Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies and many more at Trailers From Hell. This week’s wine and cocktail pairings are for three films which require hazmat suits in the screening room.
Virus – known in Japan as Fukkatsu No Hi – is a 1980 sci-fi from the nation that gave Godzilla to the world. This time, nature points out the folly of men via a deadly virus, created by accident in a lab. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The bug – someone dubs it the Italian Flu, but I swear Trump is not in the picture – makes other viruses more deadly by increasing their power. But, this new virus – MM88 – doesn’t work in sub-zero temperatures. Looks like it’s time for an Antarctica vacation.
There are a few big-name Japanese actors in the cast for Virus, alongside Glenn Ford, George Kennedy, Robert Vaughn, Chuck Connors and a raft of other stars. The film has two different endings, one for the Japanese release and one for American audiences.
Well, Virus Vodka looks to me like a product that must have sprung up during the pandemic. If it didn’t, it should have. The website for the Dallas-based company urges us to “get infected” and “spread the virus.” Next they’ll be suggesting bleach as a mixer.
In 1971’s The Andromeda Strain, it’s an extraterrestrial organism – stowed away in a satellite that crashes to earth – that kills nearly everybody in a small town. How small a town? “Now Entering” and “Now Leaving” are on the same post. Every time a baby is born, someone else has to leave. Second Street is in the next town over. You get the idea.
Anyway, the town doctor has enough time on his hands that he can poke around on crashed satellites. He ends up with crystallized blood, which is even worse than pixelated video. The two people who survived the crash provide a clue for what quickly blossomed into a team of elite virologists – the kind of folks for whom Trump had little use. I mean, why go to science when there’s plenty of fiction available?
The labcoats get things figured out, but can they act in time to save the world? The cliffhanger ending went to waste, as no sequel ever materialized, to my knowledge. The film’s special effects were masterminded by Douglas Trumball, whose work you may have gotten high with in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Andromeda Rare Wine and Whisky promises to track down anything that tickles your fancy, the rarer the better. They are not a bargain option, and they are based in Hong Kong, but then there’s always the corner liquor store if price or promptness are an issue. You might also try an Andromeda cocktail – Amaretto, Grenadine, Triple Sec and orange juice. The juice is there to help ward off illnesses caused by stray alien lifeforms.
The 1965 sci-fi The Satan Bug brings bio-terror to the front row. The complicated story line is full of scientific intrigue, double- and triple-crosses, test tubes to end the world and some daredevil helicopter footage. Who said laboratory work was boring? Are these guys handling coronavirus test kits? Wash your hands! Wear a mask! You can’t even pick up litter off the street anymore without donning some nitrile gloves!
The movie stars George Maharis, Anne Francis, Richard Basehart and Dana Andrews. And a few actors better recognized from other performances – Frank Sutton (Gomer Pyle’s Sgt. Carter), Ed Asner (MTM’s crusty boss at WJM TV) and, one of my personal favorites, James Hong (every Asian professional or criminal you’ve ever seen on screen).
Any film which uses devil imagery in its title deserves a pairing with Velvet Devil Merlot from Charles Smith Wines. It’s from Washington state, by the way, one of the early hotspots for COVID-19.