What The Documentary Does
The newest documentary, Conversations With a Killer, on Netflix has been the latest dive into the nearly endless world of material on Bundy. With the chilling setup of the documentary, and the modern effects Netflix is able to provide, this new documentary provides conversations with Bundy that should make your skin crawl, and in certain ways it does. The main reason this documentary appears to fall flat however, is that this documentary doesn’t provide any real new information regarding this case. With the one goal in mind of these interviews being to try and get confession and motive from Bundy, these tapes instead turn out to be a story from Bundy, fueling his own ego. The issue that should be recognized is that the documentary was created with the knowledge that these tapes do nothing more than fuel this ego and mythology building of Bundy, instead of sticking to the victims and the case.
Unfortunately, as critics have pointed out since the documentary’s release, Bundy would most likely be pleased in how little of this documentary was spent discussing his crimes, instead discussing his life, at last how he would like his life to be portrayed. If you are coming into this documentary expecting new insights on the actual cases, and how the justice system failed time and again before finally taking Bundy down, you are not in for much in that regard. This documentary is however, perfectly geared as a supplement to the ongoing booming genre of true crime, and the fascination in every aspect of the killers within it. Regarded as incredibly interesting and different, the aspect that should be more worrisome is that people like this still do roam free among us. Though the interesting thing about this idea is that even though people are obsessed and treat these more as a genre than horrifying real stories, people are also more aware and distrustful, the constant true crime being presented may be having more effect on our awareness than we realize, for better and worse.
Where to go from here
In the context of this documentary, part of the reason for allowing so much backstory coverage into him was probably to make up for the fact that we already knew there were no new twists coming in the case. He does describe in some gruesome details what this killer may “theoretically” have been doing, but with the fact that he was always trying to appear smart and knowledgeable, and good specifically in this field as he was trying to be a lawyer, it seems that this way of allowing him to discuss the killings was unnecessary, given they were not incriminating him anymore than he already was, and he in a technical sense he didn’t admit to these crimes, at least in. his mind.
With this knowledge, going into making a new documentary about any well known killer or case, one should tread carefully. Feeding too much into the entertainment side and idolizing these people should not be the way to go, but a balance of making an interesting and entertaining documentary while also give more light to the victims and to their families. How this effects these people, and how the systems around us allow people like Bundy to keep going for so long seem like just as interesting, and actually new, topics to discuss in order to keep fueling this booming genre, without giving so much focus and fuel into the specific killer. At a certain point it is unavoidable though, as this whole page still has a Bundy picture and mentions his name a dozen or so times, that’s just the duel nature of discussing these crimes.