What is a monster? When people think of monsters they invision fictional characters. Characters like Godzilla or Frankenstein’s creature. Although those are monsters, we don’t think of the monsters who live in our real world, the monsters who walk around daily and do inhuman things. Theodore Robert Bundy was one of those monsters. He was a monster who raped and killed many young girls.
Theodore Robert Bundy, better known as Ted Bundy, is an american serial killer who murdered numerous young women during the mid 1970s. He confessed to 30 of those murders but it is believed he killed many more women. These murders occurred in 7 different states between the years 1974 and 1978. Bundy was arrested on August 16, 1975 for not stopping his vehicle when ordered by an officer. When the police searched his car they found items that were believed used in a burglary. It was not until the officer realized his car was the same car described by a victim who escaped his kidnapping. Ted was arrested and sentenced to 15 years of prison on March 1, 1976 for kidnapping, but that was not the end. Bundy escaped from the police more than once. In June 1977 Ted jumped out of a law library window during a pre trial hearing where he was serving as his own lawyer, he was caught a week later. On December 30, 1977 he escaped prison and made his way to Tallahassee Florida. While in Florida the murders continued. A week after his last killing on February 9, 1978 of a 12 year old girl, he was arrested for driving a stolen vehicle. After getting arrested he went to trial for the murders he committed and was sentenced to death. Bundy’s last day of execution was scheduled on January 17, 1978 but was postponed after endless appeals. Right before being put to death he gave detail of 50 murders he committed along with confessing to keeping heads of the victims at his home and engaging in necrophilia with his victims. He blamed pornography at a young age being the stem of his murderous obsession. On January 24, 1978 Ted Bundy was executed in an electric chair.
A monster can be anything or anyone depending on what is believed a monster is. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen has seven different theories of what makes a monster or what a monster is. The first thesis in Cohen’s Monster Culture is The Monster’s Body Is a Cultural Body. Cohen explains how the monster shows up in a specific time to incorporate fear. In today’s culture we are always looking for something wrong with people. We do not trust so easily because we have heard stories of what people are capable of or have seen what people do. “We serial killers are your sons, we are your husbands, we are everywhere” (Ted Bundy). Bundy said it himself, anyone can be a serial killer. Your sons, your husbands, or just anyone you know. We can not trust anyone in today’s society. We stay alert when we come across someone who does not seem trustworthy.
Ted Bundy is not the first serial killer to come about. There were many similar monsters who came before him. Thesis 2 of Cohen’s Monster Culture The Monster Always Escapes, explains how monsters always come back, they never leave. “..the monster itself turns immaterial and vanishes, to reappear someplace else” (Cohen, pg.4). John Wayne Gacy Jr. raped and murdered multiple teenage boys in the early 1970s. Gacy is also knowns as the “Serial Killer Clown”, he was a clown performer at children parties. Sometimes when he killed he would dress up as “Pogo the Clown”. He lured teenage boys promises them a job in construction then raped and killed them. Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy have a lot in common. They both had a preference of victims and raped then murdered them. In the case of serial killers they always come back. They go all the way back to 1888 with Jack the Ripper. He was a serial killer in London who killed an estimate of 11 people. The monster will always come back just in a different form.
No one suspected Ted Bundy to be the person who was doing these horrible things to young women, that is what allowed him to get away with all the murders he committed. He was a law student who was attractive and very charismatic. His close friends and family never even questioned it could be him when his name was added to the suspect list, to them it was a mistake. Everyone loved Bundy, “He was a very nice person. He was the kind of guy you’d want your sister to marry” (Michaud). After Ted admitted to the murders everyone was in disbelief.
So what makes a monster? Someone who is extremely wicked, shockingly evil, and vile. All those characteristics described Ted Bundy and are also the title of a movie about his life of being a murderer. This movie tells the story from his and his girlfriends point of view. The role of Ted Bundy is being played by Zac Efron in the movie.
Many people were angry about this film. They didn’t like the idea of portraying this monster as someone so desirable and charismatic.Not only were people angry about not showing the real Ted, but those victims who escaped and are alive today have to relive that nightmare. Cohen’s Monster Theory 6, Fear of the Monster is Really Kind of Desire explains how people desire the monster. In the trailer for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile Ted is made out to seem as a handsome, smart , outgoing man. In the movie his girlfriend at the time Elizabeth Kloepfer, played by Lily Collins, loved Ted no matter what. When she was asked why him, why she loved him so much she replied with, “When I feel his love I feel like i’m on top of the world” ( Lily Collins). That goes to show even though she knew he was a monster, she still loved and desired him
Ted Bundy was in interesting monster, he used his charming character to lure women in. He was confident in what he did, he did not think he would be caught. What made a law student who had a bright future ahead in him snap? Was he always a psychopath? There are many theories on why a person becomes a psychopath, from being lonely to pornography addiction , and more. As a child Bundy was lonely and shy. When he was a teenager he would window peep and fantasize about women. Bundy blames his obsession with killing women on his pornography addiction. “I’ve lived in prison for a long time now and I’ve met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence just like me and without exception, every one of them was deeply involved with pornography. Without question, without exception, deeply influenced and consumed by addiction to pornography” (Bundy). Although pornography is not the main reason he turned out to be a serial killer, it did help with his desire of violent tendencies.
“The serial killer generally preys on strangers for a complex set of motives only to him” (Vronsky, 10). A monster is one who hurts others intentionally, one who has no remorse of hurting someone. They hurt because they like it, they like the power they have over someone who can not help themselve. They are never satisfied, and always come back to hurt some more. Ted Bundy is that monster. The monster who killed numerous amount of women and felt no remorse. The monster who continuously kills to satisfy his inhuman needs. Bundy himself knew he was a monster and felt no shame. “I am the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you will ever meet” (Bundy).
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. “Monster Culture: Seven Thesis.” From Monster Theory: Reading Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. 3-25
Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. Dir. Joe Berlinger, Jon Doran, Jon Kamen, and Justin Wilkes. Perf. Stephen Michaud, Bob Keppel, and Kathleen McChesney. Netflix, 2019.Film.
Netflix. “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile Official Trailer “ Youtube. April 2, 2019.
Vronsky, Peter. Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. Penguin books, October 5, 2004.