Friday, November 10, 2023

Blood Of The Vines - Bela/Boris Halloween Hangover

Pairing‌ ‌wine‌ ‌with‌ ‌movies!‌  ‌See‌ ‌the‌ ‌trailers‌ ‌and‌ ‌hear‌ ‌the‌ ‌fascinating‌ ‌commentary‌ ‌for‌ ‌these‌ ‌movies‌ ‌and‌ ‌many‌ ‌more‌ ‌at‌ ‌Trailers‌ ‌From‌ ‌Hell.‌ This week, we serve up some leftover Halloween candy in the form of three films featuring Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. Oh, and we have wine pairings for each as usual.

The Invisible Ray came from 1936, just 38 years after Marie Curie discovered radioactivity. The movie stars both Bela and Boris, with Lugosi as a scientist who tries to cure his friend, Karloff, of radiation poisoning. Script says, a meteorite Karloff touched made him glow in the dark. Ha ha, pretty funny, you say. Well, he also kills anyone he touches, if that toughens up the story line for you. 

No doubt, you expect me to come up with a radioactive wine for The Invisible Ray. Well, grab a bottle from the rack. There. That's radioactive. Scientists say that wine grapes pick up trace amounts of isotopes and are therefore radioactive. So are eggplants, and tomatoes, so don't freak out. Any wine bottled since the 1940s is likely to have those trace amounts of radiation. 

However, I am contractually obligated to provide a specific wine to pair with this movie. Make it an atomic wine. The Atom Half Life Chardonnay won’t give you Karloff's "touch of death," but the California concoction will likely have a nice, buttery flavor.

Karloff starred in 1944's House of Frankenstein, along with Lon Chaney, Jr. and John Carradine. You also have Count Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein's monster in the mix here, so there is no shortage of Universal monster properties. 

Karloff plays Dr. Gustav Niemann, who escapes prison and jumps right into a plan to make a new body for his assistant. A parole officer would have been proud. The assistant has a hunchback, by the way, which is the cherry on top of this horror movie sundae. 

And it is the connection to our wine pairing. From Victor Hugo Winery in Paso Robles, Hunchback. You read that right. A wine called Hunchback, from a winery called Victor Hugo which has absolutely nothing to do with the author of the same name. It is a blend of Merlot, Tannat, Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel, so there's that

1932's White Zombie is credited with being the first zombie movie. Lugosi stars as a zombie master. Listen, if you have to be around a bunch of zombies, it is best to be their boss. His character's name is Murder Legendre, and you three guesses as to whether he is a good guy or a bad guy. The first two don't count. Clue: his name is murder. 

Bela's family keeps his name alive with Bela Lugosi Wines. They happen to make the perfect pairing for this film, White Zombie Chardonnay. It is crafted from Santa Barbara County grapes, which doesn't matter at all to a zombie, but should be important to you.  

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