Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies, and many more, at Trailers From Hell. This week, Grindhouse Classics are the topic. Violence, sex and child kidnapping all come crashing over the spillway in a flood of exploitation. Pass the popcorn, please.
There is a place in Los Angeles called Terminal Island. It separates Wilmington from San Pedro, presumably to try and make Rivals Week during high school football season a little safer. Terminal Island, CA also has a low-security prison on it, with relatively few breakout attempts. Inmates probably realize that once out, they’d be in either Wilmington or San Pedro, making life in Club Fed look a little rosier.
1973’s Terminal Island movie takes the prison theme to the extreme. After the death penalty is written out of the penal code, hardened criminals are dumped on the isle and left there without supervision. That sounds like the first neighborhood where I lived when I moved to L.A. It also sounds like Escape From New York with an ocean view. The one-sheet explains it all: “Where living is worse than dying.”
The film was directed by Stephanie Rothman, who says she really didn’t have the stomach for the violence and sexual abuse depicted in Terminal Island. Some of it reportedly got left on the cutting room floor.
It seems too easy to pair Terminal Island with a wine named The Prisoner, but here we are. The winery has taken some heat recently for, you know, glorifying incarceration – but it’s all in a day’s work in the grindhouse. The Prisoner is a tasty blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Charbono. The Charbono grape is actually Bonarda, living under Napa Valley’s witness protection program.
The Candy Snatchers also came out in 1973, an apparently good year for sleaze. The movie was inspired by a real life kidnapping. Sixteen-year-old Candy is nabbed on her way home from school by a group of wannabe hoodlums. They bury her alive, allowing her to breathe through a pipe, and try to get a ransom from her stepfather, who really isn’t interested in saving her. At least one actor in the movie regretted having appeared in it, claiming it was a paycheck that took more than it gave.
From the shores of Lake Michigan comes Cotton Candy wine, a sweet dessert beverage offered by St. Julian Winery. Pairing opposites works well, so the sweetest wine we could find should go like a natural with a nasty mess like The Candy Snatchers.
In 1974, The Swinging Cheerleaders appeared, in which those pom-pom pretties “gave their all for the team.” You may have seen it – we won’t judge – under its other titles: Locker Room Girls and H.O.T.S. II. The movie was part of a series of films based on the notion of sexually loose cheerleaders. Turns out there is a market for that.
The gals really have their own issues to work through, so there’s not much time for cheerleading. There is, however, plenty of time for campus intrigue, scandal and conversations about the value of virginity. It’s not quite Cinemax After Dark, but it helped start the ball rolling.
For pairing purposes, the Cheerleader cocktail just won’t do. I’m not drinking a cocktail which involves putting a popsicle into a flute, and I won’t expect you to do it either. Cheerwine is probably available at your local specialty market, but it’s a soda. I’m certainly not going to Etsy to spend good money on a cheerleader skirt for my wine bottle. Turns out there’s a market for that, too.
Let’s give the holiday spirit its due. Mulled wine. Oregon’s Honeywood Winery saves you the agony of ruining a perfectly good bottle of red by doing it for you. Have a good time at the Dickens Festival. Bottoms up, and no, that’s not a cheerleader pun.