The multiple retellings about this notorious serial killer who kidnapped, raped, mutilated and terrorised so many is told differently for the first time, shining the light on the people most impacted by his reign of terror.
The story of Theodore Robert Bundy is a fascinating one to say the least, which is why it is told so often. But we often discount the experiences of the people affected by his actions, especially the victims whose lives were taken so brutally. As a true crime fanatic, having seen the countless movies and documentaries about him, none have covered his story quite like this.
Amazon Prime’s five-part docuseries directed and produced by Trish Wood, Ted Bundy: Falling For a Killer, tells this infamous serial killer’s story differently. Ginger Strand, author of Killer On The Road, in the docuseries commented on previous documentaries and movies made about Bundy, such as Netflix’s Conversations with A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile released in 2019. “It’s a discounting of the stories of the women in favour of the central hero being the most important character in the narrative. And that is the failure to look deeper and think harder about violence against women in our culture.”
Bundy’s long-term girlfriend, Elizabeth Kendall and her daughter Molly, joined by other survivors, share their stories in revealing disturbing new information about Bundy. Elizabeth explains in the docuseries that, “The story has been told many times by men. I want to tell the story because I think there are some lessons to be learned. Now’s the time to talk about my story from beginning to end.”
Released on January 31, 2020, this docuseries takes a much-needed female perspective. “The idea that we could kind of step back to include what was happening in the culture at the time these murders were taking place…and to not want to tell the Ted Bundy story, but rather the story of the women was really important,” Wood told Women’s Health.
The backdrop of the Anti-War and Feminist movements of the 60’s and 70’s, provides cultural and historical context of this period in which Bundy operated where women were seeking equal opportunities and agency over their bodies and lives. This is done through informative archival news footage.
The docuseries works chronologically, starting with Elizabeth’s move to Seattle in 1969 with her three-year-old daughter Molly. She soon met Bundy at a bar, instantly falling in love with his charm and looks, sparking a six-year relationship. Never-before-seen archival family photos permeate the screen, humanising Bundy almost making you smile at this “fairy tale” love story, but this is short-lived.
Bundy’s thought-to-be first victim, Karen Epley, comes forward for the first time since her attack in 1974, revealing gruesome details and its lasting effects showing Bundy’s true colours. Bundy’s first successful attack happened shortly after when Lynda Healy went missing followed by many others. This quickly shattered the newfound empowerment of many women causing fear and unease amongst female college students.
Female voices dominate the docuseries, with Elizabeth and Molly anchoring. This includes survivors, family and friends of victims, ‘almost’ victims, and the females in law enforcement involved with his case.
These heart wrenching interviews, home videos and photographs of victims provided by friends and family, make the victims three-dimensional. This humanises these women, showing them not just as a collage of images or statistics, but as women who had families, dreams and aspirations destroyed by a wolf in sheep’s clothing also destroying the lives of their loved ones.
Men occasionally feature with the most shocking being his younger brother, Richard Bundy, who idolised Bundy, speaking out for the first time. We get a glimpse into the trauma and emotional impact on those who loved and thought they knew him, after confessing to killing over 30 women. This includes Elizabeth, and Molly who saw Bundy as a father-figure.
The composition of this docuseries works chronologically, recounting events, providing more insight into this Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde dilemma. It is almost like watching a puzzle being pieced together as each account, especially Elizabeth’s, fills the gaps of his actions and behaviours in between murders providing the audience with a fuller picture.
Wood, producer of investigative documentaries for CBC’s The Fifth Estate for the past 10 years, said to Women’s Health, “I think that any future endeavours like this should focus more on the people who survived and who can talk about the culture in which it happened,” and rightly so given the dominant sentiment of focusing on the perpetrator.
Although slow at times, it engrosses and captures even more with how it invests the viewer into the lives and stories of these people, making this docuseries a must-watch for true crime lovers seeking insight into this well-known story. It is also for those seeking a female and a more victim-centred story rather than the usual male-dominated gaze of true crime stories or for those just looking for a story of resilience and empowerment.
Vuvu Rating: 7.5/10
- Click here to watch the official trailer
FEATURED IMAGE: Cover Image for Amazon Prime’s, Ted Bundy: Falling For a Killer, docuseries with archival photographs of the victims and family photographs of Elizabeth and Molly completely covering Bundy’s face. Photo: Provided
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