Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman

The United States of America a country whose history stretches only two centuries, much of which has been dedicated to erasing the native peoples and their own cultural identity and legends, so there is little surprise that American horror is equally bloody and steeped in the modern, slasher movies featuring unstoppable serial killers having formed the exposed backbone of the genre since the mid-seventies and having supported the career of writer and director Daniel Farrands.

Having worked on franchises including Halloween and Amityille and documentaries on A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, his recent output has been the reinvention of true crime as horror, a dubious pursuit which has granted the world The Haunting of Sharon Tate, The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and now Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman, soon to be followed by the equally unnecessary Aileen Wuornos: American Boogeywoman.

The standard disclaimer expanded to state that “characters, scenes, locations and dates have been changed and fictionalised for legal and dramatic purposes,” that is no understatement, the events between late 1974 and early 1978 compressed into ninety minutes with the perpetrator of multiple hideous crimes before and during that period reinvented as a mythological icon, capable of mesmerising his victims and becoming invisible to evade capture.

Contemporary accounts of Theodore Robert Bundy describing him as intelligent and charming, after arrest he was understood to be a manipulative sociopath who used what would now be termed “social engineering” to approach his victims, falsely presenting himself as a friend of a friend or as in need of help, and the dedication of Max Winslow’s Chad Michael Murray to the role deserves better than Farrands’ parade of bad taste.

In thrall to the cinema of the era in which it is set and glorifying the perpetrator at the expense of his victims, with sorority girls partying oblivious to the threat in their midst and Zombi’s Steve Moore providing the synth score, even basic structure is abandoned with gaps in the narrative, Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman an experience akin to randomly skipping through the pages of a book to find the exciting parts and accidentally missing significant developments such as arrests, Farrand perhaps feeling portraying his protagonist as fallible would undermine his mystique.

“He said Teddy was conceived in Hell,” Louise Bundy (Lin Shaye) tells investigators FBI profiler Robert Ressler and Detective Kathleen McChesney (Jake Hays and Holland Roden); “I guess that would make my father the Devil.” Paraphrasing the origin story of Freddy Krueger and even going so far as to depict a masked bondage fantasy torture sequence, the exploitative title says it all, any hope of a serious and measured treatment of the tragic events quickly bludgeoned, dismembered and dumped.

Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman will be available on Digital Download from 6th December



Show Buttons
Hide Buttons