Monday, October 31, 2022

Blood Of The Vines - Happy Halloween

Pairing‌‌‌ ‌‌‌wine‌‌‌ ‌‌‌with‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies!‌‌‌  ‌‌‌See‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌hear‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌fascinating‌‌‌ ‌‌‌commentary‌‌‌ ‌‌‌for‌‌‌ ‌‌‌these‌‌‌ ‌‌‌‌‌movies‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌many‌‌‌ ‌‌‌more‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌at‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌From‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Hell.‌‌‌  This week, the scares come fast and furious as we pair wine with three movies suitable for the spookiest night of the year.

Night Gallery was the 1969 pilot for the television program, hosted and partly written by Rod Serling. You may remember him - who am I kidding… of course you remember him - from The Twilight Zone, the 1960's series which was also hosted by Serling, sometimes with a lit cigarette firmly stuck between his fingers as he spoke. In Night Gallery, times had changed enough that he went without the ciggie.

The pilot - and the ensuing episodes - consisted of three segments, each of which was represented by an oil painting in the gallery. Serling delivered his introductions while standing before the paintings, like a macabre docent. One of the segments in this hour-and-a-half pilot film was the directorial debut of one Steven Spielberg. He went on to gain a bit of fame on his own.

While Serling's intros were delivered in much the same style as his oft-imitated Twilight Zone cadence, they seemed a bit threadbare in comparison. The tone of the show also had changed, from TZ's sci-fi slant to a more supernatural approach, either of which is okay for Halloween.

Let's find some really artsy wine labels for Night Gallery. Château Mouton Rothschild has commissioned genuine, real live, authentic painters to adorn some of their labels since 1945. Big names like Picasso, Dali and Hockney have splashed a little paint for the Rothschilds over the years. Unfortunately, you won't be able to pick up a bottle at Gil Turner's on the way home. They are sold at auction each year, for anywhere from four to 20 thousand dollars a case. I understand if you take a pass on this pairing suggestion - I know you have to budget for that expensive trick-or-treat candy.

1982's The Entity was directed by Sidney Furie and starred Barbara Hershey. The story - of a woman who is assaulted repeatedly by an invisible entity - was based on actual events. Sort of an Exorcist with clippings. There was a ton of backlash at the time, with women's groups railing against the depiction of the violence. Since then, it has attracted a cult following and is now seen as an allegory of the way women are victimized. It's not a pleasant movie to view, and it's hard to write something snarkily funny about it, so pardon this paragraph's lack of laughs. There simply aren't any there.

Thank goodness there is a wine called "Entity." I don’t think I could stand trying to come up with a sentence of lighthearted nonsense about this movie. Entity is an Australian Shiraz - that's what they call Syrah down under - from John Duval Wines. For $40, you get all the brawn that Barossa has to offer.

Now, if you'll please allow a little shameless brownnosing. Nightmare Cinema comes from 2018 and is a horror anthology featuring segments directed by, among others, TFH's very own chief guru Joe Dante. There are also works included by Alejandro Brugués, TFH associate guru Mick Garris, Ryūhei Kitamura, and David Slade.

Mickey Rourke plays the projectionist at a movie theater that shows films depicting the worst fears of the audience. Yeah, I know, you thought that was All The President's Men. Well, strap yourself in and get set for segments on slasher killers, sex demons and an alternate reality experienced while waiting for a doctor's appointment. Hey, wait, that's actually happened to me - and I don't think my insurance covered it.

Washington state winery The Walls has a Tempranillo they call a Wonderful Nightmare, Hemingway's description of the running of the bulls in Pamplona. I'll leave that sort of thing to other fools - a Nightmare Cinema sounds plenty dangerous for me. 

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