The wine world and the horror world rarely collide—save for one infamous line in The Silence of the Lambs. But I recently stumbled upon a masterpiece that will satisfy both horror fans and wine snobs. It’s called The Vineyard, it came out in 1989 and it’s currently streaming on Netflix. Here are five reasons why you definitely need to watch it.
1. It’s a James Hong production. If you don’t know who James Hong is, then I don’t want to know who you are. He’s acted in Chinatown, Blade Runner and Tango & Cash, voiced Mr. Ping in Kung Fu Panda and, most importantly, he played David Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China. In this movie, he’s not only the lead, he’s also the writer and director.
2. It’s a horror movie about wine. Here’s the basic plot: An evil winemaker/doctor (played by Hong) makes miracle, age-reversing wine with grapes grown in dirt fertilized by dead people (who occasionally come back as zombies?) and blood taken from his harem of chained up young people. There’s also an amulet involved somehow (though characters call it an “amlet” for the first half of the movie).
3. There are boobs. As the movie starts to unfold, you might think, “Did I accidently play a soft-core Skinimax movie?” That’s how naked a lady is for the first ten minutes or so of the movie. And, for the ladies, there’s also a shirtless James Hong.
4. The hero is a journalist. This might only appeal to other writers, but it’s nice to see a journo, dumb as the character may be, take the lead. What publication is he writing for? Who knows. Why is he only interviewing this winemaker now even though he already wrote a profile on him? Not important. What is important is that this journalist is a national hero.
5. You don’t have to know anything about wine to watch it. No grape varietals are mentioned, no winemaking methods are shown and no one discusses mouthfeel. This is a wine movie written by someone who doesn’t know anything about it and that's just fine.