Soaked in Bleach

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Soaked in Bleach
Soaked in Bleach poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBenjamin Statler
Written by
Produced by
  • Donnie Eichar
  • Richard Middleton
  • Benjamin Statler
CinematographyBen Kutchins
Edited by
Music byPeter G. Adams
  • Suburban Hitchhiker
  • Daredevil Films
Distributed byMontani Productions
Release date
June 11, 2015
Running time
89 Minutes
CountryUnited States

Soaked in Bleach is a 2015 American docudrama directed by Benjamin Statler, who co-wrote and produced it with Richard Middelton and Donnie Eichar. The film details the events leading up to the death of Kurt Cobain, as seen through the perspective of Tom Grant, the private detective who was hired by Courtney Love to find Cobain, shortly before his death in 1994. It also explores the conspiracy theory that Cobain's death was not a suicide. The film stars Tyler Bryan as Cobain and Daniel Roebuck as Grant, with Sarah Scott portraying Courtney Love and August Emerson as Dylan Carlson.


The film provides a look at inconsistencies in the death of Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of the American grunge band Nirvana, as seen through the perspective of former private investigator Tom Grant. In addition to the dramatization of Cobain's final days, the film combines documentary footage as well as interviews with people associated with the case such as former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper and the American forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht.[1][2] Grant's own recorded conversations with key figures such as Rosemary Carroll, Cobain and Love's attorney and Dylan Carlson — who purchased the 20-gauge Remington Model 11 Sportsman shotgun — are also prominently featured.[3]


Soaked in Bleach marks the directorial debut of Benjamin Statler,[1] who co-wrote and produced the films Act of Valor and Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope.[4] Regarding the film's title, Bleach is the name of the Nirvana debut album and "Soaked in Bleach" are lyrics from the Nirvana song "Come as You Are",[5] which was the second single from Nirvana's second album Nevermind.[6]


The film has a 50/100 rating on Metacritic based on seven reviews.[7] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 30% rating based on 10 reviews with an average rating of 4.5/10.[8] Dennis Harvey of Variety wrote that the film "may be TMI for those not already obsessed with all things Cobain", but it presents enough evidence to counter its dismissal as a conspiracy theory.[9] Zack Sigel wrote for VH1 that the film presents "Flimsy evidence, personal agendas, and blatant disregard for facts".[10] IndieWire's review claimed cinematographer Ben Kutchins "heavily studied David Fincher’s unsung procedural masterpiece" Zodiac, noting that the "testimonies [and] audio recordings made by Grant" were "dramatically recreated like a made-for-TV version [of Fincher’s film]."[11]


Prior to the release of the docu drama, cold case homicide Detective Michael Ciesynski was instructed to look at the 35mm film photographs of the Kurt Cobain death scene as part of a re-examination, marking the 20th anniversary of the musician's passing. The Seattle Police Department released those photographs in March 2014.[12][13] Ciesnyski told KIRO-TV that "the new work on the case turned up nothing to make him think Cobain's death was anything but what it was ruled to be in 1994 - a suicide".[14] New images of the Remington shotgun were also released later in March 2016, refuting the claim made in the movie that the Seattle Police Department gave Courtney Love the shotgun for melting it down.[15][16] A police report referred instead to other guns confiscated by the police.[17]

On June 17, 2015, Deadline Hollywood and Stereogum reported that Courtney Love had sent cease and desist letters against theaters showing Soaked in Bleach claiming, "A false accusation of criminal behavior is defamatory … which entitles Ms. Cobain to both actual and presumed damages". The letter also states "We hereby demand again that you immediately cease any and all plans for exhibition or promotion of the film. If we do not hear from you within five days, we are required to immediately pursue all available civil legal remedies on behalf of our client against you."[18][19] To date no lawsuit has been filed on Love's behalf. The producers of the film responded to the letters by stating, "Courtney Love's uninformed accusations and efforts to discredit the film are totally off base. Courtney Love and her lawyers clearly don't like that the film presents a compelling case for re-opening the investigation into Kurt's death. They should respect the First Amendment and let people decide for themselves."[18]

John Fisk, paramedic for the Seattle Fire Department and first responder at the Kurt Cobain death scene in 1994, gave an interview to the Mercer Island Reporter on April 6, 2016, stating that "he reiterated to the Soaked in Bleach producers that he still believes the case remains a suicide."[20]

On June 27, 2016, Vernon J. Geberth, former homicide detective of the New York City Police Department, who was among the experts interviewed in the docudrama, posted an article on his Practical Homicide Investigation website[21] and Facebook page,[22][23] stating that he "was not happy that the producers of Soaked in Bleach made it appear that he agreed with their homicide theory". He stated further that he "made it quite clear that he believed that Kurt Cobain took his own life and backed up his opinion with the facts that he had obtained from the Seattle Police Department's Homicide Division coupled with his own experience with suicide cases".

Carole Chaski, a forensic linguist, agreed with the official suicide verdict. She was as well among the experts shown in Soaked in Bleach. On October 9, 2017, she was interviewed at the NBC News affiliate House Of Mystery Radio Show, stating that her "results do not support the conspiracy theory that Courtney Love authored the bottom portion to make it look like a suicide note".[24] She ran Kurt Cobain's suicide note through a computational software called SNARE (Suicide Note Assessment Review) and it was classified as a suicide note (the top portion and the bottom portion).[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "'Soaked in Bleach': Film Review - The Kurt-and-Courtney arguments will never die". The Hollywood Reporter. June 11, 2015. Retrieved July 5, 2022.
  2. ^ Orange, B. Alan (April 8, 2014). "Soaked in Bleach Trailer Examines the Death of Kurt Cobain". MovieWeb. Retrieved July 5, 2022.
  3. ^ "Cobain's friend bought the gun - Authorities believe singer lay dead three days". Entertainment. Calgary Herald. Associated Press. April 16, 1994. p. 21.
  4. ^ Giles, Jeff (April 8, 2014). "New Film Explores 'Courtney Love Had Kurt Cobain Killed' Conspiracy Theories". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  5. ^ "Come as You Are". Genius. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  6. ^ Chick, Stevie (September 23, 2021). "Nirvana: The stories behind every song on Nevermind". Kerrang!. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  7. ^ "Soaked in Bleach". Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  8. ^ "Soaked in Bleach". Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  9. ^ Harvey, Dennis (June 24, 2015), "Film Review: 'Soaked in Bleach'", Variety, retrieved October 11, 2016
  10. ^ Sigel, Zack. "Does Soaked in Bleach Solve Kurt Cobain's Murder Once And For All, Or Misread His Entire Life Completely?". VH1. Archived from the original on July 6, 2015. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  11. ^ Ege Kozak, Oktay (June 15, 2015). "Review: Kurt Cobain Conspiracy Theory Docudrama 'Soaked In Bleach'". IndieWire. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  12. ^ Spangenthal-Lee, Jonah (March 31, 2014). "(Updated) Detective Reviews Cobain Case, Which Remains Closed". Seattle Police Department Blotter. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  13. ^ "Kurt Cobain Death Scene Photos – New Kurt Cobain death scene photos – Pictures". CBS News. March 27, 2014. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  14. ^ "Kurt Cobain's death was indeed a suicide, police say". CBS News. March 21, 2014. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  15. ^ Fisher, Greg (March 17, 2016). "Cops: New photos show Kurt Cobain suicide gun". CBS News. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  16. ^ "SPD releases photos of Kurt Cobain suicide gun". Kiro 7. March 17, 2016. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  17. ^ Ciesynski, Mike (April 5, 2019). "Cops: Detective who reviewed Kurt Cobain's death file details evidence". CBS News. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  18. ^ a b Lincoln, Ross A.; Patten, Dominic (June 16, 2015). "Courtney Love Sends Cease & Desist Against Kurt Cobain Movie 'Soaked in Bleach'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  19. ^ Tully Claymore, Gabriela (June 17, 2015). "Courtney Love Files Cease & Desist Against Kurt Cobain Murder Conspiracy Docudrama". Stereogum. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  20. ^ "April 8: the day the music died - Islander recalls being first responder at Kurt Cobain death scene 22 years ago". Mercer Island Reporter. April 6, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  21. ^ "Research Material". Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  22. ^ "Practical Homicide Investigation". Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  23. ^ Wright, Mic. "Kurt Cobain Conspiracy Theories live on in Generation Z". Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  24. ^ "Mysterious Celebrity Deaths". Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  25. ^ Warren, Alan R.; Shapiro, Eric (March 1, 2021). "Part I Kurt Cobain: 2. Suicide Note". Mysterious Celebrity Deaths : The Interviews (The House of Mystery Radio Show Presents The Interviews Book 4). House of Mystery. pp. 56–58.

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