True Crime Context

The most recent trend of movies/documentaries about real serial killers should probably be freaking us out a bit more than we currently are. Most recently Extremely Wicked,Shockingly Cruel and Vile staring Zac Efron as Ted Bundy was released on Netflix. I am not going to trash how well Netflix is able to produce these types of pieces, and I honestly enjoy them, but it got me thinking.

Is our recent true crime obsession healthy on society as a whole?

“The average viewer or the average reader is somebody who is intensely compelled and curious about what happened because, in a very [basic] way, it’s exciting … and it’s also entertaining,” Jooyoung Lee, associate professor of sociology at University of Toronto, told Laura Hensley in an interview earlier this year. “It’s the same reason why we watch fights or tune into boxing matches.”

The fact that violent video games affect an individual’s tendencies has long been debated, but I would almost guarantee that there is some psychological effect on us when we watch true crime documentaries. The topics they cover are often spoken about in graphic detail that wouldn’t be found on a regular show, and in some cases the criminals are even made to look victimized and their crimes are downplayed. People wonder why there are fanclubs for killers on Tumblr, it’s because there are so many different stories and interpretations out there.

In Extremely Wicked,Shockingly Cruel and Vile a large amount of Bundy’s crimes were not mentioned, and the severity was extremely downplayed in my opinion. If there are people who watch this and have no knowledge of the actual crime, they may legitimately believe that Ted Bundy was wrongly convicted, even though there is blaintant evidence out there that he did in fact do it.

My advice, as someone just as curious as the rest, is to research the history behind the killings, form your own opinion. Do this before watching the documentaries or movies that Netflix is dangling in front of your face. Having context makes the watch a lot more interesting.


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