Columbine High School massacre in popular culture

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The following is a list of cultural references to the Columbine High School massacre.


References to the shootings have appeared in popular music.

  • Christian ska band Five Iron Frenzy wrote a song called "A New Hope" about what happened at Columbine. The band is from Denver CO and band member Micah Ortega's sister was one of the students trapped in the choir room during the massacre.[citation needed]
  • Members of KMFDM, one of the bands of which Harris and Klebold were avid fans, had formed a group called MDFMK and wrote a song called "Witch Hunt".[citation needed]
  • The massacre inspired Finnish symphonic metal group Nightwish to write "The Kinslayer" for their Wishmaster album (1999). The song references the victims (9 men, 4 women) and shooters and contains a conversation between Nightwish singer Tarja Turunen and guest singer Ike Vil that are supposed to be a conversation between one of the killers and one of his victims.[citation needed]
  • In 2004, shots of surveillance footage of the Columbine shooting spree appeared in the music video for "Alert Status Red" by Matthew Good.[citation needed]
  • Contemporary Christian Musician Michael W. Smith released This Is Your Time in 1999, which was inspired by the Columbine massacre; especially the title track "This is Your Time", which is about the mistaken belief that Cassie Bernall was asked if she believed in God, when in fact this exchange happened with survivor Valeen Schnurr.[citation needed]
  • Christian songwriter and artist, Brad Richardson wrote "A Colorado Columbine" featured on the Lullaby for Columbine CD released in 1999. The song was inspired by a blanket of snow that fell on the morning after the Columbine shooting. The song evokes a spirit of cleansing and hope in the aftermath of America's deadliest school shootings.[citation needed]
  • The band The Calling has a song called "One By One" was inspired by many school shootings, including The Columbine Massacre.[citation needed]
  • Frank Ticheli visited the school after the massacre, and wrote an alma mater for the school after discovering that the school did not have one. The song was later self-quoted in "An American Elegy", a piece written for band.[citation needed]
  • Marilyn Manson put out an entire record that incorporated reflections concerning the shooting of Columbine: Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death). It was the band's first album since the Columbine High School massacre. The album focuses on America's celebrity culture, its obsession with guns and its fascination with death and martyrdom, and especially the fame - driven by the national media - which violent death can bring. Songs such as "Disposable Teens" and "The Fight Song" were directly written about the Columbine incident. The slower, thought-provoking "The Nobodies" concluded the work.[citation needed]
  • A song called "Leave Me Alone" by goth band The Crüxshadows was remixed as the "Leave Me Alone (Shaft 20/20 Mix)" to incorporate audio clips from the anti-goth segment of the ABC news magazine show 20/20 that aired the day after the shooting.[1]
  • The Fall Out Boy song "America's Suitehearts was inspired in part by the accidental discovery of a bizarre fanbase for Harris and Klebold on MySpace when Pete Wentz was reading comments on his blog and noticed a user had the shooters as her avatar. In a 2013 Alternative Press podcast, Wentz said, "The Internet is full of really weird things, and a little after 'Dance, Dance' came out I found probably one of the weirdest. I saw a comment on one of my MySpace posts that was from this girl who had a familiar picture as her avatar and I couldn't remember where I'd seen it, so I went to her blog to jog my memory and realized, 'Oh my God, that's those kids that did the Columbine shooting,' because her whole page was full of stuff about them and she had friends joining in too, talking about how their journals had just been released or something and then just drooling over these guys like they were the Beatles or something. It was so ridiculous but so fascinating that I kept reading these girls' pages for probably twenty minutes. And right then I realized how many people there are out there who do things that are absolutely horrible or even just not that great, like they're just born into a rich famous family and don't do anything like Paris Hilton, and they get these hordes of followers and worshippers. And a really sarcastic comment popped into my head: 'These are America's sweethearts. Let's hear it for America's sweethearts.'"
  • In the Chumbawamba song, "Everything You Know Is Wrong", the lead character (the song is from the point of view of the man in the background of conspiracies) makes reference to both Columbine and the two semi-associated events, the Waco Siege and the Oklahoma City bombing.[citation needed]
  • The Chumbawamba song "We Don't Want to Sing Along", was based on the Columbine incident with the protagonist first learning how to make a bomb in an internet chat-room and is abandoned by a friend who dismisses the idea of action.[citation needed]
  • Columbine students Jonathan and Stephen Cohen wrote a song called Friend Of Mine (Columbine), which briefly received airplay in the US after being performed at a memorial service broadcast on nationwide television. The song was pressed to CD, with the proceeds benefiting families affected by the massacre, and over 10,000 copies were ordered. Shortly following the release of the CD single, the song was also featured on the Lullaby for Columbine CD.[2][citation needed]
  • Swedish punk band "Atlas Losing Grip" reference the shooting in their 2008 song "All In Vain" off their "Shut The World Out" album. In the last half of the song the clip of Patti Nielson's 911 call can be heard in the background of the music and the song ends with a gunshot.[citation needed]
  • French black metal band "Nocturnal Depression" recorded a song entitled "Bonus (Hidden Track)" dedicated to the tragedy on their album "Soundtrack for a Suicide - Opus II".[citation needed]
  • The music video for the Blood on the Dance Floor song "Rise and Shine" features a high school student who is bullied by his classmates and eventually opens fire on them with a handgun. The video features news clips from April 20, 1999.
  • Rapper Jay-Z made a reference to the Columbine shooting in the song "Blueprint 2".
  • Bones's mixtape TeenWitch is inspired by Columbine Shootings, also the official video of the song 'Klebold' was shot inside the Columbine High School.




  • In the Family Guy episode Brian's a Bad Father. Peter, Joe and Quagmire go hunting. Peter references to Columbine by wishing they could all be in one place so he could shoot them while wearing a trench coat
  • The Static Shock episode "Jimmy" addresses the issue of school shootings, particularly the one at Columbine. A bullied student who attends Virgil and Ritchie's high school opens fire on a group of bullies with a pistol and accidentally shoots Ritchie in the knee.[citation needed]
  • In episode of The Sopranos, Maria Spatafore's outcast son Vito Jr. is expelled from his high school for defecating in a boy's shower in the locker room. After questioning why he locks himself in a room all day, one of the mobsters, Christopher Moltisanti suggests "Probably trying to figure out how to pull a Columbine"
  • In a TV Guide interview, Mike Judge told the story of a letter he received regarding King Of The Hill episode "Wings of the Dope," in which a protagonist's deceased boyfriend visits her in the form of an angel. The episode premiered two weeks after the shooting, and the fan who wrote to Judge had been inside the school during it; she credited the episode with helping her allow herself to grieve a friend of hers she was in love with and, during the shooting, decided to finally tell only to find out later that he was one of the shooters (because of this she had been pressured to repress her feelings).[5]
  • The Law & Order episode "School Daze" was based on the massacre at Columbine. A boy had mentioned Columbine, saying that Harris and Klebold were "stupid for killing themselves". Columbine was mentioned again in "American Jihad", with McCoy saying "I read it on the Columbine News".[citation needed]
  • The Law & Order: SVU episode "Manic" deals with the links between psychiatric drugs and school shootings. The Columbine massacre is mentioned.[citation needed]
  • On March 15, 2006, an episode of the Comedy Central program Drawn Together included a segment recapping notable scenes of the show, dated to represent notable dates in media history. A clip depicting a violent shootout was dated April 20, 1999.[citation needed]
  • In episode 219 of NUMB3RS, a high-school massacre bearing remarkable similarities with Columbine occurred; seven students and one teacher were killed by three gunmen. The gunmen, like Klebold and Harris, were members of an online guild. Columbine was mentioned once.[citation needed]
  • In Episode 1 in Series 3 of "The Inbetweeners" Jay says to Will "I'll show them" to which he replies "Columbine massacre show them or futile gesture show them?"[citation needed]
  • The Standoff episode "Peer Group" contains many elements of the Columbine massacre such as a notebook full of violent images, a list of students at his school, and the bullies vs. geeks revenge situation originally widely thought to be the cause.[citation needed]
  • The Season 4 premiere of Cold Case, "Rampage", is heavily based on the Columbine shooting. Columbine was mentioned on one occasion. It should be noted that the prominent massacre happened in 1995, four years before the Columbine incident, when Harris and Klebold were freshmen.[citation needed]
  • The Degrassi episode "Time Stands Still" was a Columbine-based episode. The character Rick, after being humiliated, returns to Degrassi with a gun, determined to hunt down the people who pulled a prank on him. At first Paige unknowingly defuses the situation, but when Jay sees that Rick is in a bathroom stall, he and Spinner frame Jimmy. As a result, Rick shoots Jimmy in the back, paralyzing him. Rick's next target is Emma until Sean steps in to protect her and accidentally causes Rick to shoot and kill himself in the process.[citation needed]
  • In the Family Guy episode Brian & Stewie, Brian and Stewie are trapped in a safe and when Stewie questions Brian about his owning of a gun, Stewie says "You are spewing all that liberal crap about stricter gun laws, you cried after Columbine."[citation needed]
  • In the Joan of Arcadia episode "The Uncertainty Principle", Joan was told by God to ask a troubled young man, Steve Ramsey, to the school dance. He and Joan left the dance early and he took her to a private shooting range. When Joan's father, the chief of police in the town at the time, went to the site with two other cops after a tip from another student, Ramsey pointed his gun toward the cops but was successfully talked down and subsequently arrested. The next day at school, God informed Joan that if Ramsey had not been arrested, he would have come to school with a gun that morning and killed 12 students and a teacher before turning the gun on himself, like the Columbine shootings.[citation needed]
  • On an episode of Generation Kill, after a U.S. Marine shoots two Iraqi children, another Marine refers to him as a 'Dylan Klebold wannabe'.[citation needed]
  • In Gilmore Girls Episode, Like Mother, Like Daughter. The episode focuses on Rory being told by the school guidance officer that she was too much of a loner. In the episode both Lorelai and Rory make references to Columbine. Rory says "Kid with a duffel bag filled with unknown things" and Lorelai says "A long black Matrix type coat".[citation needed]
  • In the Family Guy episode "Trading Places", Peter is pretending to be a high school student. He wears a black trench coat and holds a shotgun saying he wants to get back at the popular kids who ignored him. When Lois tells him he's a normal high school student, Peter calls someone named Lance, trying to tell him "it" was off, but Lance starts shooting anyway.[citation needed]
  • In an episode of The Closer, there is a group of teens who seem to idolize the shooters and unsuccessfully try to launch a similar attempt at a mall.[citation needed]
  • In the American Horror Story episode "Halloween (Part 2)", the ghost of a victim of Tate's high school shooting, which he doesn't recollect, asks him, "Do you believe in God?" When he is surprised by the question, she says, "You asked me if I believe in God and you put a gun to my head."[7] In the following episode "Piggy Piggy", a sequence in which Tate shoots several victims in a library is depicted, and it is much like the library massacre in the Columbine shooting.[8]
  • In Series 7, Episode 11 of Mock The Week, Frankie Boyle made a joke about Columbine High School massacre in the "Scenes we'd like to See" segment where one topic was "Unlikely things to hear on a Children's TV Program." Boyle said, "Next up, Sharpay and Ryan take their audition failure very badly in 'Columbine High School Musical.'"[citation needed]


  • Idle Hands - A teen comedy that tanked at the box office most likely because it was released immediately following the events at Columbine. The lead protagonist is possessed by his hand to murder his parents and two best friends. After severing his hand, the hand rampages through the school halls during a high school dance and kills several people before being destroyed.[citation needed]
  • Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV - Went into production following the massacre. The opening scene shows Toxie battling a terrorist group known as the Diaper Mafia(a pun on the real life Trenchcoat Mafia, the clique the two gunmen were partially involved with before the shooting) who have taken hostage a school of teenage special needs children. The scene concludes with several students being gunned down with an M60 machine gun and the already evacuated school being blown to bits by a plastic explosive purchased at K-Mart (more references to the disaster at Columbine, as the two gunmen acquired their ammunition from a local K-Mart and planned to blow up their school but failed).[citation needed]
  • Elephant - A film which plays in a dream-like state, following many students who are unaware of their impending death. Meanwhile, two students prepare to initiate a shooting.
  • The Only Way[9] - An independent film about a young man that is the victim of physical and emotional abuse and eventually opens fire on his classmates. The film focuses on the causes, effects, and consequences of school violence. While the story in the film is fictional, it features several parallels to the Columbine tragedy.
  • Heart of America - A film by Uwe Boll, similar in story line to the more popular Elephant. It features many high school problems, most notably two students who are sick of being kicked, bullied and having their faces shoved in feces. They gather guns as they prepare to unleash their rage against the jocks, their tormentors.[citation needed]
  • Zero Day - A film shot entirely through hand held cameras or on security tape, expressing the view of the two killers leading up to the massacre.[citation needed]
  • The massacre was one of the subjects of the 2002 Michael Moore documentary film Bowling for Columbine, about the 'culture of violence' and easy availability of firearms in the United States. Also in the film, Marilyn Manson is asked backstage before a concert in Littleton what he would say if he could talk to the shooters of Columbine, or the victims of the massacre and the people of the community. He responded, "I wouldn't say a single word to them. I would listen to what they had to say, and that's what nobody did."[citation needed]
  • The 2002 Showtime television film Bang Bang You're Dead was also inspired by the massacre. The film stars Ben Foster as a teenager routinely picked on at school, so he joins a group of other bullied students to shoot things to make them feel better. The drama teacher (Tom Cavanagh) tries to get Foster to become part of a play he's organizing about a kid who shoots up his school, and the PTA and other adults try to stop it. The teen mentions a list of school shootings in one of his home movies, one of which was the Columbine massacre.[citation needed]
  • The 2002 independent film Home Room was inspired by the aftermath of the incident and the effects it has on students and teachers. Students, faculty and parents of Columbine High School were given a private screening of the film, and director Paul F. Ryan and lead actress Erika Christensen spoke to those present. The reaction to the film was generally positive, partly because of its perspective on the aftermath rather than the shooting itself.[citation needed]
  • The 2004 independent film American Yearbook was inspired by the massacre. The film has not yet been distributed, but has received positive reviews. It portrays a teenager who is bullied at school and as a result, decides to bring a gun to school and kill the bullies. It details the kid-next-door protagonist's struggle with being a school shooter, and ends in a highly dramatic fashion.[citation needed]
  • Dawn Anna - The story about Lauren Townsend's mother and her life, including her struggles with cancer and eventual recovery, which is soon shattered by the death of her daughter in the shooting.[citation needed]
  • The Class, An Estonian film that depicts the story of two students, Joosep and Kasper. Joosep is constantly picked on by the popular kids in his class, and then Kasper decides to go out of his way to protect Joosep from the other kids and become his friend. However, Kasper ends up getting bullied as well. The two then decided they had enough and arrive at school with several guns to get rid of those who bullied them.[citation needed]
  • Reunion, an acclaimed short film about the 13 victims murdered in the Columbine tragedy and what their lives might have been like had they not been cut short.[10]
  • The short film Never[11] is an alternate look at the massacre, and uses documents, dialogue and references related to the shooting. The film is also known by the alternate title "4/20/99" as seen on YouTube.[12]


  • Jeff Kass 2009 book about Columbine Columbine - A True Crime Story - a victim, the killers and the nation's search for answers is a book in which Jeff explains, step-by-step, the events that lead to the tragedy using research.
  • Brooks Brown No Easy Answers - the truth behind death at Columbine. Brooks, one of the friends of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and one of the last people to speak with Eric Harris, tells everything about what happened before and after the massacre. The bullying at Columbine and after that the JeffCo attempt to incriminate him.
  • In Marisha Pessl's novel Special Topics in Calamity Physics, a student describes a teacher as tweaked and says, "Wouldn't be shocked if she went Klebold."[citation needed]
  • In Theory of Bloom, Tiqqun reveals the revolutionary potential of school shootings.
  • An unpublished issue of Hellblazer by Warren Ellis (writer) and Phil Jimenez (artist) depicted a study of a series of fictional school shootings. The series is monthly and it would have been the September 1999 (#141) issue, however the August 1999 (#140) was followed by the October 1999 (#141) issue.[13][14]
  • The novel Vernon God Little deals with similar, though fictional, events. It focuses on the suspicions placed on innocent students as a result to these shootings.[citation needed]
  • The satirical newspaper The Onion discussed the massacre in its article Columbine Jocks Safely Resume Bullying.[15]
  • Stephen King has cited the massacre as a major reason that he has allowed an early novel to fall out of print: Rage, written under the Richard Bachman pen name, which deals with a high school gunman. (However, certain themes in the book were developed into the story of Carrie.) King actually referred to Carrie as the "female version of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold."[16]
  • Mark Rempel wrote a book Point Blank based loosely on the Columbine Shootings and their impact.[citation needed]
  • Jim Shepard's novel Project X was inspired by the events at Columbine. Character Edwin says "So wait we are gonna pull the same thing at that school in Colorado? What was its name again?"[citation needed]
  • Walter Dean Myers wrote Shooter, inspired by the Columbine shootings.[citation needed]
  • Francine Prose's After, a teen novel about teens in a school freaked by a local school shooting, calls the shooting "another Columbine."[citation needed]
  • In Book 11 of the Everworld series, a fantasy serial by K. A. Applegate, a protagonist, Christopher, describes another teen shooting at him as a "little Klebold-Harris psychopath."[citation needed]
  • In Zadie Smith's novel "On Beauty", character Kiki Belsey teases her son, saying, "You're not gonna put on a trench coat and shoot up your school, now, are you, baby?"[citation needed]
  • Wally Lamb's "The Hour I First Believed" follows the life of a fictional Columbine High School nurse, and her teacher husband, as they deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after she survives the library massacre.[citation needed]
  • the Wattpad story History of Buck by Ethan Wallen revolves around title character Buck killing Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold two days before the shootings occurred,thus preventing them from happening. Ironically,Buck was meant to kill humans,excluding children,however. [17]

Video games[edit]

  • A free role-playing game for the PC called Super Columbine Massacre RPG! was released on April 20, 2005, the 6th anniversary of the massacre. This game delves into the morning of April 20, 1999 and asks players to relive that day through the eyes of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Leave Me Alone (Shaft 20/20 Mix) remix lyrics". Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  2. ^[dead link][dead link]
  3. ^ "Amanda Palmer at the Speigeltent, Edinburgh Fringe 2007". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  4. ^ Michael Pope; BriAnna Olson (2009-02-23). "Strength Through Music - "Who Killed Amanda Palmer" Video Series: Part 6". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-07-30. Part 6 of the "Who Killed Amanda Palmer" video series, the music video for "Strength Through Music", Director Michael Pope Produced by BriAnna Olson & MediaVox. From the debut solo album "Who Killed Amanda Palmer", produced by Ben Folds 
  5. ^ Judge, Mike. "Mike Judge quote". Goodreads. Retrieved 2014-10-30. 
  6. ^[dead link][dead link]
  7. ^ Vanity Fair, Nov 3, 2011
  8. ^ The Atlantic Wire. Nov 10, 2011  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "The Only Way on IMDB". Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  10. ^ "Reunion (2009)". Retrieved 2012-04-15. 
  11. ^ "Never on IMDB". Retrieved 2010-03-24. 
  12. ^ "4/20/99 short film on YouTube". Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  13. ^ Yarbrough, Beau. Unpublished School Shooting 'Hellblazer' Online. Comic Book Resources. 21 August 2000.
  14. ^ Yarbrough, Beau. JLA/Avengers Team-Up in the Works. Comic Book Resources. 19 July 1999.
  15. ^ "Columbine Jocks Safely Resume Bullying | The Onion - America's Finest News Source". The Onion. 1999-09-08. Retrieved 2012-07-25. 
  16. ^ Stephen King: On writing.
  17. ^