respective movies and the ideas and concepts surrounding who Ted Bundy really was. So, along with the two new films released in 2021, how many Ted Bundy movies are there? We have the details below!
There is no shortage of movies about Ted Bundy.
There are at least nine films about Ted Bundy – either documentary or based on his life – that exist, according to IMDb. The first film to depict the life of Ted Bundy was 1986's The Deliberate Stranger. The Deliberate Stranger was a three-hour-long biopic that was made for TV, starring a very young Mark Harmon (of NCIS fame) in the title role. The drama actually premiered when Ted Bundy was still on death row. He was executed in 1989.
It would be almost two decades later before a slew of other Ted Bundy films came into the mix. In 2002, another biopic, Ted Bundy, was released. Next came The Stranger Beside Me in 2003, which was based on a book of the same name. This film follows crime writer Ann Rule who befriended Ted Bundy before his arrest.
The last Ted Bundy movies to come out in the early 2000s was The Riverman, which took many liberties with the true crime case. The film finds Ted already in jail, working with police investigators to help them learn more about a similar serial killer still on the loose. In 2008 alone, two more Ted Bundy films were released: Bundy: An American Icon and The Capture of the Green River Killer, which was a made-for-TV movie produced by the Lifetime network.
Two new Ted Bundy films were released in 2021.
The Netflix-produced documentary Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes premiered in 2019. The film features real interviews with Ted Bundy while he sat on death row. Some believe it was the perfect setup to introduce the film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, starring Zac Efron as the serial killer.
On July 8, 2021, film fans were shown the first trailer for No Man of God, a film by Amber Sealey about the relationship between FBI analyst Bill Hagmaier and Ted Bundy. Just two days later, another trailer was released for the film Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman, which stars One Tree Hill actor Chad Michael Murray as the infamous serial killer. Both films were released in August 2021.
The directors of the Ted Bundy films are feuding.
Film fans seem to be over the overflow of Ted Bundy biopics and documentaries; it seems like viewers see his life as glorified rather than understand him as the actual monster he was. So, why do we need another movie when it seems to have all been done before? Amber Sealey talked to Refinery 29 about just that. She believes that all the previous projects about Ted Bundy have missed the mark.
“They always glorify him,” she said. “They make him out to be a male model — so smart, so charismatic, a master of disguise. I don’t see that. When I look at him and I watch interviews and I listen to the tapes, I see a deeply insecure, needy — almost like an incel — kind of guy who just wants accolades and wants people to tell him how great he is.”
Though Amber did not name anyone specifically, Joe Berlinger – the director of both Netflix films about Bundy – took her comments personally, and proceeded to send her an angry email.
“Forgive the unsolicited advice,” he wrote in an email that Amber screenshotted and shared to her Instagram, “but after reading some of your interviews about your Bundy movie, I feel compelled to tell you that tearing down my work to promote yours is a slippery slope and intellectually dishonest and deeply offensive. How did my film glorify Bundy? Do you know anything about me and my 30 years focusing on criminal justice issues in my work, from wrongful conviction to victim advocacy?”