Netflix’s latest documentary dives deep into a serial killer’s mind

‘Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes’ shows the true evil behind the murderer

Fair use from Netflix

Fair use from Netflix

Kate Schneider

“Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,” gives a brand new perspective into the psyche of a serial killer and how brutal the infamous Ted Bundy was. Through the use of interviews with Bundy while he was on death row, real footage from his trial and interviews with those from his past, “The Bundy Tapes” covers every possible aspect of his life.

I had always known Bundy simply as a famous serial killer from the ‘70s and ‘80s, but I was unaware of the depth of his crimes until this new documentary. The dozens of poor young women assaulted and murdered by Bundy is horrific and seems almost humanly impossible. But the tapes look past the appalling exterior of Bundy’s crimes and delve deep into the mind and motives behind the gruesome killings.

Throughout the first of four hour-long episodes, I found myself almost beginning to like Bundy because the first episode portrays him as a charming and charismatic young man that acted nothing like a typical serial killer. Through this, the documentary drew me into Bundy’s false personality, just as the women he murdered were.

“The Bundy Tapes” excelled at putting me into the shoes of those around Bundy, instead of watching from the outside. To me it did not feel like I was looking at it through a screen, but as if I was living alongside everyone else of that time.

Netflix outdid itself in terms of making me understand exactly what chaos both citizens and police were going through trying to solve the mystery of Bundy and the murdered women. The footage from police stations around the country at the time show how unorganized and separated the criminal justice system was. I had originally been unable to understand how Bundy evaded law enforcement for as long as he did, but the nonexistent communication between different stations explains the police’s failure to apprehend him.

The use of real footage from the courtroom helped visualize the manipulative and unstable man Bundy was, underneath his friendly exterior. While the visual quality of these portions may have not been ideal, the vintage and original camera quality showed exactly what average Americans watching the trial from home saw, which adds a whole new dynamic to the documentary.

The most bone-chilling part of the documentary was the interview with Bundy when he is on death row. A journalist was chosen in the 1980s to visit Bundy in prison regularly in order to learn more about why he killed so many young women. For weeks Bundy claimed he was innocent and could never fathom killing that many women. But when he was asked to talk about the psyche of whoever did commit the crimes, Bundy told the reporter his motive behind the murders without actually confessing. 

“Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” opened my eyes to the evil and horrendous depths of a serial killer’s mind, and Netflix could not have done a better job showing the truth behind the infamous Bundy.

“Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes”: ★★★★★

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