On Jan. 24, 2019, the 30-year anniversary of Ted Bundy’s execution, Netflix released a documentary titled “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes."
This documentary shows tape recordings of the interview between journalist Stephen Michaud and infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. The documentary utilizes the accounts of journalists, detectives and people who knew Bundy to tell the timeline of the murders that occurred across seven states.
Michaud went to the Florida State Prison, where Bundy was being held on death row. Bundy asked journalists to come interview him on the request of reexamination of all the cases against him, which he insisted would prove him innocent. Michaud decided to take the story.
Whether Bundy was telling the truth or lying, Michaud knew it would be a story. Michaud ended up with nearly 80 tapes with 100 hours of recorded conversations in the span of six months.
Bundy started his killing spree in 1974 with his first known victim, Lynda Ann Healey, a University of Washington student. This was also the same university that Bundy attended when he was working toward his psychology degree.
Later that year, two women had disappeared from Lake Sammamish State Park. Witnesses called the police department saying that they saw a man named “Ted” with the women who vanished from the park. Police had no luck until Elizabeth Kloepfer, Bundy’s girlfriend, reported to the police that Bundy had been acting suspicious lately. Police had reason to believe Bundy was the kidnapper because of the disappearances of women near University of Washington. Police prepared photo lineups to show eight witnesses that were at Lake Sammamish. Seven witnesses claimed that Bundy was not “the mysterious Ted.”
It wasn’t until Bundy was arrested for not complying with a police officer that any incriminating evidence was found against him. Police searched his car and found ski masks, an ice pick and a crowbar. He was further investigated and put into a lineup. That was when Carol DaRonch, a survivor who had escaped from Bundy, identified him in the lineup.
Bundy faced murder charges in Colorado, engineered two escapes and commited further assaults before his ultimate recapture in Florida in 1978. For the Florida homicides, he received three death sentences in two separate trials and was executed in the electric chair on Jan. 24, 1989.
Unlike most crime documentaries that Netflix has released like “Making a Murder,” this documentary doesn’t have the suspense of knowing whether the suspect was innocent or not. Everyone knew what Bundy had done. Joe Berlinger, director of the documentary, did an excellent job at depicting the timeline of Bundy’s case. Berlinger didn’t depict the documentary with gore or graphic images but had detectives who worked on the cases and journalists who covered this story depict in their own words how awful and sinister these crimes truly were.
With the movie “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” directed by Berlinger, coming soon to theaters, now would be the perfect time to watch “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.”