A smoothie to soothe gory TV


Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODEATING - TONY JACKMAN

BLOOD, gore, torn flesh, sa­ti­ated vam­pires. Dark red liq­uids con­sumed lustily with an evil leer. The drinker’s eyes wild with de­sire and thirst, as if what they’ve slaked is en­liven­ing their beings, their very lifeblood rein­vig­o­rated. Like a zom­bie given life again, till it’s time once more to sup from the evil cup. (Look, this is a food col­umn, go with it.)

Are they real, th­ese wan stalk­ers of the dark­est hours, th­ese louche tak­ers of life for plea­sure? Does a Nos­fer­atu roam in the night, lurk­ing in shad­ows and lick­ing his lip when a porce­lain neck comes by? Does an Ed­ward Cullen hover in the dark­ness on your path home, read­ing your thoughts as you swish by? Do you need a cross, up­side down or not, or to carry gar­lic, just in case? Is there dis­torted erotic plea­sure when the teeth sink in and your blood is drained away?

I met a vam­pire once. Or one whose name is para­mount in the pan­theon of blood­let­ting Hol­ly­wood names. It was 1985 and Christopher Lee was in Cape Town for the film­ing of Shaka Zulu, an ex­cel­lent South African tele­vi­sion minis­eries with a cast that in­cluded Henry Cele, Ed­ward Fox and Derek Ja­cobi. I didn’t get to in­ter­view Ja­cobi, but did in­ter­view both Fox and Lee. The suave, gruffvoiced Fox was fussy about his cof­fee. But at least he was good for an in­ter­view. Not so Lee.

I was to meet Christopher Lee at 2pm at the old Heeren­gracht Ho­tel, where he was stay­ing. I asked for him at re­cep­tion. He’d gone out for a walk. Tran­spired he’d for­got­ten about the ap­point­ment. He strolls in half-an-hour later, he’s look­ing to nap, I in­tro­duce my­self... and he be­comes very grumpy. With much sigh­ing and mum­bling, he bade me fol­low him into the lift. The si­lence as it rose many floors echoed an eerie ho­tel el­e­va­tor. I shiv­ered.

For 45 min­utes or so, in his gloomy ho­tel room, I en­dured a Story: Ho­tel.

Even blood­ier than all four pre­vi­ous se­ries, it fea­tures a turn by the madly tal­ented Lady Gaga, whose four­some ( Matt Bomer in­cluded) is the red-tainted heart of the first episode. I was hooked from the first episode of se­ries one, set as it was in a haunted house. The tone was set for the next four out­ings of thrilling and wicked blood­let­ting, ghouls, gore and wildly spooky set­tings. Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story: Asy­lum fol­lowed, then Coven, then Freak Show, and now Ho­tel.

They used to tell us that the up­shot of gra­tu­itous hor­ror or sex, is a bad movie. This fran­chise glo­ries in both. And it’s fab­u­lous.

The set­ting in the Cortez Ho­tel, built by a crazed psy­chotic killer who de­signed the weirdly beau­ti­ful build­ing to hide the se­crets and sounds of death, with places where no one can hear you scream and oth­ers where the smell of de­cay can­not be de­tected, is, for me, the best of them all. And the cast… all four pre­vi­ous se­ries had top names ( Jes­sica Lange, An­gela Bas­sett, Kathy Bates) but com­ing up in later episodes of this one are Don­ald Suther­land, Michelle Pfeif­fer, and Naomi Camp­bell. And reprises by Bates, Bas­sett, and the bril­liant Evan Peters – in from se­ries one.

I watched episode 2 this week over a break­fast of a wor­ry­ingly red berry smoothie. It wrought an evil fris­son, sip­ping the life-giv­ing red blend while watch­ing Matt Bohmer and Lady Gaga suck lifeblood from an­other vic­tim.

A smoothie is most re­viv­ing af­ter gorg­ing on such small-screen gore. There’s really no need for an ex­act recipe for a smoothie. By all means go with the in­gre­di­ents listed but chop and change if you like… add a ba­nana, or pineap­ple, a lit­tle or­ange or cran­berry juice (not too much un­less you like it very runny), add oats if you fancy.

But I kept it nice and sim­ple. Break the frozen berries into chunks, put them in a blen­der, add the yo­ghurt and juice, and blend till smooth. It’s bloody mar­vel­lous.

BLOODY LOVELY: A smoothie’s just the thing to help shake off the cob­webs.

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