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 draw a bead on drinks to be paired with movies about humans used for target practice. Put that in your 2nd Amendment argument and shoot it.
The Sniper is a film noir from 1952. Directed by Edward Dmytryk, The Sniper was one of his first films after a tough stretch in which he was blacklisted, jailed for contempt of Congress, exiled and eventually brought back before the House Unamerican Activities Committee to name names. And you thought you had a tough week. Stanley Kramer helped get Dmytryk’s career back on its feet with a series of low-budget films.
The movie centers on a misogynist who kills women from a distance with an M1 rifle. He is aware that he is “not right in the head” and he adopts a “stop me before I kill again” attitude. The authorities do stop him – but not before he kills again. For me, the climax of The Sniper is about as satisfying as the end of a car chase in which the driver just flops out of the vehicle onto the pavement.
There is a creamy cocktail called The Sniper, so how do we not? It features Butterscotch Schnapps, whisky cream, Creme de Cacao and cream. Hence the “creamy” descriptor.
1968’s Targets has a something-old-something-new element to it. Roger Corman produced, while Peter Bogdonavich got his start as a director. Boris Karloff plays a retiring horror actor while Tim O’Kelly serves as the sniper. Karloff’s character is quitting the monster movie business because he feels the actual news events of the day are much more horrific than anything he could ever act out on celluloid. The movie became a lot more topical by the time it was released, shortly after the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy.
Fans of L.A. location shooting will want to see the finale, filmed at a Reseda drive-in movie. Spoiler alert: The climax is terrific, when Karloff’s character disarms the sniper by hitting him with his cane. So much for the scary sniper – defeated by an old man with a walking stick.
For a wine pairing with Targets, I’ll try to resist the temptation to recommend a box of wine from Target, although the temptation is strong. There is a gun club in North Carolina which sports a “Shoot Then Sip” night for ladies. Let’s hope they keep things in the proper order. For Californians, Sonoma’s Wing and Barrel Ranch brings gunplay and drinking together. The ranch offers both shooting and hunting, so you can opt for clay pigeons or, I guess, real pigeons. Turley Cellars is one of their vintner partners, so get one of Turley’s great Zinfandels and shoot out the cork.
Turkey Shoot, in 1982, was an Australian humans-as-prey movie. It was directed by TFH guru Brian Trenchard-Smith, and set in a futuristic concentration camp. The action centers around a yearly event in which a few of the higher-ups among the guards choose a handful of prisoners to hunt down in the wild. Trenchard-Smith has called Turkey Shoot “1984 meets The Camp on Blood Island where they play The Most Dangerous Game,” and that’s an apt description.
The hunters are considerably better equipped for the game than the hunted. Their weaponry ranges from guns to artillery to bombs to napalm airstrikes. And still, two of the prisoners get through the ordeal alive. That’s just bad shooting.
Is anyone surprised by pairing Turkey Shoot with Wild Turkey Kentucky Bourbon? There is also an Australian winery, Turkey Flat, which offers a Butchers Block Shiraz that may offer enough firepower for you.