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Title of new Ted Bundy movie derives from Miami judge's statement

Trailer for 'Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile' released

Judge Edward D. Cowart stands outside Ted Bundy's jail cell. Cowart presided over Bundy's murder trial in 1979 in Miami.
Judge Edward D. Cowart stands outside Ted Bundy's jail cell. Cowart presided over Bundy's murder trial in 1979 in Miami. (Associated Press)

MIAMI – The trailer for an upcoming movie about notorious serial killer Ted Bundy was quietly released Friday.

But what many may not know is that the film's title, "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile," is actually a quote from the late Miami judge who sentenced him to death.

Zac Efron stars as "America's most notorious serial killer," as the trailer suggests. John Malkovich co-stars as Judge Edward D. Cowart, who presided over Bundy's murder trial in 1979 and ultimately sentenced him to death for the murders of two Chi Omega sorority sisters at Florida State University a year earlier.

"The court finds that both of these killings were indeed heinous, atrocious and cruel, and that they were extremely wicked, shockingly evil, vile and the product of a design to inflict a high degree of pain and utter indifference to human life," Cowart said at the end of the trial. "This court, independent of, but in agreement with the advisory sentence rendered by the jury, does hereby impose the death penalty upon the defendant, Theodore Robert Bundy."

Judge Edward D. Cowart reads the sentence to Ted Bundy and his defense attorney Margaret Good, backs to camera, July 31, 1979, in Miami. Bundy was sentenced to death in the electric chair for the murders of two Chi Omega sorority sisters in 1978.
Judge Edward D. Cowart reads the sentence to Ted Bundy and his defense attorney Margaret Good, backs to camera, July 31, 1979, in Miami. Bundy was sentenced to death in the electric chair for the murders of two Chi Omega sorority sisters in 1978.

Cowart also notably praised Bundy's wasted intellect and offered seemingly sympathetic post-sentencing remarks to the law school-educated serial killer.

"You'd have made a good lawyer and I would have loved to have you practice in front of me, but you went another way, partner," Cowart said. "Take care of yourself. I don't feel any animosity toward you. I want you to know that."

Cowart died of a heart attack in 1987, while Bundy was still on death row.

Bundy was executed Jan. 24, 1989, at the Florida State Prison.

A release date for the movie hasn't yet been set.