Kristen Dragotto, A&E Editor
Jan. 24, 2019, marked the 30-year anniversary of the execution of the notorious serial killer from the 70s, Ted Bundy. Netflix helped mark this anniversary by releasing a new documentary series Jan. 24 titled: “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.”
Please note this article may contain some spoilers.
The new Netflix series is a four-part documentary series that dives into the reign of terror Bundy brought in and throughout the 70s. It starts off with the first killing and follows through the investigation, his two escapes, and ends with Bundy’s confession of the 30 murders before his execution by electric chair in 1989.
The title is a bit misleading as the tapes that feature Ted Bundy are not what viewers might have been expecting.
Online critic Daniel D’Addario wrote in his review titled “TV Review: ‘Conversation with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes’:” “the misnomer is ‘conversations.’ While we hear Bundy’s voice on tape, it’s narrating a lopping mélange of hypothetical reality and fact, pseudo-philosophy and angry denial… That fundamental fact – the degree to which Bundy is at best an unpleasant companion through four long episodes.”
It is the focus on the crime investigation itself that would make this four-part series a must see for those who find themselves in the category of the true-crime enthusiasts.
The series does shed light on some minor aspects of Bundy’s childhood and his romantic relationships which includes Elizabeth Kloepfer who can be noted for putting Bundy on the police’s radar. The series addresses his marriage with Carole Ann Boone in 1980 and the birth of his daughter Rose Bundy who was born in 1982.
Matt Zoller Seitz an online critic in an article titled: “‘The Ted Bundy Tapes’ Examines an Infamous Serial Killer, But Finds Only a Horrifying Void,” wrote, “If you’re interested in true crime, and serial killers in particular, you might already know all this. Joe Berlinger’s four-part Netflix documentary won’t add much to your body of knowledge, as brilliantly structured and edited as it is, and it’s what’s elided or ignored that ultimately distinguished it: the personalities and stories of Bundy’s victims.”
What is most notable about this documentary series is the attention it brings to the sole Bundy survivor, Carol DaRonch. DaRonch, now 63, depicts the horrifying encounter she had with Bundy 45 years ago when she was just 18 years old. It is her testimony alone that makes this series almost worth watching.
The four-part documentary series is one you will either love or hate and it seems that response is based solely on the amount of knowledge you have before watching this series. It is my belief that this documentary series would have had more success if the new Ted Bundy crime film titled “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” and starring Zac Efron and Lily Collins, had been released at a different time.