The Enchanted Vinous Collective: Spooky Wines and Halloween Wisdom With Jorge Garcia and Kevin Keaveney

In Part I of the Enchanted Vinous Collective, I recommended a few bargain spooky wines to bring to your Halloween party that will simultaneously keep you in theme and a few extra dollars in your pocket. Win-Win. On certain occasions, however, you may require a high quality vino for your All Hallows’ Eve exploits. Perhaps you are attending a party hosted by your sommelier and oenophilic friend. In that case, a bargain wine just won’t impress. Or perhaps you prefer to indulge at home with a glass of wine and your favorite cinematic Halloween horror. We have you covered.

To inject qualified expertise into the Halloween dialogue, I sit down with Kevin Keaveney and Jorge Garcia (LOST, Hawaii Five-O), two consummate Halloween super fans and masterminds behind Skeleton Key Hawaii’s unparalleled haunt experience, Mummy: Curse of the Crypt. We sample a few spooky wines from the top shelf while discussing Halloween movies, music and events that are certain satisfy your ghoulish proclivities. Need some inspiration and recommendations for all things Halloween? We have it.

The Lineup

First, an introduction to the enchanted vinous collective, sampled by our esteemed crew.

2014 Orin Swift Cellars Palermo Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2014 Orin Swift Palermo is a classic Napa Valley fruit-forward Cabernet with aromas and flavors of blackberry, blueberry, and black currant, accented by dark chocolate and tobacco. Medium to full-bodied with firm tannins and a long finish. The unanimous pick for best label art and Jorge’s preferred selection, but only after the wine had sufficient time to decant.

Owen Roe 2014 Sinister Hand

A product of Yakima Valley, a rising-star region out of eastern Washington, this Rhône Valley style blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault gives pleasant aromas of ripe raspberries, cherries and strawberries, with hints of orange rind and subtle spice. Medium-bodied with elegant tannins and a very satisfying finish. Kevin’s favorite choice on the evening. I am inclined to agree, but that is probably unsurprising given my affinity for Rhône Valley.

2013 Bootleg Napa Valley Red Wine

This proprietary red blend consists of 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Petite Syrah, 21% Zinfandel, 12% Merlot, and tiny percentages of Malbec and Petite Verdot. The nose is treated to blackberries and blueberries, herbs, and licorice with some subtle coffee notes. In an epic year for Napa Valley, this wine doesn’t disappoint.

The Skeleton Key Hawaii esteemed crew and tasting panel

Eerily Dressed for the Occasion

A proper Halloween discussion must commence with costumes. After all, it is a holiday that uniquely permits adults to walk around in public spaces dressed as Star Wars characters, minions and superheroes, among other things. Dressing in costume is a mechanism by which one is able to experience the [pseudo] reality of someone, or something, entirely different. Halloween legitimizes that mechanism, at least for one night per year. And actors in particular take full advantage of the opportunity. Kevin and Jorge are no exception.

Macabre Mummy photos courtesy of Skeleton Key Hawaii.

For as long has he can recall, Jorge loved Halloween costumes. Each year is a challenge to top the previous, with better, more intricate costumes and ideas. One of Jorge’s favorite costumes from our chat was his bearded beekeeper, with hundreds of bees housed in his glorious and permissively wild beard. Unable to locate adequate fake bees up to standard, the alternative plan was to procure hundreds of plastic black flies. Jorge then painstakingly painting each fly yellow and added other elements, such as hair, to create the desired level of authenticity in his bearded beehive. Jorge’s diligence and dedication to costuming was on full display. This artistic skill and attention to detail shines through once again in Mummy: Curse of the Crypt. Why make one Halloween costume when you can instead create an entire labyrinth of horror?!

For Kevin, the most memorable costume came in fourth grade when he dressed as a television set. Recording his favorite television theme songs (a fitting tribute to the best of the 1970s, including CHiPS, The Love Boat, Three's Company and Battlestar Galactica) and diligently sketching scenes from each, Kevin concocted a method to change shows on his screen, complete with theme songs playing from his cassette recorder. Much rigorous discussion ensued in attempt to ascertain precisely how this costume was structured to permit channel surfing. Sadly, that costuming detail is lost to history. What is now evident, however, is that the costume was a harbinger of extraordinary television dedication, as Kevin would go on to hold the Guinness Book of World Records for most consecutive hours of television watched. I promise, dad, the college tuition was worth the investment. Sadly, Kevin has been dethroned.

The Egypt-Kailua Cryptic Convergence

As Kevin and Jorge can both attest, pay attention to detail when it comes to costume design. What sets apart a good costume from epic one is originality, creativity and detail. Make sure each bee is painted, each television show sketched, each mummy sufficiently gruesome.

Skeleton Key Hawaii’s Harrowing Halloween Playlist

Whether you intend to stay home and greet trick-or-treaters or head out to an inebriating extravaganza, a themed soundtrack is necessary. Christmas music can wait for a few more months. On this night, the macabre ensemble takes center stage. Not familiar with many spooky tunes? Fear not; Kevin and Jorge have devised a cacophony of horror that befits any bedeviled occasion.

The A-Side

1. Mr. Ghost Goes to Town, The 5 Jones Boys

2. Goo Goo Muck, Ronnie Cook and The Gaylads

3. Lookout Mountain, Chuck Miller

4. Red Right Hand, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

5. Castin’ My Spell, Johnny Otis

6. Ghost in the Graveyard, The Prairie Ramblers

7. Punky Punkin, Rosemary Clooney

8. Monsters Lead Such Interesting Lives, Mel Torme

9. Spooky Scary Skeletons, Andrew Gold

10. The Blob Theme Song

Halloween in Hollywood

Halloween and horror movies have naturally been longstanding companions. All Hallows’ Eve is the perfect occasion to turn out the lights and indulge in some buttery popcorn and unbridled fear. The genre is diverse and multifaceted, and can be a fascinating study of what a culture fears, and how those fears evolve over time. From monsters to slashers, haunted houses to psychological thrillers, there is something for everyone. 

The Haunting (1963)

For Jorge, any discussion of Halloween movies must begin with Robert Wise's 1963 masterpiece, The Haunting. To prove the existence of paranormal activity, Dr. Markway investigates Hill House, a dark and mysterious mansion with a horrifying history of insanity and violence. Whatever walked there, walked alone. As the companions investigate the grounds, it is quickly ascertained that they may receive more than even Dr. Markway could have suspected.

Curse of the Crypt. Be afraid; be very afraid.

The brilliance of The Haunting lies in its psychological terror; an unsettling journey through an intricately detailed manor filled with looming shadows and frightful sounds. The unequivocal star of the thriller is the ominous wood and stone of Hill House. Filmed in black and white, the filmography techniques and geometry of the house produce a beautiful, pronounced contrast of black and white, with dark foreboding shadows and light that gives prominence to the tormented faces of the house’s victims. Much is left to the imagination, which is prone wander to the darkest recesses of the mind. This movie is cinematic delight that exemplifies this genre of psychological thriller.

The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

Kevin was quick to proffer another cult classic, William Alland’s 1954 jewel, The Creature from the Black Lagoon. While searching for fossils along the Amazon River, a scientific expedition (comprised of sci-fi pillars Richard Carlson, Witt Bissell, Richard Denning and Julie Adams) discovers an ancient survivor in the legendary Black Lagoon. Thought to be an early remnant of the Pleistocene Period still possessing amphibious traits, this was considered a critical missing link in the human evolutionary chain, and worthy of scientific observation. I fully appreciate the wonkish attempt at scientific reasonableness. Just don’t pontificate too significantly on the subject; it is a science fiction movie, after all.

Possessing greater intelligence than initially anticipated, the Creature frustrates the team’s capture attempts, and eventually inverts the chase by preventing the crew’s escape routes from the Lagoon. Hunter becomes hunted. Trapped, the team must find a way to survive.

Kevin explains that one of the distinguishing characteristics of Creature from the Black Lagoon is its heartbreaking love story. Although the Monster-Loves-the-Blonde-Damsel (a la King Kong) is not a new concept, this plot presents it artfully and uniquely. As a vestige of our evolutionary past, the Creature is a complex and conflicting composition of savage instinct and human emotion. Underwater is where the narrative is best portrayed. The movie plays upon an elementary human fear of what lurks below the surface. In the dark abyss, the Creature waits patiently. Yet underwater we also observe a graceful, almost sensual synchronized swimming sequence that is full of desire, longing and wonder. It is in this love story that the dichotomy between human and horror is best expressed. 

Mad Monster Party (1967)

Jorge’s final recommendation ensures that kids of all ages are invited to the pictorial party. The 1967 stop-motion animation film, Mad Monster Party, is a wonderful and playful parody of the horror film genre. Dr. Baron von Frankenstein, leader of the World Organization of Monsters, has made his greatest discovery - a method to dematerialize matter. With this invention as the culmination of his illustrious evil career, Dr. Frankenstein convenes a convention of villainous notables, such as Dracula, the Mummy, Werewolf, the Invisible Man and Dr. Jekyll, on the Caribbean Isle of Evil where he intends to announce his retirement and name a successor. As rumor spreads that Dr. Frankenstein’s only living relative, Felix Flanken, a wholly unevil pharmacist and store clerk, will be chosen, the enraged guests plot a coup d’état. May the most evil miscreant prevail!

The film is rich and colorful, with dark earth tones in the background that accentuate the vibrant villains. The soundtrack is lively and fun, maintaining a mild mood throughout. Although its rigid movements divulge its age, this is nonetheless an impressive animation for its time that children and adults alike are still certain to enjoy.

The Quintessential Haunt Experience - Mummy: Curse of the Crypt

While music and movies are terrific, Halloween is often best spent outside and in community. Trick or treating, Halloween paloozas, or an authentic, creepy haunted house best epitomize the Halloween experience. This year, Kevin and Jorge have laboriously put together an absolutely brilliant haunted house that should not be missed.

An archeological expedition has excavated an Egyptian crypt long forgotten by time. Harboring an ancient world of myth and monsters, the archaeological exploration unwittingly unleashed a cryptic terror with deadly repercussions. The hieroglyphic malediction etched onto the tomb of King Tutankhamen is a truthful portent: “Death will slay with his wings whoever disturbs the peace of the Pharaoh.” Death inevitably ensued.

Navigate through the dark and winding tunnels in search of survivors, all the while cautious of mummies and creatures writhing in every aphotic corner and around every bend. Can you survive the Mummy's Curse?

Jorge is a master prop builder. His attention to detail is one of the most distinguishable aspects of this haunt, making it an exquisite, professional theatrical experience. Jorge and company hand-crafted most of the props themselves, and in every spare moment away from work were diligently painting tombs and hieroglyphs, wrapping mummies, carving massive sarcophagi, and conjuring other lurid decor. Antiquated photographs and video Jorge digitally created establish the backstory of the old archeological site in thrilling fashion.

The team at Skeleton Key Hawaii has really produced a tremendous event. If you are on Oahu, this is truly an evening not to be missed. Revenues from the haunt will be used to help fund Kailua OnStage Arts, a community theatre group Kevin is launching next year. Be frightened, for a good cause.

Cheers to Jorge and Kevin for sharing their collective Halloween wisdom over a few glasses of spooky wine. A timorously good time!

Next week, I conclude my Halloween trilogy with some tips and recommendations for pairing Halloween candy. You will soon have an abundance; put it to good use!


See for yourself why Jorge recommends Mad Monster Party! Sign up for my eMusings by the end of October to be automatically entered in a drawing for a chance to WIN DVD OF MAD MONSTER PARTY! Drawing will be October 31st. Already signed up for eMusings? You can win too! Just comment on this post below!