'Murder' film in cornfield turns out to be rock video

September 13, 1990

CHICAGO -- A mysterious "murder" film turned out to be no mystery at all when police discovered the evidence was really a rock music video.

The film, found in a movie camera lying in a Michigan cornfield last year, shows Trent Reznor, lead singer for the Cleveland rock group Nine Inch Nails, lying face up in an ally on Chicago's North Side.

Chicago police Detective Hal Ardell said Tuesday the rock group made the film last September using 8mm movie cameras held aloft with helium balloons for some of the scenes. But a tether broke and the balloons carried one of the cameras to a cornfield 125 miles away, near Burr Oak, Mich.

The farmer who found the camera turned it over to Michigan State Police, who developed the film and sent a copy to Chicago police.

Pathologists at the Cook County medical examiner's office said it appeared Reznor was dead. But Ardell said it was starch powder placed on Reznor's face that gave him the deathly look.

Inquiries at college film departments turned up a former Art Institute of Chicago student who said his employer, H-GUN Video Productions, had been hired by a New York firm to produce a music video for Nine Inch Nails.

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