Ted Bundy director slams claims Zac Efron is sexualizing the brutal serial killer

Ted Bundy director slams claims Zac Efron is sexualizing the brutal serial killer

When the trailer for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile dropped, audiences expected a nightmarish tale about one of the most infamous serial killers to ever live.

Instead, many viewers felt as if they watched two minutes of Zac Efron taking off his shirt and winking at the camera: something that some people insisted sexualised Ted Bundy, the serial killer, kidnapper, rapist, burglar, and necrophile who confessed to killing more than 30 victims.

Now though, director Joe Berlinger has spoken out to defend the movie, which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 26. Naming accusations of glorification a "knee-jerk reaction", the 57-year-old claimed that his film simply portrayed how one would become a victim to the ever-charming Bundy.

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 26: Director Joe Berlinger and Zac Efron of 'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile' attend The IMDb Studio at Acura Festival Village on location at The 2019 Sundance Film Festival - Day 2 on January 26, 2019 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb) Credit: Getty

"I think the idea of this particular story, making a movie about Bundy, equals glorification of him is a very naive and knee-jerk reaction," he told Bustle. "Because if you actually watch the movie, the last thing we’re doing is glorifying him. He gets his due at the end, but we’re portraying the experience of how one becomes a victim to that kind of psychopathic seduction."

The filmmaker continued to claim that "people have the right to tell any story they want to tell", stating: "I am highly aware of the hypocrisy that I myself participate in, about the nature of true crime filmmaking is that, at the end of the day, we’re making entertainment out of other people’s tragedy.

"Look, there have been a lot of movies about Adolf Hitler and about the Holocaust, but if somebody were to have a new angle as a way of illuminating some aspect of the human condition or aspect of that particular story..."

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile Credit: ‎Voltage Pictures

"I think telling filmmakers any subject matter is off limits is a very slippery slope that leads us to Trump declaring that the media is 'fake news. I think there should be no censoring of subject matter, if it’s done responsibly. And even if it’s done irresponsibly, people have the right to tell any story they want to tell."

He's not the only one to defend the biographical thriller film. Last week, Zac Efron himself claimed that film simply exemplifies that "magic Ted Bundy facade".

In an interview with Variety, he revealed his parents were freaked out when they found out he was considering the role and that he too originally had some reservations about the part, but was ultimately too intrigued to turn it down.

Ted Bundy Credit: Getty

"Ted had this thing about him, this magic Ted Bundy facade," he said. "He has charm. The way he worked with people, the people in prison with him loved him, cops that knew him seemed to think he was an okay guy. It wasn't until after he fully admitted to everything that most of the world really believed Ted was even capable of these things. He pulled the wool over a lot of people's eyes."

He continued:

"Initially, I had reservations about playing a serial killer. I've seen people make horror films like this before, and it seems like an aggressive play to separate yourself from a perceived image. And it’s got a lot of killing and hacking and slashing. I think I’ve seen that before too many times.

"This movie was really about a human being, somebody that perhaps I would have been friends with - and a love story from a very unique perspective. I’ve never seen that before. It’s intriguing to me. I think it’s more psychological and even more kind of a mindf**k.'

We can't wait to see the film and make our own minds up!