- “The Ted Bundy Tapes” will be released on Thursday.
- It’s a documentary about Ted Bundy, who confessed to the murders of 36 women and is suspected of killing many more people.
- It’s the first of two Ted Bundy projects released this week by director Joe Berlinger.
On January 24 – the 30th anniversary of Ted Bundy’s execution via electric chair in the state of Florida – Netflix is premiering a four-part docuseries that will feature previously unheard audio recordings of interviews with Bundy that were conducted during his time on death row.
Here’s everything we know about what Netflix is dropping about one of the most infamous convicted killers in American history.
This four-part docuseries is the work of Emmy-award-winning director Joe Berlinger
True crime fans may know him better from his “Paradise Lost” trilogy and another documentary called “Brother’s Keeper.” Although you could definitely say that the true crime genre has been experiencing a notable rise in popularity in recent time, Berlinger said he firmly believes that media coverage of Ted Bundy is at least partially responsible for the enduring fascination of the genre today.
Berlinger told Rolling Stone, “I trace this explosion that we currently live in, this insatiable appetite for [crime] programming, all the way back to the Big Bang of the Ted Bundy trial.”
Bundy received the death penalty and was executed in Florida in 1989 – but confessed to and was suspected of far more murders than those for which he was sentenced
In total, Bundy was convicted of kidnapping Carol DaRonch in 1976 (she escaped him alive in 1974 and he was given jail time), given the death penalty for murderingMargaret Bowman and Lisa Levy, two members of the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University, and also given the death penalty for the murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach.
Although most of Bundy’s victims were definitely women, one of his lawyers claimed that Bundy admitted to killing at least one man in a book he wrote about his time representing the notorious killer in 2016.
Bundy captured public attention like no killer had done before him, in part because of the television coverage of his July 1979 trial. It was the first trial to be televised in such a way and was, in the words of the Washington Post’s Madelaine Blaise and John Katzenbach, “an ongoing daily drama of almost monstrous fascination.”
He was considered charming and even physically attractive by many, as well as a master manipulator – which are large parts of why experts believe he was so dangerous.
Writers Stephen G. Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth conducted the 150-plus hours of death row interviews with Bundy that viewers will hear excerpted in this series
In 2005, the two published these interviews as a book titled “Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer (The Death Row Interviews).” According to Rolling Stone, Michaud – who was a young journalist at the time – said he believes that Bundy may have seen him as easy to manipulate, which was why he wanted to reach out to Michaud for an interview.
The TBT docuseries will attempt to contextualize Bundy’s unreliable narration with facts – including some brutal evidence photos
No matter who he was talking to while he was alive, Bundy constantly lied – and Berlinger said he wants that to be absolutely clear.
“The ability to use the Bundy story to talk about deception and the masks that people put on – especially those who do evil – was an interesting way into this,” he told Metro US.
“It’s a deep, dark descent into how this guy operates. Bundy teaches us that the person next to you is potentially capable of evil,” Berlinger also told Inside Edition
You can see a small peek at Berlinger’s approach in the official Netflix trailer:
For those familiar with Berlinger’s previous true crime documentary work, TBT is a departure
Instead, Berlinger saw his job as editing – and especially contextualizing – the story for those at any level of familiarity with the horrific crimes committed by Bundy.
He told Rolling Stone, “It’s not the typical film that I usually make, which is cinema verité, or following a story unfolding. This was more of an editing job, telling Bundy’s story [after the fact].”
Berlinger also directed a biopic about Bundy that will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival two days after the release of TBT – on Saturday
The film stars Zac Efron as Ted Bundy, Lily Collins as Elizabeth Kloepfer, Haley Joel Osment, John Malkovich, and Metallica frontman James Hetfield as arresting officer Bob Hayward.
This is Hetfield’s first acting role, according to Consequence of Sound. Berlinger and Hetfield previously worked together on the Metallica documentary, “Some Kind of Monster.”
The story is told primarily from the point of view of Kloepfer, a real individual who was involved in a lengthy romantic relationship with Bundy throughout many of his horrific and brutal crimes against other women.
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