Posted in: Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on July 22nd, 2009
In the 1970’s, Ted Bundy murdered over 30 women across several states. He was jailed only to escape two times, and was finally captured and languished on death row until 1989, when he was put to death in the electric chair.
Watching Michael Feifer’s Bundy: A Legacy of Evil should presumably leave the viewer feeling like they know something about this man, a charmer who was able to put young women at ease and lure them to their deaths. After all, Feifer specializes in serial killer portraits; he seems to fancy himself the creator – he writes, directs, and produces these films – of some kind of low-budget serial killer masterpiece theater series. The problem is that the film gives no insight, and very few facts, about either the details of the case or the psychology behind the man.
The film is book-ended by scenes of Bundy (Corin Nemec), on death row, being badgered into recording details of his crimes by the prison warden (Kane Hodder). This allows Feifer to take a meandering, unstructured approach to the material that does not serve it well. Not only do they never quite cohere into anything resembling a clear portrait of Bundy as a monster or a human being, but if I had no previous knowledge of this subject and only had the film to go by, I would assume that Bundy brutally murdered – and often raped – all those women because 1) he had a rough childhood and was raised by his sister, and 2) his college girlfriend broke up with him. And that’s it. That’s all we’re given to go on.
There was a documentary made three years ago called Ted Bundy: Natural Porn Killer, which explored the possibility that Bundy’s obsession with pornography led to his crimes. In Bundy: A Legacy of Evil, pornography is not even mentioned until the last five minutes of the film, and then only in passing, as Bundy speaks to the warden, blaming “society and pornography” for making him into a killer. This kind of lapse is typical.
Nemec, who played Richard Speck in another Feifer film, seems miscast, and the rest of the cast is uniformly awful. Hodder, who has played Jason in several Friday the 13th movies, is far more effective in roles that require silence and having his face concealed by a goalie mask.
Much of the production is made up of long, pointless sequences (Bundy driving down the highway in real time, Bundy staggering away from a murder, down stairs, down a street, down a hallway, etc.) and many scenes whose production values are reminiscent of local television commercials that you see on late night TV.
The whole thing is a fairly clumsy exercise. There is never any buildup of tension or suspense, few insights into the killer being explored by the film, little dramatic interaction, and no reason to spend 90 minutes watching it.