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The Riverman is a 2004 American true crime film about criminal profiler Robert Keppel's investigation of the Green River serial murder case, during which he "consults" with incarcerated serial killer Ted Bundy.
To catch a killer. You must understand evil. Or be evil.
- You think it's easy, to be a serial killer and keep your day job?
- The Riverman is a normal guy.
- You feel the last bit of breath leaving their body... you're looking into their eyes... basically, a person in that situation is a god. You possess them, and they shall forever be a part of you. And the grounds where you killed them or left them, they become sacred to you, and you will always return to them.
- I still matter, Keppel!
- If you know someone, someone close to you and you put together all the pieces; all the laughter and the tears and the silences all the deep telling moments of their life then, well then you can inhabit them and feel part of them. But if you've known someone with a soul so dark, so terrifying, and you've crawled into every foul corner they think they've hidden from you, and you've inhabited them... How do you... How do you come back? Can you return to how you used to be?
- Robert Keppel: Now it's time for you to talk about it.
- Ted Bundy: What, to you?
- Robert Keppel: To someone who understands.
- Ted Bundy: Oh, you understand! That's a laugh! What do you understand? Did you have three family names? Were you illegitimate? Were you called "Mommy's little brother"? [Keppel is silent] Yeah. It hurts. And the hurt turns into rage. But you can't let it out. You've got to be mommy's good little brother, or you'll get sent to grandpa's. So you try, but you end up getting sent anyway. But it's okay. Grandpa doesn't beat on you - he just locks you in the closet and turns out the light.
- Robert Keppel: I'm sorry.
- Ted Bundy: Oh, that's good! I'm on death row, and you're sympathetic! That's a lot of help, Bob! [pause] Do you have any idea what hell is?
- Robert Keppel: No.
- Ted Bundy: No. You grow numb. You lose the ability to feel because the hurt and helplessness is too big for you to deal with. You learn to mimic feelings so people will think you're just like them, but you're not. You look for ways to get stronger and stronger with that feeling, to feel human, y'know? You get into porn - softcore at first, then the hard stuff - and the fantasies grow, and they get stronger and stronger... until you can't sleep. You walk around, looking into windows, hunting for that feeling. You say to to yourself it's just a game. It's harmless, you'll never really do it. Then, one day... one day... it's not enough.
- Robert Keppel: What did you do to her, Ted?
- Ted Bundy: Nothing. I was scared, I panicked. I drove away. I threw things out of the window. The tire iron, the rope...
- Robert Keppel: Clothes?
- Ted Bundy: Clothes... uh, sure. I didn't know...
- Robert Keppel: You took her clothes off. You stayed with her all night, so what did you do to her?
- Ted Bundy: Nothing, nothing... look, I don't wanna talk about this right now.
- Robert Keppel: Ted, you stripped her down, and you had sex with the corpse.
- Ted Bundy: No! No, I never said that!
- Robert Keppel: We found her body, we never found her head. What happened?
- Ted Bundy: I don't wanna talk about this.
- Robert Keppel: Ted, you cut off her head with a hacksaw, and then you moved it to a different place. You took it back to your apartment.
- Ted Bundy: What is your problem, Bob? Are you deaf? I said I don't wanna talk about it!
- Robert Keppel: We found four skulls on Taylor Mountain. They all decomposed at the same rate because you kept them in your apartment and you dumped them at the same time. So, why did you keep them? [Bundy is silent] It's because the corpse is just as important as live prey, isn't it?
- Ted Bundy: [aroused] Yes. It's complete control.
- Robert Keppel: You had sex with the corpses, didn't you?
- Ted Bundy: No, I never said that!
- Robert Keppel: What did you keep the heads for?
- Ted Bundy: What? What are you talking about?
- Robert Keppel: You had to keep them for a reason.
- Ted Bundy: I...
- Robert Keppel: What for?
- Ted Bundy: To, to remind me of my power, okay?
- Robert Keppel: And how do you do that?
- Ted Bundy: [enraged] By beating off to them! By beating off to the skulls! Okay? Is that what you wanted to hear? So you can see what kind of a freak I am? Go ahead, tell me! Tell me!
- Cary Elwes - Ted Bundy
- Bruce Greenwood - Robert Keppel
- Sam Jaeger - Dave Reichert
- Kathleen Quinlan - Sande Keppel
- Dave Brown - Gary Ridgway