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 feel those trick-or-treaters breathing down our necks with a few comical ghost stories.
1964 brought us The Comedy of Terrors from American International Pictures. Mixing comedy and horror makes me think of the clock radio analogy I have mentioned before – you either get a good clock or a good radio. AIP, though, had a way with the genre, and the heavyweight names who made it work – Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone. They got most of the Tales of Terror gang back together for this one.
The 19th century yarn centers on felons, miscreants and a drunk undertaker who drums up his own business and has only one coffin – which he recycles. Love plays a role, too, as Joyce Jameson ends up involved in the farce. You may remember her as the Marilyn Monroe wannabe in The Apartment or as one of the fun girls from Andy Griffith. The older actors all play their roles with a generous portion of camp, as if they felt it may be their last chance to shine. The movie didn’t exactly get rave reviews at the time, but online raters seem to be warming to it in this century.
I’d love to pair a wine from the Vincent Price Signature Wine Collection with The Comedy of Terrors, but they seem to be unavailable these days. Price was quite the food and wine aficionado, and he liked his wines simple but elegant. Go for Joseph Drouhin Macon-Villages, a beautiful Chardonnay which can be had for under $15.
From 1966, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken features the great Don Knotts in his prime, surrounded by a host of the best character actors who were working at the time. The movie was inspired by the “Haunted House” episode of The Andy Griffith Show. It was Griffith’s idea to fashion the movie as a Knotts vehicle. Knotts plays a wannabe reporter who is assigned to spend the night in a supposedly haunted house.
The movie poster promised that viewers would be scared until they laughed themselves silly. The horror never really materializes, but the laughs are there, thanks to Knotts’ shaky scaredy-cat persona. Attaboy, Luther!
I may be reaching a bit, but a wine pairing from a winery in Mt. Airy, N.C. just feels right. It was Griffith’s hometown and the inspiration for TV’s Mayberry. I think Knotts would nervously agree, shaking his head and hands as his “old salt’n’pepper” sport coat swallowed him. Round Peak Vineyards has a full menu of wines – dry and sweet – and uses good ol’ American Appalachian oak for its aging barrels.
The Banana Monster was originally titled Shlock when a very young TFH Guru John Landis made it in 1971. He also starred in it, wearing a gorilla suit designed by none other than seven-time Oscar winner Rick Baker. Landis explains that after his success with Animal House, the distributor revived it with the new title. People didn’t like it under either name and stayed away in droves. It is notable mainly for Landis being perhaps the skinniest gorilla you have ever seen. Jump cut to the drinks.
Banana wine is an obvious choice here, but you apparently have to make your own – nobody seems to sell it pre-made. Hmm, I wonder why? Here’s an idea: Banana Schnapps. Listen, it was good enough for your high school hip flask. You’re watching Schlock and complaining about drinking Schnapps? A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, you know.