Ted Bundy director responds to criticism that Zac Efron film sexualises serial killer

Joe Berlinger called it a 'naive and knee-jerk reaction'

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile: Official trailer

The director of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile has responded to claims the upcoming biopic sexualises Ted Bundy.

Heart-throb Zac Efron plays Bundy in the film, which debuted at Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews. However, the trailer was criticised online, which shows the character topless in a shower scene.

Joe Berlinger, who also helmed the recently released Netflix documentary about the serial killer, said the reaction was "naive and knee-jerk".

"I think the idea of this particular story, making a movie about Bundy, equals glorification of him is a very naive and knee-jerk reaction," he told Bustle.

"If you actually watch the movie, the last thing we’re doing is glorifying him. He gets his due at the end, but we’re portraying the experience of how one becomes a victim to that kind of psychopathic seduction,"

Berlinger concluded that, while there's always arguably an element of making entertainment from misery with all true crime films, there are "valid" lessons to be learnt from exploring these topics.

The release of the project coincides with the 30th anniversary of his execution. Authorities believed that Bundy raped, murdered and dismembered more than 30 women before he was caught and exuected at the Florida State Prison in 1989.

One of Bundy's surviving victims recently spoke about the spate of documentaries on the murderer. Kathy Kleiner Rubin said she “doesn’t have a problem” with people watching the film, “as long as they understand that what they’re watching wasn’t a normal person”.

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