TV Obsession With The ‘Sexy Psychopath’

The new Ted Bundy film is the latest in the works of sexy men doing heinous acts. The trailer of; Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, the new biopic about mass murderer Ted Bundy, stars Zac Efron.

Well, one shouldn’t be judging a movie by its trailer. The trailer arrived back in January, it caused concern for the way it seemed to have glamorized Bundy. This suggesting to viewers a tale of one of the most notorious serial killers turn into a Tarantinoesque romp.

Director Jor Berlinger was fast to disassociate himself from the ‘false impression’ the trailer gave.

He said, “I want to assure those concerned that our film in no way glorifies Bundy or his atrocious acts,” while responding to the criticism.

Watching it closely, the film makes it easy to forget he was a man who murdered and raped at least 30 women across the US. The movie is told from the point-of-view of his deluded girlfriend Liz Kloepfer (played by Lily Collins). Who for a significant period of time protested his innocence.

Which makes him more pleasant to the viewers than he has any right to be. The palatability of it is only increased by the stylish packaging and the seductive 60’s and 70s soundtrack.

It’s a well-known fact that Bundy has always made a point of his relative physical attractiveness. However, putting Efron, one of the worlds most conspicuous male sex symbols as a leading role. This feels more like a planned and calculated act.

Popular culture of movie producers heaving tales of male killers, psychopaths, abusers, and others to be played by Hollywood heartthrobs. Two of Netflix’s shows of recent times have had this same direction.

You, which is a drama about a seemingly ‘nice guy’ stalker and killer played by former Gossip Girl pin-up Penn Badgley. Dirty John, based on the true-crime podcast about a serial con artist and abuser John Meehan. It stars the hunky Australian actor Eric Bana, who made audiences swoon in The Time Traveller’s Wife and Troy.

Meanwhile, the return of the HBO anticipated drama series Big Little Lies; a show whose first series hinged around discussed domestic abuse. The plotline featured Scandinavian dreamboat, Alexander Skarsgård.

Alexander Skarsgård in Big Little Lies

While Bundy will be the subject of both a four-part Netflix documentary series and a feature film. Another killer knowns for his charm and charisma will also be having a moment on screen.
Charles Manson, who was notoriously known for a gathering a cult of devoted younger women is played by Matt Smith in the biopic Charlie Says.

Matt Smith in Charlie Says

We’ve also previously seen the start of the ‘sexy psychopath’ with Michael Ealy playing the role of a man who is obsessed with a woman. The film in the title “the perfect guy”.

Michael Ealy in Perfect Guy

Show We Be Worried About The Sexy Psychopath?

It seems like Hollywood is deeply fascinated with the idea of the sexy psychopath. Should this cause a rise of concern for viewers?

On one hand, it is a way to address the toxic masculinity and the fact that it may not come in the ideal toxic package. Some of these works reflect on the light of the #metoo movement, to center on the female victims.

But, you could also argue that some of these movies show themselves to be in the thrall of these men. They are trading on and exploiting their charisma for entertainment rather than anything more enlightening.

You, for example, lavish all of its attention on its stalker anti-hero, going so far as to furnish him with his own alluringly caustic voiceover. In comparison, his target, Beck, is a sorely underwritten figure; a few episodes in, she is jarringly, and very briefly, given her own inner monologue, which only serves to highlight how little the show cares about her point of view otherwise.

Overlooking The Abuse

Looking over the characterization of the films, there is also a deeper view of how male violence and psychopathy are being packaged. Big Little Lies and Dirty John are both lifestyle porn. Each movie flaunts beautiful people in beautiful houses that can’t help but adulterate their dark storylines.

With the way male psychopaths and abusers continue to be glamorized and fetishized by popular culture is certainly reflected on its TV viewers. From the moment Zac Efron was cast in Extremely Wicked.., the internet was in a frenzy with the ‘hot Ted Bundy‘ movie.

The case also proves the same in after the movie ‘The Perfect Guy‘ was released, the internet went wild with women wanting to be stalked by someone who looks just as attractive as Michael Ealy.

The lustful responses resulted in the You star Badgley went viral with a series of tweets dressing down fans who were pining after his character.

There certainly remains an evident bias at play in the heinous people and acts depicted by Hollywood. It is well known that most victims are not beautiful young women. However, there’s faith in the increasingly sophisticated critical discussion around the portrayal of violence and violent men.

Attention is now being paid to the idea and representation of such people and the way their stories are being told. Filmmakers are to be more critical of these representations and to tell more sides of these stories.

Certainly, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile has received enough pushback that. In the future, one can but hope that filmmakers looking to compel audiences with yet another sexy male psychopath figure may think more carefully about their choices.

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