[Review] 'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile' Offers New Perspective On Bundy Murders

June 6, 2019

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile unfolds with a quick overview of Ted Bundy’s crimes from Washington, Utah, and Colorado in the format of local news articles covering each crime. The story is also centered heavily around Ted and his first wife Liz Kloephfer. The story begins with Ted and Liz having family time with her daughter pending charges from the state of Utah. He was named as the main suspect of Carol Daronch’s abduction and attempted rape and murder. He talks to Liz about not knowing who gave his name to the police, who are now monitoring Ted’s whereabouts.

He was then extradited to Colorado for Caryn Campbell’s murder since he was the last man seen with her in an elevator at a hotel. Her body was found a month after her disappearance. He lost his lawyer when he moved from Utah to Colorado, and felt his public defenders in Colorado kept pushing for the death penalty. That spooked him and he quickly plotted his escape. He was left alone in a room of the courthouse one day, and he jumped out of the window for just over a week. After he returned, Ted and Liz break up which makes him feel utterly alone.

Bundy makes a second jail break out of Colorado, this time he makes his way to Florida and goes on a murderous rampage. Ted savagely beat and raped 4 women, murdering two, in the Chi Omega sorority house at the Florida State University campus in Tallahassee, FL. As police were taking in the Chi Omega crime scene, they got a call about another assault just a few blocks away. It happened to be Ted aggressively beating a woman in her front yard with his fists as he was apparently walking away from the Chi Omega house. He was picked up a few days later when he made a U-turn and the police noticed he was driving a stolen vehicle. When he was apprehended, the police had no way to confirm his identity, and hold his hostage until he revealed himself. Due to the atrocity of the crimes committed in Florida recently, and the news of Ted Bundy’s second escape reached federal levels, they kept him isolated until he agreed to reveal his identity for a phone call to Liz. He wanted to “warn” her before the story got released to the media that Bundy was finally apprehended, and of the crimes he’ll be the prime suspect of.

One of the main police officers crucial in the Chi Omega case relished when forcing Ted to give his dental imprint. They were using bruising from one of the victims to try to forensically match Ted’s teeth to the bruise. Since Ted Bundy was a man who could change his appearance and extremely charismatic. People often described him as handsome, charming, and someone you’d want to take home to your parents. The interviews he was giving gave a lot of people, especially women, more interest in the case. He seemed to have fangirls, and the popularity only seemed to get worse after his live TV indictment when his full trial was to be televised on live television.

They condensed two capital murder trials into one in Florida, but I think they combined the important elements of each. He was also on trial for Kimberly Leach’s murder, a 12 year old girl they do reference in the film another way. He uses Carol Anne Boone and marries her during questioning since it’s legal under Florida state law. Despite all his antics, when he’s read the verdict, he is angry he’s been found guilty and is going to receive death by electric
chair. There were lots of intense courtroom scenes that made it exciting to watch, I imagine about as interesting as watching Bundy’s trial live was. The judge gave a speech to Ted including compliments, well wishes, and just the absolute truth. To paraphrase: “Take care of yourself, young man. Incorporating capital punishment would make this an absolute waste of humanity that we’ve experience in this courtroom. You’d have made a great lawyer, I’d love to have had you practice in front of me, but you went a different way; committing a string of extremely wicked, shockingly evil, and vile killings." Ten years after his first death sentence, he died by the electric chair.

Director Joe Berlinger also directed the docu-series "Conversations with A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes" (read our review). A lot of the accuracies in the movie are in large part to that, as they also included clips from news stories, TV interviews, and the trial itself during the end credits. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from the movie in terms of it being this way, or more of a horror-thriller including more of the crimes themselves. I liked the direction and the way they provided the information. I believe the way they executed this era was well done and made sense for the movie format, but I do believe more scenes would help show the dynamics of him and/or the people around him or with him. That’d be great for a deeper psychological aspect of understanding serial killers. Zac Efron did fantastic and once and for all shook off the "High School Musical" stigma. He’s shown he’s a very talented actor and he does have some uncanny characteristics to Bundy in certain disguises. James Hetfield of Metallica also shows his acting chops as one of the officers who arrests and interrogates Bundy. Overall, this film is a great introductory movie to the horror genre and to someone who doesn’t know much about Bundy’s crimes.

 

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