The Ted Bundy Project
The most interesting characters are always the villains. From Scar in Disney’s The Lion King to Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth and Stephen King’s Annie Wilkes, there’s something captivating about the nature of ‘evil’, even more so when dealing with real-life individuals.
After coming across the confession tapes of prolific serial killer, rapist and necrophile Ted Bundy in 2012, writer and performer Greg Wohead became fascinated by him as well as humanity’s obsession with violence. Whilst this is by no means a definitive examination of Bundy’s life—it revolves around only one victim—Wohead lays the foundations for a deeper exploration of murder.
Our preconceptions of a killer are questioned for, after all, Bundy seemed like a ‘nice guy’. He was charming, handsome and caring—not attributes necessarily associated with the archetypal murderer.
The issue of whether we all have the capacity to kill is also brought to the fore as Wohead recounts a personal story from his youth when he was so enraged by a girl he imagined beating her to death. This anger and frustration we have all, no doubt, felt, but could we genuinely kill another human? Are we all inherently ‘evil’?
This is far more than just an exploration into the mind of a maniac and, for 60-minutes, The Ted Bundy Project holds a mirror up to its audience and forces us to confront our compulsion to understand the dark side of man.
Wohead perfectly encapsulates this after describing the graphic details of the infamous One Man, One Icepick recording that went viral a few years ago (it depicts a man brutally murdering another man). He shows a reaction video of a group of young men who laugh at one of their friends who is vomiting at the footage.
Wohead then sits with the audience and begins to play the original tape. A moment of disbelief and unyielding interest swept across the audience. Perhaps it’s because we simply cannot comprehend how one can commit such atrocities that we need to see these horrors in order to believe them?
Interesting moments are littered throughout The Ted Bundy Project, but overall it feels a touch disjointed. There’s a moment of repetition that could have been avoided and actually hearing extracts from Bundy’s tapes would have added another layer—rather than just Wohead’s own impersonations.
This is an obvious work in progress, but definitely has the potential to be a truly remarkable insight into the dark side of humanity.
Reviewer: Sean Brooks