Reviewed: Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes


Netflix recently released Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. This four part documentary details the killing spree of one of the most notorious American serial killers, Ted Bundy. The series features a large amount of tapes recorded by Bundy himself shortly before his execution on January 24, 1989.  These tapes had never been released to the public until now, and combined with the countless news recordings and interviews, they allow the audience a look into the twisted and evil mind of Ted Bundy.

The documentary tells Bundy’s story using the tapes he recorded with journalists while attempting to prove his innocence, intercut with archival footage of news reports and interviews in the present day with the journalists who interviewed him in prison, Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth. From a childhood fraught with disturbing implications, countless murders, two successful jailbreaks and ending finally with death row and the electric chair, Bundy’s life is explored in explicit detail. His modus operandi, the profiles of his victims, but most interesting of all is the studies of his psyche. Hearing the different ways he murdered young White girls gets tiring and repetitive after a time, especially when thirty homicides are officially attributed to him, and the true number is believed to be far higher. The documentary really gets interesting when the viewer gets to see just how deluded Bundy really was. When you see him defend himself at his trial, you get the feeling that he truly believes in his own innocence.

The documentary also conveys the near supernatural ability Bundy had to change his appearance. A man with generic facial features, altering his dress and facial hair slightly seemingly gave him a completely different appearance. This contributed to law enforcement’s difficulty in capturing him. An utter chameleon, Bundy also seemed to figure out a way to ingratiate himself with everyone (besides his murder victims of course) and weasel his way out of most troublesome situations he found himself in until his luck finally ran out.

The Ted Bundy Tapes in some ways fall short. The most interesting thing about them are the tapes that Bundy himself recorded. But those are sometimes overshadowed by the series’ relishing in every single murder he confessed to committing. While sometimes morbidly interesting, it gets tiresome listening to someone basically read from a Wikipedia page about murders. The eponymous tapes were what grounded the series and gave it a sense of focus, everything else felt extra.