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In Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile, former Disney star and heartthrob Zac Efron plays serial killer Ted Bundy. The film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, has drawn some criticism for emphasizing Zac Efron’s good looksm in a role where he plays such a villainous character. For Kathy Kleiner Rubin, a survivor of the serial killer, it’s okay that Zac Efron is a hot Ted Bundy, as long as audiences learn the right lesson:
I believe that in order to show him exactly the way he was-- it’s not really glorifying him, but it’s showing him. And when they do say positive and wonderful things about him, that’s what they saw. That’s who Bundy wanted you to see. I think the movie does glorify him more than I think he should be. But like I said, I think everyone should see it, and understand him as what he was. Even when he was the perfect son. Hopefully, it’ll make women [sic] be more aware of their surroundings, and be more cautious.
Kathy Kleiner Rubin was 20-years-old when Ted Bundy snuck into her bedroom at Florida State University and beat her and her roommate with a club, so she has a different and more personal perspective on this film than most everyone else. As she told TMZ, she doesn’t see the film’s emphasis on the attractiveness of Zac Efron or his charm in the film as a problem, because it is showing Ted Bundy as he was.
Ted Bundy was handsome and charming, and that’s often how he got some of his victims to trust him. He appeared to be a nice guy and didn’t look dangerous. He used his attractiveness as a lure, and as Kathy Rubin said, he put out an image to the world of what he wanted people to see and that helped him commit his crimes and even convince some people of his innocence. That was in part possible because he was good looking.
Kathy Kleiner Rubin does admit that the movie glorifies Ted Bundy a bit more than it should, but it is still necessary viewing because it shows him for what he was and how someone like him could do what he did.
The survivor hopes that it makes women more cautious, with the lesson seemingly being that just because someone appears trustworthy doesn’t mean they are. Don’t judge a book by its cover works both ways and just because someone is hot, doesn’t guarantee that they are a good person.
The premiere of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile and the release of the trailer have coincided with the release of the Netflix documentary series Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. Zac Efron’s portrayal in the film and the Netflix series have prompted social media reactions talking about how hot Ted Bundy is. And some of the early reviews for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile have criticized the film for glorifying Ted Bundy through the washboard-abbed Zac Efron’s portrayal.
Netflix responded to the Ted Bundy was hot sentiment by issuing a statement on Twitter that there are plenty of hot men on the streaming service that aren’t serial killers. The reactions to both show how easy it is to focus on someone’s looks and fall under a spell, making Kathy Kleiner Rubin’s words even more necessary.
If anything when you hear Kathy Kleiner Rubin’s comments about the film, it makes even more sense that Zac Efron was cast. In so doing the film emphasizes Ted Bundy’s wholesome, attractive appearance and his charms, making the contrast with the vile person beneath the winning smile all the greater and the lesson all the clearer.
Zac Efron’s charm in the film also makes sense based on the nature of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile itself. The film is told from his longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer’s point of view. She struggled to accept the truth about Ted Bundy for a long time. So it would make sense that the film would at least in part show him through her eyes, glorifying his positive traits and downplaying the evidence against him.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile has not yet set a release date. For movies that do have a release date, check out our 2019 premiere guide.