Watch Teenage Kurt Cobain and Friends’ Horror Movie from 1984

Because Kurt Cobain died so young (and some would say so mys­te­ri­ous­ly) his pre-Nir­vana works can be over-exam­ined as har­bin­gers of his fate. Maybe death was always rid­ing hard on his tail, these works can tell us, though any num­ber of pro­to-grunge teens in the Pacif­ic North­west would have been writ­ing about death and the dev­il. That’s the cool stuff, man.

A Super 8 film made by a 17-year-old Cobain, Dale Crover (future drum­mer of the Melvins) and Nir­vana bass play­er Krist Novosel­ic popped up among boot­leg col­lec­tors in 1998, and dates from 1984. Fans dubbed it “Kurt’s Bloody Sui­cide” to juice its val­ue, back in the days when you actu­al­ly had to buy bootlegs and then lat­er be very dis­ap­point­ed. Now it’s up on YouTube as “Kurt Cobain Hor­ror Movies.”

Crover has described it as “fuck­ing around with a cam­era,” which indeed it is, but with some intent. It fea­tures Kurt in a Mr. T mask, light­ing can­dles in a pen­ta­gram and snort­ing up a pile of cocaine (no doubt using a hid­den vac­u­um clean­er). Then some odd shots of a Mr. T pup­pet, somebody’s mom at the win­dow, a black labrador, very brief attempts at stop motion, somebody’s grand­dad, shots of down­town Aberdeen, Wash­ing­ton, and more goof­ing off (with a gui­tar!).

Then we get to the “mon­ey shot,” so to speak, with Cobain fake slit­ting his throat and stab­bing him­self. There’s some more knife vio­lence, then a shot of a cat, a shot of a dog, some fake gun vio­lence, plen­ty of shots of a pet tur­tle, and final­ly back to a hor­ror movie: a bloody Vir­gin Mary, and some stab­bings and some decent fake wounds. (How­ev­er, the trav­el­ing shot of the run­ning dog gets my vote for most skill­ful.)

Should we read any­thing into the gore and Satanism? (“This kid was a tick­ing time bomb,” says one YouTu­ber.)

I’d say no…and yes. There’s some­thing fun about watch­ing these bored teens mak­ing a film for their own enter­tain­ment. It’s sil­ly, unfo­cused, but def­i­nite­ly an indi­ca­tion that these guys want­ed out of their bor­ing town and they’d have to cre­ate some­thing to do that. Nir­vana was right around the cor­ner…

via Dan­ger­ous Minds

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How Kurt Cobain Con­front­ed Vio­lence Against Women in His “Dark­est Song”: Nevermind‘s “Pol­ly”

How Nirvana’s Icon­ic “Smells Like Teen Spir­it” Came to Be: An Ani­mat­ed Video Nar­rat­ed by T‑Bone Bur­nett Tells the True Sto­ry

Ani­mat­ed Video: Kurt Cobain on Teenage Angst, Sex­u­al­i­ty & Find­ing Sal­va­tion in Punk Music

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at and/or watch his films here.

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