Hey there, Drinkers!
Today’s pairing is all about the LIVING DEEAADDD. No, not zombies. Just the dead coming back to life and eating people. That’s right folks, we’re watching the original The Night of the Living Dead while sipping on a beer from Clown Shoes’ Undead Party Crasher (repping my Massachusetts upbringing). So grab your blunt objects, aim for the head and start drinking!
In 1968, George A. Romero’s The Night of the Living Dead shocked and horrified audiences across America. For its time, Night was incomparably gruesome, violent and explicit. Aside from the fact that it was, for all intents and purposes, the original modern zombie film (which we’ll discuss that shortly), the film was one of the first to display gore and cannibalism. By the standards of the time, this movie was sick. It was gross, disturbing and altogether horrifying. And it’s still pretty gross.
The most important thing to remember while watching this film is to forget everything you know about zombies. Forget about eating brains, hitting them in the head or viral outbreaks. Everything you know about modern zombies can be traced back to this movie. Prior to this film, the term cinematic zombie was typically reserved for a sort of voodoo-induced-hypnosis. You can watch films like White Zombie or I Walked with a Zombie for reference. What Romero did in The Night of the Living Dead is create an entirely new monster: a reanimated corpse with a hunger for human flesh. In fact, the term zombie is never used in the film. Rather, the monsters are referred to mostly as murderers, cannibals, ghouls or ‘those things.’ Moreover, these zombies are smart. The use weapons, open doors and cut power lines. They are proto-zombies.
Oh and they were most likely created through exposure to radiation from Venus. Whatever.
But the movie itself is also interesting to watch. The film is claustrophobic, grounded and steeped in mistrust. All of the characters, who have found themselves trapped in a house, struggle to work together. Heightening the drama is the unsaid racial tension between the film’s resourceful hero Ben and the white Harry who tries to wrestle power from him. Now I’ve heard that the script was not written with a black protagonist in mind, but the underlying power struggle between these two men serves as a fantastic microcosm for the issue of race in 1960’s America.
There’s a lot to say about this relatively short film but what I really want to say is that you should see it. For anyone who is interested in the history of cinema (or zombies), this is oddly enough an important chapter. Check it out!
So did our beer crash this zombie party? Not at all! Clown Shoes’ Undead Party Crasher was actually the perfect accompaniment to our evening. This Imperial Stout pours jet black with a thin, brown head. Off the nose you’ll get tons of roasted malt backed up some of that 10% ABV booziness. When you sip, you’ll get a quick flash of roasted malt and chocolate with a hint of sweetness. All of those flavors dissipated quickly into smooth, light carbonation with an alcoholic finish. For an Imperial stout, the beer is not nearly as heavy as you would expect, which makes it easier to drink. Especially considering the high ABV. Definitely a winner from Massachusetts brewer Clown Shoes.
So there you have it, Drinkers! A night of great beer and the undead! I’m really happy with how this pairing turned out. We had a great, easy sipping but complex beer to go with an engaging and fun cult-classic. Thanks as always for reading and don’t hesitate to suggest beers or movies you want to see me pair.
And as always keep drinking, my friends!
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Clown Shoes’ Undead Party Crasher Imperial Stout:
-Jet black pour
-Huge roasty aroma & taste
The Night of the Living Dead
-The original zombie movie
-Slow burning intensity
-Interesting racial politics