Netflix’s new docuseries Murder Among the Mormons details a very bizarre investigation into three bombings that shocked Salt Lake City in the 1980s. Forged documents threatening to collapse the Mormon faith didn’t initially sound sinister enough for my taste, but they got me at “salamander.” I like to think that I can handle myself after a true crime doc, but after Crime Scene: The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel, I couldn’t drink tap water for a week. Happily, Murder Among the Mormons left a different taste in my mouth. After three episodes of gothic cathedrals, fall foliage, and serene mountain vistas, I couldn’t help but wonder… should I… become Mormon? And scarier, would they even want me? Could I sacrifice my integrity for a 1950s husband that actually encourages me to stay home? And is relocating to Utah the exact answer to escalating housing prices and smog-filled hikes I’ve been looking for? (lol at pretending I hike). There were more than a few fun twists throughout the series—like encountering the sultry, soft whisper of who can only be described as the real-life Mr. Peanut Man. However, considering moving to Pleasantville and tossing away every feminist T-shirt in my dresser was not the outcome I expected. Netflix’s Dream Home Makeover certainly makes finding a mansion for $15 feel feasible. I could get used to an entire house of white built-ins, right? After all, The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City makes Mormonism feel more like a Girl Scout Badge than an actual belief system. Dare I say….it might be worth it?
That said, considering joining the Mormons wasn’t the only unexpected takeaway. Never before have I watched a crime doc in which every single man frighteningly looks like they just got cut from the Santa Claus mall auditions. (White hair. Very white skin. And a puffiness that only milk and cookies can bring.) I finished the doc dreaming of sugarplum fairies. Murder Among the Mormons clearly offers a lot in terms of entertainment and thought-provoking meditation. So, let’s dive into some other subjects the Mormons might have you considering, second to a career in forgery.
Hear me out—evolution is real and great. However, several moments throughout the series they ask you to picture a childhood where dinosaur books are banned. My answer to that: please! The trauma of watching The Land Before Time cannot be underscored enough. The startling death of Little Foot’s parents will haunt my generation for years to come. Can we all agree dinosaurs are to blame for millennials feeling like there’s no use in saving for a future? It’s not not true.
Bring Back The Pussy Bow
If Blanche Devereaux taught me anything, it’s that anyone can pull off a shoulder pad with the right amount of swagger. There is a plethora of mod sweater vests, oversized Princess Diana-esque sweatshirts, and matching plaid suits decorating the series. Yet, nothing shines brighter than the women of Salt Lake City fully rocking the lost art of the pussy bow blouse. Maybe I’ve been in sweatpants too long…but the large, floppy silk bow ties look chic as hell. Full stan!
It’s Time to Buy A Drill
Mark Hofmann is not your typical murder show bad guy. This is a man who told his wife he wanted to go into “the document business,” which I’m pretty sure was my improvised answer when the college counselor asked for my future plans. Still, he was able to construct a pipe bomb before the days of Google. I have to say, unless Amazon starts to ship dynamite, I can’t imagine most millennials being able to do this. Which got me thinking… it’s time to learn how to work a drill. I’ve Allen wrenched enough IKEA bookshelves to furnish the entirety of the LDS Church. Yet, I have no actual construction skills. It’s 2021, damnit. It’s high time I stop relying on ex-Mormon friends (they exist!) to hang my shelves. Going to a hardware store tomorrow!
The Importance of Your Quarantine Lewk
Midway through the series, they begin to describe the suspect as the man “in a green letterman jacket.” They repeat this so many times I start sweating thinking of how I might be described once the LAPD starts taking parking tickets seriously. Horrifying descriptions like: “the girl in the ripped pajamas,” “the girl wearing 2008 Ugg boots,” and worst of all, “the girl in the Twilight hoodie,” have mortified me into entirely rethinking what I’m sporting to walk my dog at midnight. You just never know.
The No-Global-Warming Aesthetic
Growing up in the heat of Texas, I never fathomed it was possible to sprout real-life evergreens in the front yard. And yet, so many LDS houses are tucked into cocoons of magical forest and the lushest green grass you’ve ever seen. There are clearly no water restrictions in Salt Lake. Turns out living in a small town where climate change isn’t real means Douglas Firs can grow in place of house plants and sad succulents. Is Utah maybe the North Pole, but like, with a few dead bodies here and there? It’s worth a visit.
Don’t Cheap Out
If you’re gonna pay someone to do something sketchy for you, make sure you pay in full. After the FBI hits a dead end, the case springs back open when a man working at the printing press finally names the culprit. His reason for snitching? Mark was “a couple of bucks short.” Enough said. Keep your friends close and pay the people that matter most—like your neighborhood hitmen and Postmates drivers!
We’re All Lazy, Even The FBI
I have to say, the most inspiring realization watching Murder Among The Mormons is that anyone can have a bad day at work and choose to give up. The FBI, as in the very official United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, did such a rush job authenticating the forged documents that it clearly must have been Monday night and everyone in D.C. needed to get home to watch The Bachelor. It’s comforting to know that even the FBI decides to phone it in every once in a while. So basically, give yourself another sick day! You’re only human!
All assassinations considered, Murder Among The Mormons is as comforting as true crime can get. It’s not going to get your heart racing, but 80s fashion, cute wraparound wooden decks, and 10 minutes discussing the minutiae of cracked ink will leave you feeling wistful. I’m reminded of the days of Mary-Kate and Ashley using invisible ink to send important messages to each other like: can you read this? In a world of cults, pedophilia, and serial killers, something as simple as forgery is a nice palate cleanser. Somehow, after watching three bombs detonate a city, I feel oddly…motivated. Do I truly want to sign up for a religion that celebrates racism and misogyny? No. Do I actually want to live in a land of MAGA hats and blonde extensions? Hells no. But being able to fall asleep dreaming of affordable housing after the high of binging a murder show feels pretty damn good to me. Cue the SNL song—this is as good as it gets.
Imags: Courtesy of Netflix © 2021 (2); Netflix
The title of this article is actually kind of a joke because if you don’t know who Ted Bundy is, you need to fix yourself. What? Do you, like, have a life or something? Do you not spend your nights deep-diving serial killers on Wikipedia and then waking up every hour to check all the closets in your 400-square-foot apartment “just in case?” Are you actually well-adjusted? FINE. If you are one of these “normal” humans and you don’t know who Ted Bundy is, 2019 is your year because Netflix just dropped Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes and sh*ts about to get real…sadistic.
Since so many of you freaks can’t tear yourselves away from watching yet another episode about the Dundies, I’m here to tell you who Ted Bundy is and why you should care. But tread carefully friends, this article will mark the official end of your innocence.
He Murdered At Least 30 Women
Ted Bundy is one of the most prolific serial killers of all time. Before he was executed in 1989, he finally confessed to 30 murders, which you can hear him briefly whisper about in the new Netflix documentary, Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. But dude, you don’t need to whisper, we already know. Even though Ted confessed to 30 murders, many more have been attributed to him and at one point he said the number of women he killed was “three digits,” leading experts to speculate that he meant over 100, and leading me to reconsider watching this before bed.
Many of the women Ted killed were in their teens and early 20’s and had brown hair, like Diane, the woman who broke his heart. Word of advice ladies, if you’re going to date a psychopath and sexual sadist, be gentle with his snowflake heart or he might kill 100 women that look like you. Or you could just be like me and never date anyone. It’s a good way to not get murdered and a good way to fit in all 14 seasons of Criminal Minds in 6 weeks.
Ted was eventually convicted of kidnapping Carol DaRonch in 1974. She’s featured in the documentary and is a complete badass who narrowly escaped being one of his murder victims. Ted was also eventually sentenced to death for the murders of Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy at the FSU Chi Omega house, and Kimberly Leach, his final victim, who was only 12 years old. F*ck this guy.
He Escaped Prison Twice
YES! You heard me. A man that had already been convicted of kidnapping and was on trial for MURDER managed to escape from prison twice!
Fool me once, Ted, shame on you. Fool me twice, everyone running that f*cking prison should get fired. Here’s how it happened. The first time, Ted was allowed in the courthouse law library by himself, unshackled. Damn, they’ll just let men do whatever they want, won’t they? So he jumped out the window and ran. Easy as that. He was able to evade capture for six days and lost 25 pounds. And yes, I am seriously considering this for my next diet.
Six short months later, Ted had managed to cut a hole in the ceiling of his cell, climb through it, and eventually walk right out the front door. The FRONT DOOR. From that front door, he made it all the way to Florida where he became a law-abiding citizen, renting out beach chairs and umbrellas to people on the beach. I’m kidding. He f*cking murdered people.
Women Are THIRSTY For Him
Despite the fact that Ted Bundy liked to rape, murder, and return to the dead bodies to have sex with the corpses of his victims (I know, I’m sorry), this did not deter women from fawning all over him. The documentary shows these women enamored by him and batting their eyelashes because he was “attractive.” To say it’s unsettling is an understatement.
Not only did Ted have his lady fans, but he even secured himself a wife during his murder trial. While he was questioning girlfriend Carol Ann Boone on the stand, he asked her to marry him, and it was legally binding. She went on to visit him in prison and they even had a daughter together. Huh. So I guess he could get it up without having to murder someone.
He Blames Pornography For His Crimes
To quote the immortal words of Miss Marcia Brady, “Sure, Jan.”
Zac Efron Is Playing Him In A Movie
And finally we’ve reached the “why you should care” portion of the article, and that reason is Zac Efron. The reason to watch anything is really Zac Efron, I certainly wouldn’t have entertained the idea of basketball players auditioning for a high school musical otherwise. Zac will be starring in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, the movie based on Ted’s life that’s premiering at Sundance right now. I’m ready for you Z, chill me to the bone.
People are also talking about Ted Bundy so much because Netflix just released its true crime documentary about him. It’s supposed to present never-before-told information about Ted Bundy, but anyone who has read one Ted Bundy biography would already know everything presented in the documentary. Can’t wait for Hulu to release their competing documentary with nonsensical clips of Family Guy spliced throughout.
So that’s your basic rundown of Ted’s life! If you’re really interested, I suggest you watch the documentary on Netflix, or read The Stranger Beside Me which is the OG of true crime books. And always remember, if a guy wearing a sling asks you to help him carry something to his car, call the police.
And if you can’t get enough of serial killers, may we suggest starting your journey down the rabbit hole by listening to Not Another True Crime Podcast?
Images: Giphy (3)