How Ted Bundy’s teeth led to him being found guilty of murder
Zac Efron wore false teeth in the film because they were so important
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, known as the Zac Efron Ted Bundy film, premiered on Friday. The film has brought notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy, back into the public eye. An important detail you may have missed from the film is Ted Bundy's teeth.
As bizarre as it may sound, Bundy's crooked teeth were a vital part of his trial. So much so, Zac Efron had to wear false teeth in the film to portray the role accurately.
The film is based on the real life crimes of the American serial killer, Ted Bundy, who assaulted and murdered young women during the 1970s. The film is from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer (played by Lily Collins). After years of denying his crimes, he admitted to 30 murders – but the true number of victims remains unknown. He was sentenced to death by electrocution and died in 1989.
The film focuses more on the mind of the killer, rather than displaying the murderous acts themselves – in an attempt to avoid glorifying. Zac Efron has openly said he found it difficult to separate himself from the role, and that playing the killer tested his mental health.
Why were Ted Bundy's teeth so important?
One of Ted Bundy's last victims, Lisa Levy, was murdered when Bundy broke into the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University in 1978. Bundy attacked Lisa Levy, and three other women there. He killed Levy and one other, Margaret Bowman, and badly beat the other two women.
According to Ann Rule, author of the 1980 book "The Stranger Beside Me: The True Crime Story of Ted Bundy", Bundy had bitten Lisa Levy, and that's why his teeth were so important. In the book, she said: "There was a double bite mark on [Levy's] left buttock.
"Her killer had literally torn at her buttocks with his teeth, leaving four distinct rows of marks where those teeth had sunk in.
"A forensic odontologist would be able to match those bite marks to a suspect's teeth as precisely as a fingerprint expert could identify the loops and whorls of a suspect’s fingers."
Ted Bundy's teeth were quite recognisable, which helped provide evidence. He had crooked lower teeth, and a chipped incisor. During his first trial, forensic odontologist Richard Souviron matched up the bite marks on Lisa Levy in a photograph to teeth impressions taken from Bundy after he was arrested.
This provided enough evidence to help find Ted Bundy guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder, and two counts of burglary.
Zac Efron had to wear false teeth for the film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, because Ted Bundy's teeth were such a key part of the trial. The film's director, Joe Berlinger, told Popsugar: "The only thing we did is we put in false lower teeth to match Bundy's.
"Bite mark evidence plays a role in how he was ultimately convicted, so I wanted the teeth to be similar."
The Zac Efron Ted Bundy film, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, is now available to watch. You can watch on Sky Cinema, or with a Sky Cinema Now TV pass in the UK, and on Netflix in the US.