Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies, and many more, at Trailers From Hell. This week, it’s Halloween, ya know. For those of us who grew up on weekend viewings of Shock Theater, Fear Theater, Scare Theater – or whatever your local station called its collection of old, black-and-white horror flicks – films such as these three were staples. Happy Halloween!
Is there a better movie at Halloween than the granddaddy of horror flicks, Frankenstein? This 1931 creature feature set the stage for decades of horror tropes. The mad scientist, Henry Frankenstein, was cast from a mold that was used repeatedly. The Monster, with the iconic flat-head makeup, defined the horror of being misunderstood. The laboratory had a Tesla coil – one that was actually made by Tesla. Frankenstein was the wellspring for movie horror, especially for Universal’s version of it. By the way, if trick-or-treaters come to your door with torches in hand, don’t hide in an old mill.
For the wine pairing? Frankenstein wine. Wait, that’s a term used to describe wine that has been altered from its natural state. Rather than recommend a pairing with a wine full of oak chips, designer yeast or grapes with bolts sticking out of them, let’s go with a German
wine grown near the site of the Frankenstein castle, in the Franken wine region of Pfalz.
The Hans Wirsching Iphofer Kronsberg Silvaner Trocken is dry and bold, with a crisp minerality which will pair well with torch-toasted marshmallows.
In 1935’s Werewolf of London, movie-goers were treated to the first appearance of a werewolf in a big-time Hollywood picture. Jack Pierce did the makeup, but it was less wolfy than that worn later by Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Wolf Man. That’s because the actor who played the werewolf, Henry Hull, didn’t want his face to be obscured. Hull should have gotten over himself. The heavy makeup job didn’t seem to hurt Chaney’s career much.
Werewolf wines are from Transylvania, and they sport the scariest “critter labels” I’ve ever seen. They even glow in the dark. The line features Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, all of which pair well with werewolf.
The Mummy – we’ll cover the 1932 original here – has been subjected to more sequels, spinoffs and remakes than Batman. Boris Karloff played the mummified man who is brought back to life by the reading of an ancient scroll. If you ever find an ancient scroll, especially one from an Egyptian tomb, do not under any circumstances read it aloud. I now realize that my warning is much like telling someone “Don’t push that button!” The button invariably gets pressed. Well, all I can say is that if you bring a mummy back to life, you’d better have a quick verse or two handy, which you can use to turn him to dust.
Searching for wine and movie pairings sometimes brings me to a curiosity which cannot be passed by. The Mummy Cabernet Sauvignon is such a curiosity. It is a Napa Valley wine, apparently bottled by a company that makes personal wine labels. It is described as being “a tribute to oil exploration across the US.” I don’t get it either, but maybe some wildcatter once found an ancient scroll by his oil rig and made the mistake of reading the damned thing aloud. Anyway, at $79 a bottle, this one should be labeled “snake oil.”