The World’s End: Sing This Corrosion To Me

6 Sep

Ah, the AMC near Times Square, featuring fine family entertainment ...

Ah, the AMC near Times Square, featuring fine family entertainment …

Last week in New York, my son and I caught The World’s End, the last film of the Nick Frost/ Simon Pegg/ Edgar Wright “Cornetto Trilogy.” It was a great night at the movies, made even more memorable by the atmosphere of the AMC Empire 25 megaplex on 42nd Street, next to Ripley’s Believe it or Not and Madame Tussauds. (That block is like walking down a carnival midway, all dizzyingly bright lights and questionable smells.)  Here’s the plot in a nutshell … and yeah, there’s a spoiler that’s been well spoiled already: Gary King (Pegg) is desperate to revisit the best night of his life, when he challenged his four best mates to down a pint in each of the dozen pubs in their sedate English suburban town. Back then they didn’t complete the circuit, so Gary steamrolls his former friends (including Frost and Sherlock’s Martin Freeman) into giving it another go. The pub crawl begins just as it did 20 years before, but soon the five middle-aged men discover that they’re all that stand (drunkenly) between humanity and an alien takeover.

The World's End

Director Edgar Wright told Entertainment Weekly, “We thought it would be a funny idea to do a sci-fi film where even the people who are going to be your saviors are hammered.”

The soundtracks feature many British bands whose moments of fame hit at the end of the Eighties, when the characters were getting out of high school and I was moving from college into adult life. I got into alternative music back then, and during my brief connection to a few months ago I got reacquainted with a lot of old favorites, many of which were used in this movie.  (I may have been the only one in the AMC Empire 25 mouthing the Peter Fonda dialogue sampled in Primal Scream’s “Loaded” as the film began … oh, how cool I truly am …)

The running musical gag is that Gary King is a stone-cold Sisters of Mercy fan. He still tools around in his trench coat and SoM logo t-shirt (which covers a similar SoM logo tattoo across his chest), looking less menacing than sweaty from wearing so much black in broad daylight. When the action gets heavy, the overwrought intro of the band’s biggest hit “This Corrosion” gears up but stops short. By the story’s end, after dozens of bar fights and buckets of blue alien blood, Gary King is triumphant – and the tune blares over the credits. Gary earned the right to his theme song after all.

This is even funnier when you see what passed for Goth cool in 1987. The original version of “This Corrosion” lasted over 10 minutes and was produced by Jim Steinman, the guy who composed the songs on Meat Loaf’s bombastic yet still fantastic Bat Out of Hell albums. The Sisters of Mercy were led by contentious singer/ songwriter Andrew Eldritch, who looked like a cross between Ric Ocasek and Hunter S. Thompson back then. Simon Pegg actually looks more badass than his hero ever did – watch the video and you’ll see what I mean:

(“This Corrosion” is a song I’ve been pursuing for years. I practically wore the grooves off the EP dancing around my living room when it came out. It’s on iTunes but you can only get it as part of the complete album nowadays. Paying for an entire album when I only want one song is so 1980s I can’t bring myself to do it.)

Enjoy The World’s End before the summer ends … and let me know how you live up to your theme song.

See you on the flip side …


5 Responses to “The World’s End: Sing This Corrosion To Me”

  1. Roy Sexton (Reel Roy Reviews) September 6, 2013 at 7:34 am #

    Love this line! “The Sisters of Mercy were led by contentious singer/ songwriter Andrew Eldritch, who looked like a cross between Ric Ocasek and Hunter S. Thompson back then.”

  2. pamhoughton September 6, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    That is a movie I would like to go see. Surprisingly, it’s at the Palladium…the movie doesn’t seem mainstream enough for it. Thanks for confirming that this is a worthwhile flick.

  3. marmaladefille October 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    Whoa, I haven’t heard that song in an age. Video makes me think of “City of Lost Children.” I see a little Johnny Depp here too.
    The 42nd Street that will always remain in my memory, for better or worse, was full of nothing but questionable smells…sights…sounds…and not a whole lotta glitter. On one block you could go from the fella hawking porn vids in front of the porn theater, to the street preacher thundering on about your personal eternal damnation. And that was the block I had to navigate to get to the office! Ha. Things have changed, for sure.

    • lpon45 October 15, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

      I remember my first trips to Times Square in the 1970s, when my older brother would rush me by the dildo window displays and the guys handing out flyers for peep shows so we could eat at Burger King before seeing a Broadway musical (with tickets that topped out at $30). It used to reek of chestnuts, burned pizza and pee … I miss it.

  4. lauraleeauthor October 27, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    I’m in college again. At City Club.

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