Bizarro Masterpiece Theatre: Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy (2002)

Director: Matthew Bright

Cast: Michael Reilly Burke, Boti Ann Bliss

Director Matthew Bright has done the impossible – he has turned Ted Bundy into a comedic genius. After watching this movie, I can’t even look at pictures of the most notorious serial murderer in American history without Bright’s bumbling caricature popping up and making me snicker. Ted’s not scary anymore; he’s a slaughterhouse rodeo clown, traipsing the country in his yellow VW Beetle of Death, raping and killing to an upbeat disco score. Ted Bundy is the mass murderer’s equivalent of Springtime for Hitler, so stunning in audacity that it must become a cult classic.

The film doesn’t screw around in belaboring its statement of purpose. Our first glimpse of Ted comes in his morning routine, looking into his mirror and performing what appears to be a Tourette’s-fueled rubberface. From there, Ted embarks on a pleasant day out, frantically stealing televisions from storefronts and gigantic potted plants from hotel parking lots. The evening draws Ted to a swinging club, where he boogies down with a co-ed before following her back to her place and angrily masturbating outside of her bedroom window. After a second-floor neighbor cockblocks Ted with a pitcher of ice water, the creep scurries away, clubbing a random woman in the head and stealing her purse for no good reason. Yeah, the rest of the movie pretty much follows this formula, and (seriously) ends with Ted getting a fistful of cotton balls up shitter, followed by credit music that would be more appropriate as background for winning a new car on The Price is Right. Jesus.

Though there are a few scenes which induce genuine squirm, it’s clear that Bright – no stranger to crap filmmaking – set out to make a comedic slasher flick, and slapped the Bundy swerve on for the illusion of weight. Michael Reilly Burke plays a passable Ted, though any depth he hoped to bring to the role was surely squashed after clubbing the fifth or so oblivious girl to death. Boti Bliss plays Ted’s girlfriend with such dithering stupidity that they ought to have put a helmet on her. The victims may as well be crash test dummies. This is both a glorious skewering of a dreadful affair, and a spit in the face to all those affected. It’s hard to determine which is greater.

Oh, Ted, you rascal. You got us again.

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