Demonic Spirits

by Randy Fuller May 21, 2023

Pairing‌ ‌wine‌ ‌with‌ ‌movies!‌  ‌See‌ ‌the‌ ‌trailers‌ ‌and‌ ‌hear‌ ‌the‌ ‌fascinating‌ ‌commentary‌ ‌for‌ ‌these‌ ‌movies‌ ‌and‌ ‌many‌ ‌more‌ ‌at‌ ‌Trailers‌ ‌From‌ ‌Hell.‌ This week, our attention goes to three films that were spawned by the devil, or someone with similar tastes.

The Vigil is a 2019 horror film which whips up all kinds of bad vibes in the Orthodox Jewish community of Brooklyn. It drips with references to the religion’s traditions.

The demonic spirit here is a Mazzik, described in the Torah as invisible. For the movie, of course, the Mazzik is given a visible countenance – all the better to see and be terrified by him. The story centers on a former Orthodox Jew who is hired to be a Shomer – sit watch over a dead Holocaust survivor before his burial. As it happens, the guy had done some bad stuff in his life and his body is the host of the Mazzik. Because surviving the Holocaust just wasn’t punishment enough, huh?

The Mazzik plays havoc with the Shomer through weird noises, flickering lights, apparitions, visions and – oddly – a disturbing video sent to his phone. That’s a feat that the poor guy probably couldn’t have swung on his own when he was alive, but here we have a very tech-savvy Mazzik.

Critical response was mostly good, although one scribe did give up a “gefilte fish” reference to what he considered to be a movie for an acquired taste.

Obviously, we need a kosher wine to pair with The Vigil, and preferably one with a demon-fighting name. Carmel Vineyards of Israel has a Merlot which was grown in the Evyatar Vineyard of Upper Galilee. Evyatar was a high priest back in the day, and his name means “God is great.” L’chayim.

While we chase demons around the cinema, we should go grindhouse for a minute. Burial Ground – from 1981 or 1985, depending on your source – is an Italian zombie horror movie. Put that on your big screen, Quentin.

A curse is unleashed, which you can blame on another one of those careless scientists who seem to turn up in horror movies with great regularity. This time his blunder brings dead people out of their graves in a nearby cemetery. The nearby graveyard should have been a red flag that the labcoat was in dangerous territory for experiments. Where do you think you are, Wuhan?

No solitary science guy, our unlucky researcher had invited a handful of guests to come stay in the mansion. Yeah, mansion, don’t ask. The zombies get to him before the travelers arrive, and they are forced to hole up in the big house while trying to fight off the living dead. It’s a vacation that – as they say on the TV news – went terribly wrong.

For Burial Ground, one of the obvious choices would be Woodbury Winery’s Zombie Red. This works not because of the winery’s location in lovely Fredonia, NY, along the scenic shores of Lake Erie; not because the cherry-flavored wine has enough residual sugar in it to take you back to your Boone’s Farm college days; not because the winery’s name has the word “bury” in it. This is the pairing because it’s called Zombie Red, fer cryin’ out loud.

1995’s The Day of the Beast is a black comedy from the combined efforts of Spain and Italy, two countries that know a bit about the dark side of things. Think Franco and Mussolini.

Ángel is a religious man who is hell-bent on killing the Antichrist as he is born on Christmas Eve. Sounds like we have a movie here that will supersede those annual arguments about whether Die Hard is a Christmas film or not.

He finds out that saving the world is tougher than it sounds. But who knew that all it takes to kill the devil is a handgun?

The Day of the Beast sounds like a weird ride, and it is. But its fan base is hardcore, critics love it and at least one organization that hands out awards has found it deserving of a handful of prizes. Your enjoyment of it will be heightened if you like metal music.

A wine called The Beast would be perfect here, and waddaya know? Rioja’s Bodegas Santalba Lamalba sounds more like a fad dance than a winery, but their The Beast Tempranillo is stocked by an outfit called Gorey Wine Cellar.

Randy Fuller
NowAnd Zin Wine –
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