Serial killers are an endlessly fascinating subject. Murder mysteries have been one of the most popular forms of entertainment since the dawn of television and movies; true crime stories have gripped audiences for decades before podcasts revived the genre. But audiences in recent years have become savvier about the presentation of these real-life characters, especially in films and docudramas that attempt to glamorize what they’ve done by casting attractive celebrities in the roles. The newest fave for this sort of treatment has been Ted Bundy, and judging by reactions on Twitter, the newest Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman trailer finally seems to have hit the tipping point as to how much audiences can take.
Bundy is one of the most infamous serial killers in American history. When he was caught in 1978, he confessed to something along the lines of 30 murders of young women between 1974-1978, although it’s believed he probably committed more before that. Moreover, in a landscape where television had become the dominant medium, his telegenic appearance made him an instant sensation.
As time and distance have put Bundy further in the cultural rearview mirror, films and TV series have turned to retelling his story for a new generation, casting former teen heartthrobs like Zac Efron in the role.
But the latest movie, Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman, which stars Chad Michael Murray as the notorious murderer, seems to be a step too far.
Or perhaps Twitter was just ready to be done with this trend.
The reason audiences are starting to get tired of these films isn’t just the romanization of a rapist and murderer like Bundy (although that’s a big part of it). In the last few years, there’s been a call for projects to focus on victims rather than perpetrators, and while many fans on Twitter focused on the casting of Murray in this film, just as many were upset that yet another film isn’t putting the emphasis on the victims.
In the year of our lord 2021, its seems the last thing Twitter wants is another Ted Bundy movie.
One can only hope that this time, Hollywood will listen. But let’s not count on it.
Ted Bundy: The Musical? No thanks to that either.
Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman premieres Aug. 16, 2021, in theaters.