From the Vault: Running Up that Hill with The Chocolate War

The Chocolate War was released 20 years ago this week. “What’s The Chocolate War?” you are probably asking. I don’t remember whether the movie was popular or not. I missed it completely the first time around. But about two months ago, I was talking about soundtracks (as I am apt to do) and a newly made friend asked me if I had ever seen The Chocolate War. Nope.

Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Yaz. That’s all he had to say. So top of the list it went. And the following weekend, I snurled on the couch and watched the movie. It’s about the politics of high school, but in a darker, not really funny non-Breakfast Club kind of way. In fact, it’s probably the anti-John Hughes . In which case, John Glover, the head Catholic schoolmaster would be playing the role of Principle Vernon. Instead of handing out detentions, Glover manipulates the student body into selling copious numbers of chocolate bars to fund his pet projects/vices.

Still with me?

On to the music – the real reason for the post. As if by some grace of musical genome godliness, Pandora spit out Placebo’s version of “Running Up That Hill” on Monday. And I fell for it hard.

It flashed me back to Kate Bush’s original that was a haunting presence in The Chocolate War

And if that weren’t enough. The score of the movie is essentially sliced up segments of Peter Gabriel’s We Do What We’re Told (Milgram’s 37). Peter Gabriel rarely contributes music to movies. There was The Passion of the Christ soundtrack which he recorded and then was summarily scrubbed from the film, but other than that, his music is rarely used. He gave special permission for the use of his music in The Chocolate War because of the movie’s theme about human rights. (See info about the obedience experiments run by Professor Milgram and his 37 students).

Here’s Peter Gabriel’s haunting video for We Do What We’re Told:


~ by montelutz on November 12, 2008.

2 Responses to “From the Vault: Running Up that Hill with The Chocolate War”

  1. Hey, man. Great post. A couple of thoughts. I believe this Peter Gabriel video includes footage from another monor film for which he did the soundtrack: “Birdy” starring Matthew Modine going batsh*t crazy with Nicolas Cage. I checked the liner notes in the CD — probably the only well-known Gabriel title is an instrumental excerpt from “Rhythm of the Heat.” Good stuff. “Birdy” the movie is decent, if you can find it. The CD soundtrack originally debuted in 1984 or 1985 on Geffen, and was re-released in the early 2000s when Gabriel was belching out “remastered” stuff.

    Also, while reading about Kate Bush, I was reminded of some kind of lore of ‘six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon’ (the notion that everyone in Hollywood or entertainment is connected to Bacon). Kate Bush and “Running Up That Hill” I think was a second choice for the soundtrack of “She’s Having A Baby,” which eventually featured a different Bush song, the haunting “The Woman’s Work.” Wasn’t this film a Hughes’ project, too? Coincidence?

    And speaking of Bacon, Birdy, batsh*t crazy medicated Matthew Modine and the band Placebo, you might enjoy their song/video “Meds” which is also on YouTube.

  2. Typo alert: Should have included correct title in my comment about “This Woman’s Work”

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