Now You See Her, Now You Don’t


Ashlyn Athey

Serial killer Ted Bundy is once again making a rise in popularity with the American public nearly thirty years after his execution with Netflix films like “Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” and “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” the latter of which is a movie coming soon to Netflix that features Zac Efron (Photo courtesy of Ashlyn Athey).

One of the most infamous American serial killers was Ted Bundy, a charismatic, intelligent young man who confessed to sexually assaulting and murdering thirty young women during the 1970s. However, the exact number of his victims remains unknown. Bundy’s first recorded victim was Joni Lenz, an 18-year-old college student at the University of Washington, which was the college that Bundy previously attended. Bundy was notorious for feigning an injury or pretending to be an authority figure, such as a police officer, to gain his victims’ trust and sympathy. As an unsuspecting woman neared his 1968 tan Volkswagen Beetle, he would hit them over the head with a crowbar and force her hands into handcuffs. Then, Bundy would lay the woman on his car floor and commit unspeakable atrocities to her dead body. While these details may sound horrifying in print, similar cases like Bundy’s are displayed across thousands of American televisions in popular crime shows and movies.

“[To be honest], I usually watch crime shows for the actors. I do love Criminal Minds because they do a good job [portraying] the crimes that happened. [However], I find the people who investigate the crimes interesting, not the actual murderers. For a lot of the crimes, it’s the person you least suspect. They seem to have their whole life together, but in reality, it’s not,” said senior Jade Martinez.

Ted Bundy often was not suspected in his crimes because he was an affluent, intelligent, white male and virtually left no evidence for 1970s forensic technology. Nearly thirty years after Bundy’s execution, his story still intrigues the American public, especially with new films on Netflix like “Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” and “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile,” the latter of which stars Zac Efron.   

“[Popularizing crimes] romanticize it, and this can often be difficult for people with no sense of good and evil. They could see Ted Bundy as being romanticized in movies, not necessarily as a role model, but as someone that shouldn’t be looked down upon. The good qualities people see romanticized can overshadow the bad stuff,” said senior Lauren Ervin.      

However, some people believe that crime shows and movies are worth watching.   

“I think that it’s important for people to know about murders and kidnappings because it makes you more aware of your surroundings. I don’t think [murders and kidnappings] should be romanticized, but it is important that they get attention because it’s beneficial for other people to learn from,” said senior Emily Marshall.

On the flip side, others argue that serial killers and murderers should not be popularized through the media.  

“Some people [commit crimes] to gain fame, and if the media doesn’t give them attention, then they won’t have a motive in that sense,” said sophomore Abby McDonald.

Nonetheless, the homicides that Ted Bundy and similar serial killers committed can be a valuable lesson on safety.

“Choose your friends wisely, and be aware of your surroundings. Have something that you can protect yourself with, like pepper spray. Do what you’ve got to do to save your life,” said Martinez.