Friday, September 28, 2012

Native Vampires: From Dusk Till Dawn

Everyone horror fan out there knows the Native connection in this vampire action romp...not introduction necessary!

Now  this looks like something on the side of a van in LA!  Awesome.

Imprint (2009)

Produced by Cheyenne/Arapaho filmmaker Chris Eyre, the story revolves around a native female attorney who is embroiled in a very controversial prosecution for murder of a Lakota young man, when she learns that her father is dying and she returns to her reservation for the first time in a long time.  Weird things begin to happen and, being the eminently practical person that she is, she dismisses them.  That is, until they start to throw some light on the mystery of what happened to her brother, who has been missing for two years.  Native or not, I am a true sucka for a ghost story!  Besides this stars the multi-talented Tonantzin Carmello.

Theme Recipe: Jicama Sunchoke Salad With Honey Mustard Dressing

In her important native cookbook Enduring Harvests, E. Barrie Kavasch fashions recipes around important Native events year round.  She does not forget that the last Friday of September had been designated as "Native American Day" and presents two recipes for celebrating the occasion; this is one of them.  While I've made this before, and can seriously recommend it, we're not having any today...instead it Chili made with homemade mild chili powder.   

Both jicama and sunchokes, as she prefers to call them, are native to the New World, but while one was a solid staple of natives in North America and the coasts of South America (sunchoke), the Jicama was not known much north of the Valley of Mexico, so it's pretty unlikely that they were served together in any fashion....but this is a great idea!  The salad also sports beans for protein.  Additionally, the dressing is great on any salad, and I've been known to make some and keep in the fridge for green salads--it's so much better than any bottled or jarred dressing that passes for Honey Mustard!

Jicama-Sunchoke Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

1 Jicama, peeled and julienned
2 cups unpeeled sunchokes, thinly sliced (note:  keep these 
   citrus water to keep them from turning dark)
1 1/2 cups red kidney or cranberry beans, cooked
1 large bunch watercress, (very) coarsely chopped (my 
   note:  I don't chop at all)
1 (small) bunch fresh mustard greens, coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, ditto
1 red bell pepper, ditto
6 green onions (scallions), chopped

For The Honey Mustard Dressing:

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup (raw) honey
1/2 cup Dijon style mustard (or use what you like!)
3 cloves garlic, finely diced or minced
1 cup sunflower oi (or other native oil)
3 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely minced
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh dill, minced
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste.

General directions are really simple.

1.  Mix all salad dressing ingredients together and whisk well (this also can be put in a bottle....the shake the hell out of it.)

2.  Toss all salad ingredients together and add the dressing and toss well again and let marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.  Ms. Kavasch mentions that it is much better the next day, in which case, keep it in the refrigerator.

I just happened across this, I think it's awesome...I've always wanted to be able to carve melons. I really suck at it!

Wendigo (2002)

This is one that I have managed not to see in the ten years since it was made, and never realized that it starred Medium co-star Jake Weber.  

Native Take On Werewolves: Skinwalkers (2006)

Usually a skinwalker is a shapeshifting witch of the southwest, particualary the Navajo Dineh, but as a theme on the more generalized native belief in "shifting" which shows up in movies set all over America, from New York to the Dakotas, this takes on werewolves as native shapeshifting, after being cursed (with a bite of course), a la Wendigo style.  Of course, by this time, people of all walks now living in the New World have been exposed to this curse.  As I've pointed out before, it does have some native actors; I mentioned Tom Jackson, I did not mention the lead role of Varek, assayed by Jason Behr, who is part Ojibwe.

Kolchak: Bad Medicine

Well Kolchak is up to it again, this time with a southwestern evil shaman spirit called a "diablero."  I know a lot of people think this one a made up boogey man, especially for the show, but Kolchak's stories were always built around real myths, monsters and what the hell is it?  Well, it's actually a Sonoran native term from northern Mexico and applies to a "black sorcoeror"--it's basically a Pima Skinwalker...

Ancient Evil: Scream Of The Mummy (1999)

Forget the Egyptian pyramids in the background of the poster...this is the Aztec know, they one that never existed.  It's a cheap remake of the classic 1957 The Aztec Mummy (AKA La momia azteca).

Theme Recipe: Fried Corn Beef Hash ala Rube

From last week's TV binge.  Rube has to mark Angus Cook for the big one...meanwhile, he wants his corn beef hash done "right;" and my Rube standards, that means crispy with an egg on top.  Rube's order shows a fried egg at first, but...Cook, who just won't pass over after the big one, scolds Rube who has taken over as fry cook at Der Waffle Haus, as to how to properly poach an egg.  Each egg that is over done, he tells Rube, is like a fallen soldier...  Well corned beef hash it turns out is often served in fried cakes.  Here's a recipe that uses real corned beef (I really, really hate the canned stuff!  RIP to my father, who LOVED it!).

Most hash is a mish-mash of left over meat and potatoes.  My husband is from New England and no-one, but no-one does breakfast hash like he does!  Of course, to have "Corned Beef Hash" you have to have corned beef.   I like to make stuff like this out of left over real corned beef, since the deli stuff is sliced so thin; but the deli meat will work as well.  Although these can easily be jazzed up with herbs and spices, the basic recipe is a simple meat and potatoes fare.

1 medium potato, boiled or microwaved until just done (not mushy)
2 cups chopped or shredded corned beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. oil
Salt and fresh pepper to taste (take it easy on the salt, corned beef is already salty)
1 tsp. flour
1 egg, beaten
More oil for frying

1.  Heat oil and saute the onion until translucent.  Meanwhile, chop the potato into small cubes and set aside.

2.  Transfer the onion to a mixing bowl, add in the corned beef, potatoes, some salt and plenty of fresh ground pepper and mix.

3.  Sprinkle in the flour and mix, pour in the egg and mix to combine completely.  Heat oil in a heavy skillet and then shape the mixture into cakes the size of a sausage patty, fry each until crisp on the outside, and moist on the inside, just the way Rube likes it!  Top with a fried egg or poached egg and serve.


Again, the basic recipe is just that:  basic.  So there are a number of variations on this, the first being the spicing of the cakes.  Any spices that you like can go in.  Nutmeg or mace are good additions.  Cumin and/or ground coriander are also very good.  Additionally, spice up with Cayenne or other chili powders or mustard powder (or whole grain mustard).  Even curry powder provides a good change.

Herbs make a great addition.  Fresh cilantro or parsley are good, as are fresh chives.  Dried oregano, rosemary, marjoram, or powdered bay all work--so does basil.  

Some recipes include leftover mashed potatoes instead of potato cubes.  You can vary the kind of potato used as well....I'm sure they would look pretty funky with blue potatoes!  Also, the type of onion can be varied, red onion or green onions are good changes.

These can be served as an appetizer, with some sort of sauce or fruit preserve or chutney.  Or they can be served as a vegetable side dish at a meal other than breakfast.  They go great with any green vegetable.  

Add extra stuff, like chopped sweet or hot peppers, chopped carrots or celery,  or greens that "bite" like mustard greens.

The starch can be changes out.  Use cassava or yuca or boniato or sweet potatoes.  True yams can also be used.

Make them smaller and use as a base for Hors d'oeuvres, like a cracker.

Supernatural: Wendigo

I've written about this Supernatural episode before, suffice to say that the Wendigo is one of the "big ones" of Native American "booger stories."  It's a cannibalistic human turned into a real and horrible monster!  Think of it as part shapeshifter, like a werewolf, and combine that with a Romero like zombie! Nasty.  Full episode below, please excuse the Greek subtitles, that is unless you're Greek!  More about this beast later!

A Wendigo rendition in B.P.R.D. comic

Supernatural 1x02 - Wendigo from Godfather-Netnews on Vimeo.

Track Of The Moon Beast

This is a real underground classic!  It's pretty close to being infamous.  The action takes place in and around the Navajo reservation, but the "tribe" is not actually named.  Two moments in the film stand out for most, one is the stew recipe, which I included as last year's Native themed recipe for the day (and yes, I've actually prepared it...I'm that crazy for older schlock!); and, two, that damn song "California Lady!"  There is some mumbo-jumbo about Native American legends to do with lizards and then there is the meteor that just conveniently is dropping into the area...just in time to turn "a pale eyes" into a bipedal lizard creature, complete with special make by Rick Baker!

Below is the first part of the film from Mystery Science Theater 3000--hilarious!

Creepshow II: Ol' Chief Wooden Head

Featuring Geroge Kennedy as a pawn shop owner in a dusty western town that serves, mostly, the local "Indian" population.  One day an older Native man shows up wishing to trade some extremely valuable and apparently sacred native jewlerey, his nephew, seriously over played by Holt McCallay with a rediculous wig on, with some friends to steal back the jewelery, with the idea that he could sell them to further some dream of an acting career in Hollywood...the catch is that the shop owner as this wooden cigar Indian that comes to life with the spirit of the tribe and has some other stuff in mind for for the rebellious and violent youngsters....  It's super silly, I know, but the segment does at least contain some actual natives in role, the princple of which is Frank Salsedo, who has done some memorable movie work and would later show up on Angel.

Happy Native American Day! Beast From Haunted Cave

This is a classic B-movie Creature Feature from the 1950's.  Why am I including it on a Friday featuring Native American horrors, well it's supposed to be a bonafide spider like monster (not created by atomic radiation) living in a cave in the Dakotas.  Although it is not a monster mentioned in any actual Native lore, like the Wendigo or Inuas, it is clearly meant to be a Native beast that white people know nothing about...hence it gets it's meals "cheap."  Problem is, that apparently the local native population is pretty ignorant of it as well, since it's first victim is a native girl who works in the local bar.  There is another character, Small Dove, who is identified as being possibly Ojibwe (Anishinabe) who is not a credited role, who is a housekeeper and cook at a ski lodge.  One bit of funny trivia, the guy who plays the bartender, long time soap opera actor Chris Robinson, who asks after the native girl, also plays the creature itself who is seen sucking her blood later on.  This is the sort of monster film that the late great Frank Zappa loved!  You know the proverbial "inverted ice cream cone" that the girl obligingly twists her ankle for.