Bundy: A Legacy of Evil (2009)

Bundy: A Legacy of Evil ReviewReviewed by The Foywonder

Starring Corin Nemec, Kane Hodder, David DeLuise, Shannon Pierce, Jen Nikolaisen

Directed by Michael Feifer

Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Filmmaker Michael Feifer seems to have developed something of a cottage industry cranking out low budget movies about the exploits of real-life serial killers with mixed results and not a lot of concern with getting the facts straight. In the past he’s done films about Ed Gein, Richard Speck, the Boston Strangler, and just last month the surprisingly well received B.T.K. hit DVD shelves. He also has a Henry Lee Lucas movie starring Antonio Sabato, Jr., in the pipeline. I’m here to review Feifer’s newest, Bundy: A Legacy of Evil, a pointless, unnecessary docudrama about Ted Bundy, the boyishly charming 1970s serial killer who killed at least 30 some-odd college coeds during his cross-country killing spree before being arrested and twice escaping prison.

Unlike Ulli Lommel’s forays into the serial killer genre that amount to little more than artsy-fartsy serial killer fan fiction, this film plays like a series of mostly mundane vignettes and musical montages that randomly drift from place-to-place and year-to-year throughout Bundy’s serial killing career, never staying focused on any particular segment long enough for it to develop any true significance. Feifer is clearly trying to create a portrait of a serial killer. Problem is his brush strokes don’t add up to anything. No suspense. Zero dramatic tension. Little insight into what made Bundy tick. Quite a few pertinent facts of the case are omitted, and others are reduced to mere hearsay.

Here’s what I did learn about Ted Bundy from watching this film:

  • Ted Bundy had a bad childhood.
  • Ted Bundy made lame excuses for his problems.
  • Ted Bundy had issues with women.
  • Ted Bundy liked to kill women.
  • Didn’t need a movie for that.

    Much of what made Ted Bundy unique as far as serial killers go was him being a handsome charmer, someone who on the surface you’d never suspect was a serial killer. Feifer shows little interest in that side of Bundy’s persona; Bundy is primarily portrayed as quietly brooding or just batshit crazy, yelling at God and literally baying at the moon.

    One real howler of a scene (in more ways than one) sees a post-murder Bundy out in the desert coming across the carcass of a dead wolf, dropping down on all fours beside it, taking a position and making a face usually seen only during werewolf transformation scenes, and then begins howling at the moon in a manner that outright dares viewers to laugh out loud. I don’t know if this was taken from something Bundy actually did in real life, but I realize I’m supposed to be watching the behavior of a crazy man, neither of which matter because Corin Nemec looks like the biggest jackass doing this.

    Corin Nemec, who already portrayed Richard Speck in a previous Feifer production, gives it his all but always looks entirely too old for the role, laughably so during the scenes portraying Bundy during his high school and early college years. Talk about your 40-year-old freshman.

    Feifer at least has the good taste to not show much of the actual carnage. You will hear an ungodly amount of women screaming and begging for mercy; instead of being horrifying it tends to be just taxing on the ears.

    Feifer clearly wanted to make Bundy: A Legacy of Evil more Helter Skelter than the standard straight-to-DVD true-life serial killer exploitation flick, but too often I felt like I was watching a feature-length R-rated “America’s Most Wanted” re-enactment segment. If you really want to watch a chilling movie about Ted Bundy, I’d highly recommend tracking down a copy of the 1986 made-for-TV movie The Deliberate Stranger that starred Mark Harmon as the charismatic killer.

    One other thing I feel compelled to mention; according to IMDB, would you believe the original title of this film was Bundy: An American Icon? Excuse me? Henry Ford is an American icon. Babe Ruth is an American icon. John Wayne is an American icon. Ted Bundy is a serial killer. He’s not even the household name Charles Manson is. Thank you, Lionsgate, for realizing the “American icon” status should be reserved for individuals whose achievements in this country do not involve murdering 35+ women, mostly teenage girls just getting started in life.

    2 out of 5

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    • GeorgeXXX

      I viewed Bundy: A Legacy of Evil twice, and I liked this movie. I thought it showed a side of Bundy that is never shown: The dark, crazy, absolutely sick side. To my knowledge this side has only been properly acknowledged by the serial killer expert Robert Ressler in his book Whoever Fights Monsters.

      I thought the scenes of Bundy abusing women in the desert were very insightful. I believe this is pretty much what occurred- the taunting, the use of ropes, ect. Also, the “digging up” of old corpses and decapitation did very much occur in real life with Ted.

      Did Feifer get the facts straight? Well, no, not on the whole, but doesn’t anyone who knows this case already know the material facts? Also, Feifer took on the Hurculean task of reporting Bundy’s entire life.

      For sure this is campy fare, but it is an admirable effort. I place it easily on par with the 1986 film “The Deliberate Stranger”, which while entertaining, showed Bundy as a Don Juan, who just happened to kill scores of girls. He was a drunk and a loser more than anything, and Feifer shows this well.

      Rent this movie! I have studied Ted for 20 years. feel free to write me at xraise@hotmail.com with any comments on Bundy or the movies.

      Take Care All,

    • thedude86

      Thats the problem with these movies, i only made it half way through the Ed Gein movie with Kane Hodder, no offense to Mr. Hodder but the last person to play Ed Gein would be him. These low budget serial killer movies are just playing on the name when in reality the truth behind the murders is truly scarier than some monster of a man coming after you. Its much more frighting that your next door neighbor could be a sadistic serial killer!

    • Avid Fan

      too bad they went with the over the top cover image, should have been a picture of a regular nice guy with the same title treatment. I don’t think they’ll gain any more viewers with an obvious image of a sinister face.

    • PelusaMG

      I completely agree with you… the thing most disturbing about Bundy was that be came across as a well-heeled regular guy, yet ‘behind this mask’ was an utter psychopath! From reading about Bundy, baying at the moon would be the last thing I imagine him doing, but engaging in pleasant, enlightened and informed dinner conversation, and then going out to rape and kill someone… that’s more the ‘spirit’ of this vile and disgusting man.