Chad Michael Murray

Chad Michael Murray plays Ted Bundy in a new film – why is Hollywood so obsessed with this serial killer?

Posted by for Film

The reaction to upcoming film, American Boogeyman – which stars Chad Michael Murray as Ted Bundy, proves we’ve probably had enough of Hollywood glorifying this serial killer. 

Chad Michael Murray has been cast as Ted Bundy. Yes, Murray – he of teen drama One Tree Hill fame – will play notorious serial killer Bundy in an upcoming film, American Boogeyman. This isn’t the first time that Hollywood has chosen a “heartthrob” to play Bundy. In 2019, Zac Efron starred in Netflix’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile. And Bundy’s killings were explored in another Netflix production, Conversations With A Killer, and ABC’s 20/20: Bundy. The list of miniseries and documentaries goes on and on. 

American Boogeyman claims to tell “the true story behind the manhunt that brought America’s most fearsome boogieman to justice.” The synopsis for the film reads: “A specter roams the highways of a gritty and decadent 1970s America, hunting for his next prey – his name is Ted Bundy (Murray). Tracking him is the intrepid female detective Kathleen McChesney (Holland Roden), working out of the Seattle Police bureau, and rookie FBI profiler Robert Ressler (Jake Hays), the government agent who coined the term ‘serial killer.’”

There’s no denying that we are a society obsessed with true crime. Earlier this week, Channel 4 announced a new streaming platform dedicated to the genre. And it makes sense, right? We are curious beings, after all, intrigued by the grim and inexplicable. But what is it about Bundy – a man who raped at least 30 women and girls – that Hollywood is so particularly obsessed with? Was he ever actually as ‘charming’ or ‘good looking’  as these productions make him out to be? What’s with the never-ending retellings? And, most importantly, what about the story of his victims and their families? 

People have been quick to ask these questions in response to the American Boogeyman trailer, which dropped earlier this week. 

“These were real girls and women whose lives were taken by a vile man,” a Twitter user shared online alongside a photograph of the women. “But sure, keep making these Ted Bundy movies and forcing these victims families and friends to relive the trauma of what happened to their loved ones.”

“The way Hollywood continues to give Ted Bundy exactly what he wanted really gets on my nerves,” added another woman.

“I’m so fucking sick of Ted Bundy movies. Name one good reason why Hollywood constantly throws him in our faces without any respect to the families of the victims,” shared another Twitter user.

Asserting an important point about the case, a woman tweeted: “Ted Bundy was hideous, don’t let America convince you this man was attractive and that’s why he got away with his crimes. In actuality the cops were just bad at their jobs and too busy harassing Black people for breathing and were friendly with white men as they wreaked havoc.”

And this meme perhaps nails the shared despair over the trailer: “When will we be free of Hollywood painting Ted Bundy as this handsome genius?”

Of course there will always be interest around this horrific story, but perhaps it’s time for this nauseating carousel of Hollywood films and sensationalised documentaries to stop.

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…