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Netflix's Ted Bundy Docuseries Makes You Uncomfortably Intimate With The Serial Killer

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Photo courtesy of Netflix

We spoke to the director of 'Confessions of a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes'

On the 30th anniversary of Ted Bundy's death by execution, Netflix released a four-part docuseries about the life and crimes of the infamous serial killer. In it, we're let into the mind of the killer for what feels like the first time, and are closely confronted with his thought process. It's terrifying, to say the least. His is a story many of us have heard before, to some extent, but this telling is unique: Stringing each part together are audio snippets of Bundy himself, narrating his story the way he would have wanted it to be heard. This can seem fraught, like we are giving the murderer a kind of agency and power he doesn't deserve, but what soon becomes clear is that Bundy is not in control the narrative; quite the opposite, in fact.

Says Joe Berlinger, the director and executive producer of the series, Bundy's story is "kind of the Big Bang of true crime," and that our current "insatiable appetite" for the genre can be traced back to Bundy's 1979 murder trial. According to Berlinger, his trial shaped the coverage of criminal trials in the news, and our hunger to watch. "It happened at a time when the technology for covering news was changing," he said. "There came an explosion of cable stations and the 24-hour news cycle." In 1980, Bundy allowed journalist Hugh Aynesworth to interview him and record the conversations to use for a book, which are used to tell the story in this series.

Berlinger made the choice to use these tapes to guide the narrative of his docuseries, but "contextualizes them through interviews with a Greek chorus of people who had interactions with him in one way or another. There's no one in the show who's just talking as some expert who had no experience with Bundy." And, obviously, these firsthand accounts completely disprove the stories that Bundy wanted to tell for himself. One such story that Bundy tries to tell was that he had a troubled adolescence, which he then implicitly blames for his actions, without actually confessing to his crimes. Not fitting in with his peers and constantly being rejected by girls are among Bundy's infuriating excuses for his later violent acts. Berlinger doesn't care for this noxious excuse, which is told time and time again by men who have killed women. "I have a hard time ascribing to these kinds of reasons," Berlinger says. "Those may have been precipitating events, but, if you're a homicidal maniac, if it's not those precipitating events, then it would be other precipitating events."

Berlinger also recalls Bundy's trials, in which Bundy acted as one of his own defense attorneys. "Likewise, he allowed authors to access him for a book, which is why the tapes were made, and, in his mind, he had still not admitted to his crimes," Berlinger says. "When he agreed to allow these authors in, he thought he was looking for them to re-investigate his crimes and to prove him innocent. But, just like in the trial, his narcissism made him do things like re-visit the crime scene in the same way." Bundy was asked by journalists to speak about his crimes through the eyes of a third-person expert eyewitness, but when he did this, it became obvious that "all of his third-person commentary could only have come from somebody who knew details that nobody else knew." In other words, someone who was there—the murderer. Though Bundy was able to understand human thought processes and social interaction on a base level—he even went studied psychology in college—he was surprisingly incompetent when it came to handling his own story. When allowed to speak for himself, he reveals the things he didn't want anyone to know, and basically confesses his own guilt.

Something said to make Bundy's story so different from any other serial killer's was that he didn't look or act like what people imagine a serial killer should look and act like. "He defied the stereotype of what a serial killer is," says Berlinger. "He was likable, he had friends, he had a live-in girlfriend. He could have been a lawyer, he could have had a career in politics... There's no reason that he would do these things." This docuseries really captures that, in the most unsettling way—and what's more, it often actually comes from his own mouth. Berlinger explains: "As Bundy said himself, 'Killers don't come out of the shadows with long fangs and blood dripping from their chins.' They could be people you work with, love, admire, who then, the next day, could turn out to be the most demonic people imaginable." Bundy was certainly selectively self-aware.

What Berlinger really wanted to get across was that serial killers aren't in any way special—Bundy certainly wasn't. "It's the first time you can understand what has been said intellectually [about his case]," Berlinger says. "When you listen to these tapes, you get a sense of his normalcy—which is scary—and you get a sense of his charm, which [allows you to] understand how he was able to coax so many unsuspecting women to their deaths." Bundy's story is in opposition to our understanding of serial killers, and it forces us to confront our stereotype of them as "somebody who's a real social outcast, a real oddball that you could spot a mile away." We cling to those perceptions as a way to feel safer, but, with this series, as we "enter the mind of the killer," we realize more than ever how that sense of safety is an illusion. Still, though, I couldn't look away.

Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes is now streaming on Netflix.

Photo by Handout / Getty Images.

From selling probiotic supplements to picture frames and umbrellas

A Kardashian-level of success doesn't happen overnight, and it certainly doesn't happen without proper planning. Kim Kardashian West clearly knows this because, according to TMZ, she has already filed for trademark protection on the name of her two-week-old baby, Psalm West. From personal appearances and entertainment services to probiotic supplements and scrunchies, she is leaving no stone unturned in terms of possible business opportunities.

Apparently, all of the Kardashian parents file these kinds of trademark protections for their kids even if the businesses never come to fruition. It's done as a precautionary measure to keep others from profiting off of their name and to make sure that, should they ever want to start a business, they don't have to worry about someone else getting to it first. The sheer length of this list speaks to the huge earning potential of baby Psalm, who can't even control his own neck muscles yet, let alone go into business. Still, this brings a whole new meaning to "securing the bag."

Below, a list of all the things Kardashian West is seeking usage rights for.

Hair accessories

Barrettes

Bands

Bows

Clips

Ties

Ornaments

Pins

Scrunchies

Chopsticks

Twisters

Wrap

Hair extensions

Ornamental novelty pins

Entertainment services

Personal appearances

Skin care

Probiotic supplements

Toy figures

Doll accessories

Computer software

Clothing

Baby bottles

Furniture

Strollers

Beverageware

Swaddling

Blankets

Skin moisturizers

Lotions

Creams

Bubble bath

Fragrances

Body powders

Shower gels

Body oils

Skin serums

Nail polish

Nail polish remover

Nail care preparations

Puppets

Puzzles

Toy jewelry

Toy cameras

Toy food

Bath toys

Baby gyms

Playground balls

Electronic action toys

Baby bouncers

Baby changing tables

Baby walkers

Pillows

Mirrors

Cushions

Picture frames

Playpens

Baby carriers

Cosmetic bags

Toiletry cases

Duffle bags

Umbrellas

Clocks

Watches

Key chains

Calendars

Books

photo albums

Stationery

Stickers

Writing utensils

Collectible trading cards

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Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Well, actually it's crocodile, but she looks out of this world so...

Winnie Harlow walked the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday on her way to a screening of Oh Mercy!, wearing a showstopping gown.

The sheer black dress featured green embroidery on the front and back, which Ralph and Russo confirmed was in the shape of a crocodile. She belted the dress with a black crocodile skin-like belt and finished the look off with some strappy heels. She didn't leave it at just that. For beauty, Harlow packed on full lids of sparkly purple eyeshadow. She kept her hair sleek and simple.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Though the brand says otherwise, as Game of Thrones fans, we'd like to think the embroidery is reminiscent of a dragon's skin. Not to mention, Harlow looks out-of-this-world beautiful in it.

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Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

That denim kimono!!

Marion Cotillard shut down the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday at a screening for Matthias Et Maxime. Instead of an extravagant gown that's expected of the event, Cotillard wore a matching black crop top and shorts. Despite wearing an outfit I typically don to a hot yoga class, she looks incredible. She completed the look with an oversized denim kimono, a statement necklace, and heeled booties.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

At first, I was drawn in by the crop top and hotpants duo, but, after looking closer at the kimono, it's clear that it's the real scene-stealer. The floor-length Balmain piece was decorated with artful rips and dragon motifs. I would like to live in it.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Let's all bow down to the Khaleesi of Cannes.

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Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images.

"It doesn't make you weak to ask for help"

Singer Billie Eilish is continuing to open up about mental health, this time in a new PSA video in partnership with the Ad Council and Seize the Awkward.

In the video, Eilish insists that "it doesn't make you weak to ask for help." She doubles down on the importance of asking for help, and stresses the importance of friends and family being there when their close ones reach out and checking in on them as well. "You should be able to ask anyone for help, everyone has to help someone if they need it." According to Eilish, there have been times when someone reached out to her at the exact moment she needed it, and it helped.

It was particularly refreshing to see Eilish acknowledge that there are things she still doesn't know and has to learn about her mental health. At the very beginning of the video, the interviewer asks her to reflect on her mental health journey, and all Eilish can do is let out chortle. "I think when people hear, 'Remember to take care of your mental health,' they think that everyone else is, and that is not at all accurate," she admitted. "You know, for me I'm trying to learn still to make sure that I stay okay."

Check out the PSA below.

Billie Eilish On Mental Health & Friendship | Ad Council www.youtube.com

Photograph via @kimkardashian.

"#NotOnMyMoodBoard"

Kim Kardashian has definitely been accused of borrowing a design now and then. But when Instagram influencer and Kardashian look-alike Kamilla Osman claimed the entrepreneur copied her birthday look for a Met Gala after-party, Kardashian was not going to let it fly—and shared plenty of photo evidence to shut down the claim.

Fashion industry watchdog Diet Prada first noticed Osman's claims on Instagram and shared side-by-side images of Kardashian's Cher-inspired outfit designed by Mugler and Osman's dress. "Never get confused with who 'inspires' who. They won't give you credit but they will copy," Osman wrote on her IG story. "I designed this dress for my birthday last year. Nobody had a dress like this was an original design."

Kardashian responded by posting the true inspiration behind her look: images of Cher, in similarly sparkly, plunging-neckline dresses and wigs, and of model Yasmeen Ghauri walking a Mugler show in the '90s. In fact, the only similarity between Osman's and Kardashian's looks is the bodycon mini-dress style, which the two are not the first to wear. Among the images, Kardashian included a blank slide with the hashtag "NotOnMyMoodBoard," making it clear that this was in response to Osman's claims.

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Though I am with Kim on this one, Kardashian does have a history of co-opting other people's work. From being sued over her Kimoji app, to claims she copied makeup palettes and perfume bottle designs, to being accused of copying Naomi Campbell's entire style, it's far from the first (and probably, far from the last) time Kardashian's name will be mentioned like this.

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