GenreDocumentary, History, Music Duration LanguageEnglish
Release dateNovember 8, 1996 (1996-11-08) GenresMusic, Documentary, Biographical film, Rockumentary CastNirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Melvins Similar moviesThe Jesus Lizard: Sho(r)t Film, Nirvana: Live in Dallas, Pixies: Vredenberg, Utrecht, TRON: Legacy, Dire Straits: Alchemy Live, Sucker Punch
Hype! (1996) is a documentary directed by Doug Pray about the popularity of grunge rock in the early to mid-1990s United States. It incorporates interviews and rare concert footage to trace the steps of grunge, from its subversive inception in neighborhood basements, to its explosion as a pop culture phenomenon. Hype! shows grunge from the point of view of people within the grunge scene, and attempts to dispel some of the myths of the genre promulgated by media hype, hence the title. The movie generally portrays the latter faction in a satirical way, though acknowledges that media hype helped to propel some of these obscure bands to brief fame.
The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 1996. It opened to general audiences on November 8 of the same year.
Hype! received positive reviews from critics, as the film holds a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 26 reviews.
Hype! includes interviews and performances from bands (primarily oriented with the Sub Pop Records axis) such as TAD, Mudhoney, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Coffin Break, The Gits, Love Battery, Flop, The Melvins, Some Velvet Sidewalk, Mono Men, Supersuckers, Zipgun, Seaweed, Pearl Jam, 7 Year Bitch, Hovercraft, Gas Huffer, and Fastbacks.
Along with the DVD that comes with Nirvana's With the Lights Out, it is one of the few films to contain video footage of Nirvana's first performance of their breakthrough hit, "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
In the film, Seattle producer/engineer Jack Endino is humorously referred to as "the godfather of grunge."
Sub Pop released a soundtrack to the film in 1996 on CD and a limited box set on colored 7" vinyl. AMG entry
Naomi Klein referenced an interview with Eddie Vedder from the documentary in her book No Logo. Vedder commented that Seattle should use its influence positively. Klein's argument is that grunge had already been co-opted by corporate America.