Friday, January 13, 2023

Blood Of The Vines - Serial Killers

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 wine is the color of blood as we serve up some pairings for three films concerning serial killers.

In Cold Blood is a movie from 1967, based on Truman Capote's book about the brutal real-life murders of a Kansas family by a pair of criminals in 1959. Their killing spree was a short one - they slit and shot the four family members in the middle of the night, after failing to find a safe full of cash they had hoped to crack. Robert Blake plays one of the killers while John Forsythe plays a state investigator.

When the two felons get out of prison and decide to resume a life of crime, they head to southwestern Kansas as the logical place to get their careers back on track. That's a six-hour drive from the Leavenworth Big House. It goes to show that law enforcement's best friend is the stupidity of criminals. 

In tribute to the unfortunate Clutter family, a Kansas wine will be the pairing here. Even though Holy-Field Winery is in a suburb of Kansas City and the Clutters were butchered six hours west, way across the state, the juice is great. Try their midwestern grapes, Chambourcin or Cynthiana. Both are red wines which have won awards for their excellence, like In Cold Blood did.

If you speak Italian, you may know 1975's Deep Red as Profondo Rosso. The only Italian I speak is "più vino, per favore, "and I can say that only because I just googled "more wine please" in Italian. 

Deep Red - Imma stay in my English language lane - stars David Hemmings as a musician who investigates a string of murders. Don't ask me why a musician is doing a cop's job. I just hope the cop isn't playing a sax on a street corner somewhere.

It's one of those things that strike me about Italian film. Weird happenings don't draw anyone's attention. Arguments about unrelated events seem to pop up out of nowhere - and disappear just as quickly. Anytime a car is moving, it's like a chase scene. And even if it's called a giallo film, it's still just a slasher flick to me.

It may be just a slasher flick to me, but it was a regular War and Peace to someone - the original script reportedly ran more than 500 pages. I'll pause here for the audible gasp from every studio reader in Los Angeles. Never fear - writer/director Dario Argento cut it down to a mere 321 pages. Despite the heft of that screenplay, the movie clocks in at just over two hours running time. 

The wine pairing for this giallo film is one from Iruai Winery called Giallo - although it is from the Shasta-Cascade mountains of California's Siskiyou County, not Italy. They do, however, pay homage to the "rugged, savage red wines of the Italian Alps." It’s a blend of Teroldego, Nebbiolo, and Refosco grapes, and it has the film genre right there on the label, so you don't forget what you're watching.

Out of 1971 comes 10 Rillington Place, a British crime drama with Richard Attenborough as real-life serial killer John Christie. The title of the film is the address of the house where many of his victims were slain. John Hurt got rave reviews for his portrayal of Timothy Evans, who was tried and found guilty of two murders that were committed by Christie. Both Evans and Christie eventually swung from a noose, although Evans was posthumously pardoned - a little late to do him any good. 

It's difficult for me to think of a British serial killer. In my mind, he would sound like a James Bond villain - all posh and proper as he describes how he plans to end you. Or like the great Bill Hicks comedy bit about "hooligans" knocking over a dustbin in Shaftesbury. But, I suppose the bad seeds turn up everywhere, even in Notting Hill. 

For this movie about crime in London, let's go down to Surrey for Denbies Redlands, a crimson blend of Dornfelder, Rondo and Pinot Noir grapes grown in the Denbies estate vineyard. I don't know whose idea it was to plant a German grape variety like Dornfelder in quaint little Surrey, but if they are good with it, so am I. Prost. 

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