People have become morbidly obsessed with both real and fictional serial killers in recent months. The amount of crime documentaries, shows and movies have become more popular while portraying killers with a rather “perfect” image. Specifically shows like “You” and the new Zac Efron movie, “Extremely Wicked, Shocking Evil and Vile” have caused people to think this way.
The new Netflix series, “You,” starring Penn Badgley, who plays Joe Goldberg, has gotten positive yet alarming hype. The show follows an intelligent bookstore manager living in New York City and shows his fixation on an aspiring writer, Guinevere Beck. More people have focused on Badgley’s looks in the show rather than the fact that he is a murderer. Viewers have even taken to social media to express their new obsessions with Joe.
Nobia Parker tweeted, “Said this already but @PennBadgley is breaking my heart once again as Joe. What is it about him?” Badgley responding with “A. He is a murderer.”
Not only does the series show how easy it is to stalk individuals but the show gives the illusion that what Joe is doing is all for love. He even says in the show, “some people deserve to die,” something he learned from his mentor, Mr. Mooney. While “You” is a fictional show, it sends the message that this kind of behavior is morally okay.
Zac Efron’s new movie has gotten some backlash as well. He plays the role of Ted Bundy in the upcoming film, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.” Efron said he doesn’t want this movie to be a celebration of Bundy or a glorification but a psychological study of who this person was.
So why are people so upset over the film? Ted Bundy was a serial killer during the 1970’s who would kidnap, rape and kill young girls and women. After decades of denying these accusations, he confessed to committing 30 homicides. The accurate amount of victims remains unknown but is estimated to be over 100. Bundy would often revisit his crime scenes and would perform sexaul acts to the decomposing bodies. He also decapitated at least a dozen of his victims. He received the death sentence and died in the electric chair on Jan. 24, 1989.
Junior elementary and special education major Grace Mazza agrees with the way Bundy was portrayed in the movie. “I think it made sense to have him romanticized because that’s how he was in real life. I just think the problem is that Zac Efron is already famous for being attractive and he plays a good guy in other movies. So people who love him are watching it with bias.”
When Bundy was alive, he lived a very normal day-to-day life. He was born in Burlington, Vermont and attended the University of Washington to study psychology. He even married and had a child with Carole Ann Boone. Prior to Boone, Bundy dated a women named Elizabeth (Liz) Kloepfer. Kloepfer said Bundy was “warm and loving” but she was also “sickened by him.” Kloepfer actually tipped off the police. She wasn’t sure if he was capable of murder but she felt as thought he was suspicious. The main reason he is portrayed as is in the movie is because even when he was alive, women would swoon over him. In order to tell a story of a person’s life, it needs to be accurate.
The biggest takeaway message from both “You” and “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” shouldn’t be about the attractiveness behind the screen, it should be a warning to all men and women. Somewhere this message is being lost. While these are forms of entertainment with one being fiction, they can happen and they do happen. These acts are not a form of love and should not be confused otherwise. Even the most “normal” passing people can have a dark secret.