Two new films about serial killer Ted Bundy have captivated the public's attention. The first is Joe Berlinger's Netflix documentary, titled Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, which examines the crimes of the now-executed murderer through chilling interview footage. The second, a narrative film also directed by Berlinger, is Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which stars the maybe too charming Zac Efron as Bundy.
Fascination with the rapist and murderer Bundy has received some criticism — there can be a fine line between learning everything one can about Bundy's crimes and glorifying him like a celebrity.
One of Bundy's survivors, Kathy Kleiner Rubin, has spoken out to Rolling Stone about how she feels about the public's fascination with the killer.
"[Bundy] was, and he lived, and he breathed, and he did what he did. And at some point he was...possibly a real person," Kleiner Rubin told Rolling Stone. "I think it’s good for people to read books about Bundy. I really do. They need to know that there’s evil out there, but they can control it."
Bundy attacked Kleiner Rubin in her sorority house bedroom in January of 1978. She survived with a broken jaw. Her sorority sister Karen Chandler, who was in the house and also attacked, similarly survived the horrifying ordeal. However, fellow sisters Margaret Elizabeth Bowman and Lisa Levy were sexually assaulted and killed by Bundy that same night.
It is understandable for Kleiner Rubin never to want to examine Bundy in the way much of the rest of the world seems inclined to do. But Kleiner Rubin — who, later in life, survived a battle with breast cancer and an armed robbery at the bank where she worked — has already decided she wants to see the new Efron film. She has just one request.
"Hopefully they’ll have one of the Kardashians play me," she joked to Rolling Stone.
Perhaps her attitude has to do with how the Bundy attack changed her perspective. She told the outlet that the attack made her "stronger," and that it gave her "more to live for."
In a 1989 interview with the Associated Press, shortly before Bundy was executed, Kleiner Rubin echoed this statement.
"I used to hate his guts, and I used to be scared of him," Kleiner Rubin admitted to the AP. "I really now feel sorry for him. His life isn’t easier now; I want it to be over."
Bundy may hold a macabre fascination, but it's women like Kleiner Rubin — a survivor of unimaginable horror who came out on the other side stronger — who deserve our attention.