The film, which stars Zac Efron as the killer, premiered at Sundance Film Festival.
After the slew of criticism, director Joe Berlinger has spoken to Bustle about it.
“The idea of this particular story, making a movie about Bundy, equals glorification of him is a very naive and knee-jerk reaction,” Berlinger said.
“If you actually watch the movie, the last thing we’re doing is glorifying him,” he continued.
However, Berlinger did recognize the entire premise of the film is a bit iffy due to the subject matter.
“I am highly aware of the hypocrisy that I myself participate in, about the nature of of true crime filmmaking is that, at the end of the day, we’re making entertainment out of other people’s tragedy,” he said.
“Look, there have been a lot of movies about Adolf Hitler and about the Holocaust, but if somebody were to have a new angle as a way of illuminating some aspect of the human condition or aspect of that particular story… I think telling filmmakers any subject matter is off limits is a very slippery slope that leads us to Trump declaring that the media is ‘fake news,” he continued. “I think there should be no censoring of subject matter, if it’s done responsibly. And even if it’s done irresponsibly, people have the right to tell any story they want to tell.”
Berlinger isn’t the only person from the film to address the criticism. Efron also commented on the idea that his role sheds a positive light on Bundy.
“Initially, I had reservations about playing a serial killer,” he told Variety. “I’ve seen people make horror films like this before, and it seems like an aggressive play to separate yourself from a perceived image. And it’s got a lot of killing and hacking and slashing. I think I’ve seen that before too many times.”
The biopic focuses on Ted Bundy’s (Efron) dual life. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is told through the lens of Bundy’s ex-girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer, played by Lily Collins. The film also features Metallica’s James Hetfield as Officer Bob Hayward.
If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, you can watch it below.
Bundy was a serial killer, kidnapper, rapist and burglar who assaulted and murdered several women in the ’70s. He was executed in the electric chair at Florida State Prison on Jan. 24, 1989. He confessed to 30 homicides that he committed in seven states between 1974 and 1978. However, the true victim count will forever be unknown.
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