“Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” was a really good depiction of Ted Bundy’s life and crimes, but it was just too long. All the details were there, but everything was described to the point where even brutal sorority murders couldn’t hold my interest.
Though there are only four episodes, each episode is almost an hour, so you have to really commit yourself to watching it. It was also a little repetitive, with the majority of the focus being on analyzing Bundy's personality and efforts to find him.
It comes off as a little dry because a lot of personal aspects are missing, like the emotional impact of his horrifying murders and the people around him. He’s the only one who gets a voice, and after three hours, that voice is really boring. It’s also a little infuriating, the way he’s so smug and righteous, along with his self esteem as a good old boy.
The producers did an amazing job with this part, showing Bundy's personality and what motivated him. You get a fully formed image of him, how he loved the attention and how narcissistic he was. This is especially shown when he was talking to the press during his trial, how he tries to be seen as an honest, lovable guy.
Even though it went a little overboard with descriptions at times, I did really like how many interviews were involved. People that had known him, people that had been affected by his murders, they all got the chance to talk about how the whole thing went down.
The first episode was the best for this, contrasting his idealized portrayal of himself with his childhood friend's description of him as a loser. The setup was kind of funny, with Bundy saying something about how he was well-liked and respected, and then someone who actually knew him skewering these delusions.
I thought they could’ve done a better job of showing how horrifying Bundy's crimes were because how evil he was gets lost in all the information. But there are little things that stand out, like how his eyes would go black sometimes, or how he managed to weasel his way out of prison by losing weight and tunneling into the ceiling.
There are flashes of how terrifying he must have been, but for the most part the show is a little bland. You do get a really good sense of how inefficient police efforts were, with the lack of collaboration between states and how many times he was able to escape.
I know that one of the main criticisms of the newly released Ted Bundy movie “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile” is that it romanticizes him, which is something that the Netflix series manages to avoid. But “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” also avoids any interesting aspects or any real emotion.
“Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” was a very accurate and thorough depiction of Ted Bundy and his history. But it somehow managed to make a serial killer’s testimony and grisly crimes boring.