With the release of Netflix's Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile we’re talking about Ted Bundy. Again. Netflix just recently released its Ted Bundy Tapes which rehashed the serial killer’s story and sent a chill down all our spines. Now with the full-length new movie on the streaming service we’ve got go to through it all again, but this time with an over-sexualized Zac Efron playing Bundy. It’s easy to look at Efron and find him attractive, but it’s another thing entirely to look at him playing Bundy and find him attractive. The movie is already brewing with controversy over this issue, which makes it a little bit harder to separate the fact from Efron fiction and examine Bundy’s relationship with his girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer (played by Lily Collins), which is at the epicenter of the film.
The movie is based on Kloepfer’s book (which she wrote under the last name Kendall), The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy where she recounts her time with her long-time boyfriend because yes, Kloepfer and Bundy dated for a long time, even after Kloepfer began to grow suspicious of what Bundy was doing when they weren't together. While Kloepfer eventually became one of the people to tip the police off to Bundy’s actions, for a while, the two were living happily together (if you can believe it). They maintained an on-and-off-again relationship right up until the time Bundy was executed on death row.
Then again, the two did have a run-of-the-mill first encounter at a bar in Seattle, Washington in 1969 so nothing appeared amiss right away. At the time, Bundy was enrolled at the University of Washington (having just recently dropped out of one school to reenroll elsewhere) and Kloepfer was working as a secretary at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Kloepfer was recently divorced, new to the area, and also and trying to make ends meet as a single mother to a young girl. According to what Kloepfer writes in her book, she rarely went out at the time since she was barely scraping by financially, but a friend suggested she hire a babysitter so the two could go out for the evening.
Kloepfer and her friend just happened to end up at the same bar, the Sandpiper Tavern, as Bundy, and meeting him would change her life. While trying to avoid talking to another guy at the bar, Kloepfer spotted Bundy in the bar and approached him. Kloepfer was the first to talk to him, telling Bundy, “You look like your best friend just died,” and the two struck up a conversation.
In Kloepfer’s book, she continues on that she invited Bundy back to her house, but nothing happened between them that night. He made her breakfast the next morning and not long after that the two officially began dating, just as Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile shows. The two would date for almost the next decade, even after Bundy began killing young women and continued to phone Kloepfer after he went to jail.
Now years later, and with the release of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile here, Kloepfer has completely removed herself from the public eye, and aside from her book, hasn’t spoken about her relationship with Bundy. Though she spoke to Collins ahead of the film's production, we’ll probably never know what she thinks about the movie or Collins' portrayal of her in it — let alone Efron’s exaggerated serial killer.