It might not surprise you that when I am writing a true crime book, I usually have true crime going on the TV. I’m usually not watching it, but I like the background noise. My usual go-to film is to go to the blu ray of Zodiac. Having recently watched Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (perhaps the longest title for a series) I was wanting to reacquaint myself with Ted Bundy. Normally I would have dusted off my copy of A Stranger Beside Me, but I decided to look at the Netflix offering of Conversations With a Killer – The Ted Bundy Tapes. I fired it up in the background and started to write.
Then I stopped writing to watch – a rarity. I am pleased to say that this series delivers in new and eerie ways.
This four part series delves into the interviews two authors did with Bundy just prior to his execution. It is framed against the timeline of his crimes and subsequent trials. It is well-produced and at times, downright creepy. In order to get Bundy to talk about his crimes, they convince him to speak in third-person. So what you get throughout this series is his voice, almost disembodied, talking about what “someone” might have done. It was brilliant on their part and leaves us with perhaps one of the more disturbing discussions we have been privy to from a notorious serial killer. Bundy’s lack of emotion about anything other than himself does send chills down your spine.
Interlaced throughout this is a lot of footage from TV news about the cases, with the surviving investigators, witnesses and victim weighing in. It is well edited and the following of the timeline really helps a viewer stay focused and organized during viewing. I really like watching the period broadcasts…they pull you in.
I was a little surprised that Netflix has hopped onto the Ted Bundy wagon. Moreover, there are things in this documentary that contradict things in their other series, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. That is to be expected, but it does make you scratch your head a bit…almost as if the programming folks at Netflix were not talking to each other.
Conversations With a Killer is a welcome documentary, a secret pleasure for true crime aficionados and newbies to the genre.