A NIN Music Video Became a Year Long FBI Murder Investigation

In 1989 Trent Reznor was just starting out with his new band called Nine Inch Nails. He was getting ready to release his first album entitled “Pretty Hate Machine” and needed to shoot a music video for one of the singles on the album entitled “Down In It”. He teamed up with directors Eric Zimmerman and Benjamin Stokes and began filming in the Warehouse District of Chicago. The video depicts Trent Reznor running through the area while he makes his way up to the roof of a building while two other members follow him. Various graphics and crazy visuals are intermittently spliced in between this. The video then comes to end with Trent Reznor falling from the roof and his body laying on the ground below.

To shoot this final scene, the crew used a camera attached with helium filled balloons to create an aerial shot of the body. Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly go according to plan. The ropes preventing the balloons from floating away snapped and the camera was carried 200 miles where it eventually landed in a Michigan farmer’s field. After the farmer found the camera and viewed the footage he promptly turned it over to police. This sparked a year long investigation by the FBI which they believed to be footage of a murder. Trent Reznor was eventually identified as the “murder victim” and his manager explained the whole situation. Hard Copy did an episode in 1991 on the incident which can be viewed below. The actual “Down In It” music video is below as well.

Harcopy 1991

Nine Inch Nails – Down In It

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