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Scarecrow on Seattle: HYPE!

For the past few years, Scarecrow Video has been contributing reviews of movies made in the Pacific Northwest to the Seattle Office of Film + Music's e-newsletter. We're now proud to be able to share these reviews on our site as well.





 Hype! (1996)
Hype! is an insightful documentary about that whole grunge rock thing that happened a few years ago. The film follows the development of the genre, which first started getting rolling in the 80s when local bands combined elements of punk rock and heavy metal. Eventually this sound got packaged as a new northwest rock style called "grunge" and the music industry publicity machine over-hyped the scene to a ridiculous level. The film contains interviews and performances by a bunch of different bands, some of which became quite famous (Pearl Jam) and others who ended up mostly forgotten (Coffin Break). The filmmakers also talk to lots of folks involved behind the scenes, like record producers, the Sub Pop guys and Megan Jasper who created the hilarious "lexicon of grunge" prank. Numerous extinct rock clubs (like The Colourbox, RKCNDY, Squid Row, and the Odd Fellows Hall) are shown and there are also glimpses of the charming "weird" Seattle many of us fondly remember (The Dog House, The Cyclops Café in its old Jell-o mold building location, and the venerable Fallout Records). Also featured is lots of "classic" Seattle footage including shots of the Space Needle, foggy cityscapes, Pike Place Market, numerous sites along Highway 99, ferries in Elliott Bay, misty forests and more. The filmmakers make some other stops along the I-5 corridor and Bellingham, Tacoma, Bothell, Portland and Olympia are all represented. If you are a fan of bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden, Hype! is a must see but the film also serves as a cinematic time capsule of early 1990s Seattle which was in the midst a massive facelift courtesy of the dot com bubble.
-Spenser Hoyt


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