Netflix’s ‘The Ted Bundy Tapes’ shows us a guy we think can’t possibly be a killer

I’ve been watching the ‘Ted Bundy Tapes’ on Netflix. Now, Netflix did say to people “don’t watch this alone!”, like it was terrifying and you wouldn’t sleep at night afterwards. However, being someone who has always been completely intrigued by the criminal mind, this was not a documentary I was going to pass up.

Ted Bundy has always interested me because he’s not your average serial killer. He doesn’t look scary or crazy. I mean, check out Charles Manson. I mean seriously, go watch a YouTube video. The man makes zero sense when he talks. He can barely string a coherent sentence together. And his eyes scream, “I don’t even know I’m on planet Earth right now”. He looks nuts. Ted was clean cut, polite, well mannered and well educated. I know he was charged with killing all those women. I know this. But if he told me he didn’t do it, he’s so convincing that I would believe him. That’s what makes Ted Bundy special. Killers have followed in Ted’s footsteps who have been charming and disarming and this is now a fairly well known common trait found in psychopaths.

The ‘Ted Bundy Tapes’ allows viewers to listen to Ted’s story, almost from his own point of view. A psychology student, Ted was asked to describe the actions of the killer (he maintained his innocence for a while) as he saw it. He was seen as almost talking about himself in the third person, rather than profiling the killer. He describes seeing the women as rather a means to an end, in this case, that end being sexual gratification. His problem however, was that after he had achieved this end through violent sexual means he then had to get rid of the evidence, or the victim would then run away and he’d be busted, right? So in his head, killing them and disposing of the evidence was his only option. Why he didn’t just find a girl who was into bondage or hire a hooker that enjoyed being strangled for fun, is beyond me. These girls DO exist (no I’m not volunteering and no this is not something I personally would enjoy).

Ted was a bit of a chameleon. He could look different in every photo. This sounds odd but I also have a friend who doesn’t even need to change his hair and still manages to look totally different in every photo I have. Ted however, used this to blend in and maintain a sort of anonymity.

During the disappearances of Janice Ott and Denise Naslund, eye witnesses described seeing both girls talking to a man and overhearing the name “Ted”. What strikes me as extremely odd however is the police sketch of the suspect, as identified by the victims. The suspect is pictured with distinctly blonde hair. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but it would be very very difficult to mistake Ted’s hair as blonde. It is extremely dark. This would surely be one of the first things people notice, is the colour of someone’s hair or their clothing. Is it possible that the witnesses were so wrong about Ted’s hair colour when they saw him talking to Janice and Denise? I personally don’t think so. I am swayed to this even moreso by the fact that when shown a photograph of Ted, seven of the eight witnesses said that the man they saw most positively was not Ted. Could Ted have used his chameleon-like abilities to blend in and confuse these witnesses or were the girls talking to a different man altogether.

Netflix, for reasons unknown, have left out the perhaps overly graphic details of Ted’s necrophilia after the murders. It does not mention that after sexually assaulting the girls, sodomising some of them, and killing them, he then kept the bodies in the woods and frequently revisited them, performing sexual acts with the corpses until decomposition made this impossible. He also kept the heads of several of the girls at his apartment, before taking them back to the woods and dumping them.

How much of this confession was true, we will never know as Ted kept much to himself and liked attention from the press, so it’s entirely possible he fabricated macabre stories to reignite that media attention, we will never know, as Ted was taken to the electric chair in 1989 and an end was put to his terrifying reign.

Netflix takes us through some in depth and interesting insight into Ted’s murder spree, mainly from his own perspective, which was incredibly interesting, however I feel a bit like he was glamorised and without knowing what I know about the sexually assaults and necrophilia, you could almost believe he wasn’t that bad of a guy…