Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile was released thirty years following the execution of one of America's most notorious and feared serial killers, Ted Bundy. The film features High School Musical alum Zac Efron as the dangerously charming Bundy, whose murder sprees originated in the Seattle area and moved on to Utah, Colorado and Florida. The film primarily depicts Bundy being tried for these crimes in court, and the effects it has on his loved ones (specifically Liz (Lily Collins) his girlfriend), sparing us from the gruesome details of his victims' fates. While we were busy taking note of the informative and thoroughly intense film, it's likely we overlooked some things, 10 of which we're pointing out here and now.
10 Subtle Signs Of Violent Tendencies
The morning following her initial meeting with Bundy, Liz wakes to find her daughter gone but finds that Ted has begun making breakfast in the kitchen, a wholesome scene presented. Yet, did you catch Ted holding the knife as he leaned in to kiss Liz? And his careful ministrations when slicing vegetables? Later, in a home movie, Ted holds a pan of cookies in one hand and a rolling pin in another, positioned almost threateningly above Liz's head as she waves to the camera alongside her daughter.
Perhaps the biggest giveaway is another scene in which Ted and Liz are kissing, and he goes for her neck, seemingly like he's going to choke her, but miraculously doesn't. The thing is, considering the kind of twisted criminal Bundy was, there's going to be an internal struggle between his evil side and his "normal" side. The movie portrays this quality subtly, insinuating that Bundy was holding back on his drastic desires while he was with Liz.
9 The Real Ted Bundy
When Liz's friend calls following Ted's second escape from jail, she tells Liz to "turn on the TV." She does so, but what you may have missed was what was onscreen. Instead of Zac Efron, photos of the real Theodore Robert Bundy are on Liz's television screen as the news announces Bundy's successful escape and the ongoing search for him.
It's there for a brief moment before the newscast moves on and Liz's viewing is interrupted by a knock on her door, so if you want to catch it, hit pause.
8 Carole Ann Lingers In The Background
When Liz and Ted run into Carole Ann (Kaya Scodelario), someone Ted knows from a previous work experience, while looking to adopt a dog we all notice the visible tension. It's obvious that Carole Ann harbors feelings for Ted and that Liz steps in to assert her claim to Ted, so to speak. Yet, if you look closely, when Liz asks Ted "What's her story?", Carole Ann stops walking and pauses in the background, watching them walk away, presumably listening to their conversation for a moment before turning around and walking away. It's a little odd, but considering she becomes the future wife of Ted Bundy, a little odd is probably in favor.
7 Liz Trusted Too Much
When Liz first meets Ted in a bar, they dance, and he takes her home. However, the night doesn't end there. He comes inside, he spends the night, and when she wakes, he's making breakfast and is taking care of her daughter. It should be unnerving the way Liz let a total stranger into her home, especially considering she has a young child, but it's portrayed as normal, which is why we miss the significance of this moment.
That was one of the most dangerous things about Ted Bundy in real life; he could make anyone, especially women, trust him. This more often than not was what led to the downfall of his unfortunate victims; he utilized his charm to lure them, asserting some kind of psychologically manipulative hold over them to get them to do what he wanted until it was too late.
6 Crimson And Clover
The first song that Liz and Ted dance to following their meeting in the bar is perfect considering the circumstances; sometimes the music just perfectly plays in sync with the scene, which is the case here. Yet, many of us aren't listening to the music because we're focused on Ted and Liz's growing chemistry with one another. Next time you watch this scene play out, listen closely. You'll hear Tommy James and The Shondells singing "Now I don't hardly know her...But I think I could love her...", lyrics to their hit song, "Crimson and Clover." In this scene, we can at least begin to understand why Ted had such a powerful hold on Liz, and why it was so hard for her to let him go even when she found out about his awful crimes.
5 1960s Volkswagen Beetle
You noticed that Ted Bundy drives a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle. Coincidentally, he even steals another when he escapes to Florida and commits crimes there. Yet, here's an ironic twist having to do with the car itself that few may consider. One of the most popular movies of the 1960s was undoubtedly The Love Bug, which featured a 1960s Beetle affectionately dubbed "Herbie."
This may be part of the reason why the Beetle was so popular (and why it was so hard to track down Ted). Considering Ted's car, by all means, was a place of horrors, this is the polar opposite of the way the Beetle was portrayed in the Walt Disney film; after all, it was called "the love bug" for a reason, and the 1960s were all about love and peace. Ted and his car couldn't have been further from the depth and meaning of the 1960s considering all the darkness the two went through.
4 The Film's Title
Perhaps you noticed it, perhaps you didn't. Either way, it's a cool piece of trivia for us to point out here. The film's title comes from the judge's words in the Florida courtroom: "That the killings were indeed atrocious and cruel, in that they were extremely wicked, shockingly evil and vile and with utter indifference to human life..." This is said as Bundy is being sentenced to death. In real life, the judge called the crimes "extremely wicked, shockingly evil and vile", so within this momentous statement is also a piece of historical reference and relevance. The film does spare us mostly from the macabre details of Ted's killings and his reasoning for them, but for anyone that knows the full story of Ted Bundy, these words are immortal in that they couldn't be more accurate considering the ghastly crimes.
3 Liz's Confrontation
This powerful moment may not have actually happened, but we were still struck by Liz's firmness with Ted in that he tell her the truth, take responsibility, and to release her from the hold he's had on her for years. We've seen Liz torture and blame herself for what Ted has done, and this moment finally gives Liz the closure she needs (although "hacksaw" is a pretty brutal way to obtain that closure). What viewers may have missed was the meaning of this moment; director Joe Berlinger has said that Liz's confrontation is a nod to the MeToo movement, which has highly encouraged accountability, truth-telling, support, and closure. Mission accomplished: Liz walked away free as the strong woman that she always was, knowing she'd done the right thing by giving Ted's name to the police.
2 Zac Efron's Resemblance To Ted Bundy
This may have slipped past some of the audience. We don't see Zac as a serial killer; many of us still see him as Troy Bolton, a far cry from Ted Bundy. Yet, Efron plays Bundy well, exuding the same strikingly handsome features and alluring charm. We kind of hate to admit it, but the two do share similarities in their looks. Yet we can take comfort in knowing Efron is certainly not the monster Bundy was, and that he's simply a gifted actor playing the part of someone that unfortunately did exist at one time. Lucky for us it's just a movie and Bundy has been dead for 30 years.
1 Acting Debut Of James Hetfield
This may be one of the biggest things that movie viewers may have missed. James Hetfield, the frontman for famous rock band Metallica, made his acting debut in this film as Officer Bob Hayward. His role is brief but significant: he arrests Bundy in Utah for running some stop signs and it leads to the beginning of finding out who Bundy is and what he's really up to. Metallica's "The Four Horsemen" plays while Ted's teeth are getting photographed in his cell, adding to Metallica's presence in the film.