It would seem that there isn’t much new to say about serial killer Ted Bundy. No shortage of docuseries have aired in the past few years, including Joe Berlinger’s “Conversations With a Killer” on Netflix, but a new Amazon series, “Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer,” takes a cultural view of his killing spree. Filmmaker Trish Wood says the Bundy murders impacted a generation of women. “He’s still the reason I lock my door at night,” she says. “Everybody knows his name, but nobody knows the names of his victims. Nobody had looked at the culture when the murders took place.”
Inspired by the award-winning “O.J.: Made in America,” Wood interviews a female police officer who first connected Bundy to a string of murders taking place on college campuses. And most importantly, she persuaded Bundy’s longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall, who lived in the same Seattle neighborhood where girls were disappearing, to talk on camera. “If O.J. is about race, Ted Bundy is about gender. Ted Bundy is about the gender wars in America.”
Wood, who lives in Toronto, Canada, spoke to The Post by telephone.
How did you convince Elizabeth Kendall to talk to you at such length?
Liz is aging. I think she wanted to get on the record as well. She and I liked each other. We’re both recovering alcoholics with longterm sobriety. We’re both single mothers. I think she understood I could tell the story in a way that would make her seem like a fully formed woman, not just someone who made the mistake of falling in love with a serial killer. She’s been very low-key. Her neighbors don’t know who she is. This is going to change her life.
Bundy went from someone who would teach a young girl, like Elizabeth’s daughter, Molly Kendall, to ride a bike to this guy who would wear a fake cast to convince women to help him and then lure them to their deaths. Was there a turning point for him?
After working on this show for three years, my answer is probably not very satisfying. I think on some profound level he hated women. You can say he was a sociopath, psychotic but the best evidence is what he did to [his victims] and how he did it. He hated women.
How long do you think Elizabeth was in denial about Ted? Matching up the composite sketch of Ted with one of her own photos is a powerful moment in Episode 2.
She would go in and out of denial in profound ways and wandered around in state of cognitive dissonance exacerbated by alcoholism. She was bouncing between revelation and denial for years. But there were many people who thought it wasn’t Ted.
How did you find Cheryl Martin, who was on the campus police force at Central Washington State College? She linked the murders to college campuses in Washington.
We were blessed with an amazing researcher, Randy Chase. He can find anybody, and he got a number for her. I think Cheryl is amazing. I approached her by phone when I was out there doing some work. She didn’t want to do it, she had moved on. Finally, she agreed.
Did Elizabeth Kendall stay in touch with Ted to the end?
No. He did write one last letter from Death Row, but Molly burned it.
“Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer” is available Jan. 31 on Amazon Prime Video