Columbine High School massacre in popular culture

The following is a list of cultural references to the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.


References to the shootings have appeared in popular music.

  • The entire 2000 album Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) by the band Marilyn Manson was written as a reaction and rebuttal against the allegation made by politicians, religious and civic leaders and news media that the group inspired the perpetrators to commit the school shooting.[1][2][3]
  • 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.[4]
  • 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.[5]
  • Amanda Palmer, one half of The Dresden Dolls, performed "Strength Through Music" during the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.[6] It is a song about Columbine. She stated it was written some time earlier, though she did not clarify the time frame. "Strength Through Music" is on her first solo CD Who Killed Amanda Palmer, and she also did a music video version of it shot in Lexington High School, Massachusetts, her alma mater. The video has a spoken mode-setting preface.[7]
  • Rapper Tyler, the Creator made a reference to the shooting in his song "Yonkers".[8] He also has a song entitled "Pigs" which he stated in a tweet was inspired by the two shooters.[9]
  • Rapper Violent J of the hip-hop supergroup Dark Lotus mentioned the Columbine High School massacre on the Dark Lotus' debut album, Tales from the Lotus Pod, on the 10th track of the album, "Bad Rep".[10]
  • Rapper Bones released an album about the shooting on February 25, 2014 titled TeenWitch. The songs go inside the minds of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold leading up to and throughout the massacre.[11]
  • Rapper Eminem references the shooting multiple times throughout his discography. Most famously, "I'm Back" off of The Marshall Mathers LP (2000) contained a line about Columbine that was censored.[12] He references this censorship in "Rap God" (The Marshall Mathers LP 2, 2013) and repeats the line, saying it will not be censored this time because he is not as famous as when "I'm Back" was released.[13] "Remember Me?"[14] and "The Way I Am"[15] (The Marshall Mathers LP) also reference the shooting, and the music video for "White America" includes a reference to school shootings during the first chorus.[16]
  • Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks" was inspired by the Columbine High School massacre.
  • "Broccoli" by DRAM mentions the Columbine High School massacre.[17]
  • Childish Gambino's song "The Real" from his mixtape I Am Just a Rapper 2 briefly references Columbine.[18]
  • Rapper Kota The Friend mentions the shooting on his 2020 album, “Everything” on the song Always.




  • In a TV Guide interview, Mike Judge told the story of a letter he received regarding the 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 on May 4, 1999, 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).[21]
  • Two episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer were postponed after they were to air soon after the shootings. The first was the episode "Earshot". Though the episode had to do with school violence, there is a scene reminiscent of the University of Texas at Austin's shooting. Also "Graduation Day, Part Two" was delayed by almost two months after the shootings because of the scene where the students are wielding weapons. It was only aired after The WB received "thousands of letters demanding that the finale be aired".[22]
  • In the American Horror Story episode "Halloween (Part 2)", the ghost of a victim of Tate's high school shooting, which he does not 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."[23] 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.[24]
  • An episode of the Discovery Channel show Zero Hour documents the events of the massacre, and includes a detailed reenactment.[25]
  • In the Family Guy episode "Brian & Stewie", Stewie Griffin mentions that Brian Griffin cried after Columbine. Which Brian responds because it was a national tragedy, which Stewie then responded it was more of a regional tragedy.[26] In another Family Guy episode, "Trading Places", Peter Griffin is wearing a black trench coat, similar to what Harris and Klebold wore in the massacre and pulls out a shotgun and says it was time to make the popular kids pay for ignoring him.[27]
  • Columbine is briefly mentioned in the Cold Case episode "Rampage".[28]


  • 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.[29]
  • The production of the 2000 DC Animated Universe film, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker was heavily impacted by the massacre. This resulted in many violent scenes such as Joker's death and certain dialogues considered bad for children being censored and edited.[30][circular reference]
  • In 2003, a mockumentary called Zero Day was released that detailed the events leading up to a school shooting. This was heavily based on Columbine.[31]
  • Bowling for Columbine, a documentary by filmmaker Michael Moore, explores the massacre within the context of American culture at the time.[32]
  • Freddy vs. Jason Mentioned by Kia and saying that the police were acting like some kind of Columbine thing.
  • I'm Not Ashamed which was released on October 21, 2016. It was commissioned by Rachel Scott's family to honor their daughter, who was the first victim of Columbine.[33]
  • Elephant is a 2003 American drama by Gus Van Sant. Set in fictional Watt High School, it is based in part on the Columbine massacre. The film began as a documentary that Van Sant initially intended to make about Columbine.[34]

Video gamesEdit

  • A 2005 video game titled Super Columbine Massacre RPG! was independently made by Danny Ledonne. In the game, players take control of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and act out the massacre, while going through flashbacks of the pair's experiences. Following the massacre, the player takes control of Harris and Klebold in a fictional adventure in perdition. The game received huge controversy, as people believed it was glorifying the massacre and could be used by potential future killers as inspiration.[35]


  • Brooks Brown, a survivor who was targeted by law enforcement and students after the massacre due to his lifelong friendship with Dylan Klebold, reacted to the shooting and its aftermath in his 2002 memoir No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine.[citation needed]
  • The 2009 Jeff Kass book Columbine: A True Crime Story is a book in which the author explains the events that lead to the tragedy using research.[citation needed]
  • Shooter Dylan Klebold's mother, Susan Klebold, published an essay about the aftermath of the massacre in a 2009 issue of O Magazine.[36] She has also written a memoir titled A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, released February 15, 2016.[37]
  • Dave Cullen's book Columbine, released in 2009, includes an analysis of the massacre and the shooters.
  • In Theory of Bloom, Tiqqun reveals the revolutionary potential of school shootings.[citation needed]
  • 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.[38][39]
  • The satirical newspaper The Onion discussed the massacre in its article "Columbine Jocks Safely Resume Bullying".[40]
  • 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."[41]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sterngold, James (1999-04-29). "Terror in Littleton: The Culture; Rock Concerts Are Cancelled". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2016-07-01. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
  2. ^ Cullen, Dave (1999-09-23). "Inside the Columbine High investigation". Salon. Archived from the original on 2017-05-17. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  3. ^ Bryant, Tom (2010-11-10). "Screaming For Vengeance". Kerrang!. No. 1338. Bauer Media Group. pp. 40–42. ISSN 0262-6624.
  4. ^ "Leave Me Alone (Shaft 20/20 Mix) remix lyrics". Archived from the original on 2017-08-29. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
  5. ^ "Farewell performance for Columbine song". Archived from the original on October 23, 2006. Retrieved December 26, 2006.
  6. ^ "Amanda Palmer at the Speigeltent, Edinburgh Fringe 2007". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2014-05-23. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
  7. ^ Michael Pope; BriAnna Olson (2009-02-23). "Strength Through Music – "Who Killed Amanda Palmer" Video Series: Part 6". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2014-05-23. 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
  8. ^ "Tyler, The Creator – Yonkers". Archived from the original on 2017-08-29. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Tyler, The Creator – Pigs". Archived from the original on 2017-08-29. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  10. ^ "Dark Lotus – Bad Rep Lyrics – MetroLyrics". Archived from the original on 2015-09-27. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  11. ^ "Genius". Archived from the original on 2017-08-29.
  12. ^ "Genius".
  13. ^ "Genius".
  14. ^ "Genius". Archived from the original on 2017-08-29.
  15. ^ "Genius". Archived from the original on 2017-08-29.
  16. ^ "YouTube". Archived from the original on 2019-02-10.
  17. ^ "Broccoli Lyrics". Genius. Archived from the original on 2017-09-14. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  18. ^ "Childish Gambino – The Real Lyrics". Genius. Archived from the original on 2018-06-23. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  19. ^ Horn, John (24 April 2014). "'The Library' rewrites the book on Columbine". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2018-02-04. Retrieved 2018-02-03.
  20. ^ Rooney, David (16 January 2014). "Steven Soderbergh to Direct Off-Broadway Play Starring Chloe Grace Moretz". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2018-02-04.
  21. ^ Judge, Mike. "Mike Judge quote". Goodreads. Archived from the original on 2014-08-30. Retrieved 2014-10-30.
  22. ^ "Fox Pulls Bones in Wake of College Massacre". Archived from the original on April 29, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2007.
  23. ^ Lily Hoagland. "American Horror Story Recap: "You don't get it, do you?"". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
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  25. ^ "IMDb – Zero Hour – Massacre at Columbine High". Archived from the original on 2019-02-10.
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  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-07-01. Retrieved 2019-07-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-03-27. Retrieved 2019-11-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ "Reunion (2009)". Archived from the original on 2015-12-06. Retrieved 2012-04-15.
  30. ^ "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker - Wikipedia". Retrieved 2021-02-13.
  31. ^ "IMDb – Zero Day". Archived from the original on 2018-04-08.
  32. ^ Yahnke, Robert (2009). "Film Summary: Bowling for Columbine". Archived from the original on 2012-11-17. Retrieved 2016-09-21.
  33. ^ "I'm Not Ashamed". Archived from the original on 2016-07-12.
  34. ^ Crean, Ellen (21 May 2003). "2003: Shades Of Columbine". Archived from the original on 25 August 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  35. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-08-18. Retrieved 2019-07-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  36. ^ "Dylan Klebold's mom speaks in "O" Magazine". The Denver Post. October 10, 2009. Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  37. ^ "A MOTHER'S RECKONING". Archived from the original on 2016-07-25.
  38. ^ Yarbrough, Beau. Unpublished School Shooting 'Hellblazer' Online Archived 2007-12-24 at the Wayback Machine. Comic Book Resources. 21 August 2000.
  39. ^ Yarbrough, Beau. JLA/Avengers Team-Up in the Works Archived 2007-12-26 at the Wayback Machine. Comic Book Resources. 19 July 1999.
  40. ^ "Columbine Jocks Safely Resume Bullying | The Onion – America's Finest News Source". The Onion. 1999-09-08. Archived from the original on 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
  41. ^ Stephen King: On writing Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine.