A smoothie to soothe gory TV
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.