Forget the low hum of Netflix’s sober, slow-paced “Conversations with a Killer,” the Tarantino-esque trailer for a new Ted Bundy biopic seems to say. Audience’s stylish first look at “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” is laden with guitar riffs, jittering Impact font and, at one point, an actual wink to the camera.
Stars Zac Efron and Lily Collins filmed “Extremely Wicked” in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky during January and February 2018. Efron, whose Disney bona fides suit a vain, clean-cut serial killer with a knack for avoiding punishment, plays the murderer. Collins plays girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer, who began a turbulent six-year relationship with Bundy in 1969.
“When I felt his love, I was on top of the world,” she wrote in her autobiography. “When I felt nothing from Ted, I felt that I was nothing.”
His dozens of known crimes against young women, which included sexual assault, murder and necrophilia, would begin during their relationship. According to her autobiography, Kloepfer long nursed suspicions her boyfriend was connected to disappearances and homicides in their area but hesitated to share them.
She called police for the first time in ’74 and was dismissed; when she called again in ’75, the information she provided helped ensure his arrest on suspicion of kidnapping later that year.
That wasn’t the end of the drama. Bundy would more than once escape from authorities; when he did stand trial, his showmanlike persona and the gruesome nature of his crimes captivated audiences across the country.
By the look of the preview, “Extremely Wicked” frames its story in that operatic light: Love, murder, betrayal and a media circus.
The film will premiere Saturday at Sundance Film Festival.