A few months ago, HBO started running Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (my review), reviving interest in a subject that had all but died out after being inescapable throughout the nineties. That one was billed as “the first fully-authorized Kurt Cobain documentary,” and, perhaps not surprisingly, considering it had to be approved by Courtney Love, steered clear of pretty much everything having to do with the circumstances surrounding Kurt’s death (in favor of home videos of Courtney showing her tits). Not to mention the question most famously broached by Nick Broomfield’s Kurt & Courtney from 1998: Did Courtney kill him?
Soaked in Bleach, from director Benjamin Statler (previously a producer on Act of Valor), which hits Vimeo and a handful of theaters June 11th, is a “docudrama” that re-explores the old Did Courtney Do It conspiracy, using reenactments and interviews, notably with private investigator Tom Grant and former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper.
SOAKED IN BLEACH reveals the events behind Kurt Cobain’s death as seen through the eyes of Tom Grant, the private investigator that was hired by Courtney Love in 1994 to track down her missing husband (Kurt Cobain) only days before his deceased body was found at their Seattle home. Cobain’s death was ruled a suicide by the police (a reported self-inflicted gunshot wound), but doubts have circulated for twenty years as to the legitimacy of this ruling, especially due to the work of Mr. Grant, a former L.A. County Sheriff’s detective, who did his own investigation and determined there was significant empirical and circumstantial evidence to conclude that foul play could very well have occurred. [Vimeo]
It sounds intriguing, though the re-enactments and Inception-style BRAAAAHM sounds in the trailer make it look like it belongs on the Lifetime network. Somehow I doubt a significant journalistic breakthrough is going to come from people who hired a struggling actress to vamp around a dramatically lit motel room set pretending to be Courtney.
Here’s an actual update on the Cobain case, which completed a cold case review in April 2014. From CBS:
The new report confirms statements made recently by the SPD detective who conducted the review, that “the investigation on the death of Kurt Cobain, which was conducted 20 years ago, reached the correct conclusion that the manner of death was (Suicide).”
Detective Mike Ciesynski, a veteran with 20 years working homicide and ten years specializing in cold case investigations, explains in the report that he learned of a new clue about the shotgun shell that killed Cobain.
As part of his review of the evidence, inside the bag of shotgun shells SPD found at Cobain’s side 20-years ago, Det. Ciesynski writes, “I recovered a sales receipt for $6.95, which was dated 4-2-94. On the box of 20 gauge ammunition is a price sticker for $6.95 from ‘Seattle Guns.'”
This sales receipt had not been previously disclosed by the SPD. For the first time, Det. Ciesynski claims to have connected this date of April 2, 1994 on the receipt, first to the store Seattle Guns, and then to what he identifies as another significant piece of information from the original detectives’ follow-up report.
In that report “it was noted that a Gray Top Taxi picked up a male from the Cobain residence on the morning of 4-2-94. This male advised the cab driver that he wanted to find a place to buy some bullets since he had recently been burglarized. The cab driver dropped this person off in the area of 145th and Aurora.”
Ciesynski’s new report explains that Seattle Guns was located just south of 145th and Aurora.
Conspiracy theorists like Grant insist that a conspirator fired the weapon that killed Cobain, questioning his ability to do so after taking such a large dose of heroin, and questioning Cobain’s will to commit suicide.
Det. Ciesynski’s determination that Cobain purchased the shotgun shells within one or two days of his death appears to suggest a person planning a suicide, more than it might the coincidence of Cobain buying the shells that a conspirator ultimately used to kill him in a planned, staged suicide.
There’s more, including an explanation of why the shell casing landed where it did, not to mention a 22-minute response video from Tom Grant (the private investigator), which I’ve included below.
In any case, I imagine you’ll be able to relive all your favorite conspiracy moments in Soaked in Bleach after it hits June 11th and make up your own mind about whether a heroin addict killed himself or was killed in a hit organized by his heroin addict wife. Personally, I have my fingers crossed for an El Duce follow-up, but considering he got hit by a train in 1997 that seems doubtful.