Meals for Monsters: TENDERNESS OF THE WOLVES (1973)
Review and Recipes by Jenny Orosel
It’s not often a horror movie can truly state that it’s “based on a true story.” But when you have a movie based on the most notorious homosexual-pedophile-cannibal-serial killer out of Germany, it’s easy to claim that moniker. TENDERNESS OF THE WOLVES (1973) could give any of the slashers from that era a run for their money. But this one is extra creepy, knowing the events shown actually happened.
Fritz Haarmann, a small-time criminal, is made an undercover inspector by the German police, hoping his contacts will give them an in with the criminal underworld. Instead, Fritz uses his position of power to seduce young men and boys, more often than not killing, dismembering, and eating his victims. What he cannot eat himself, Fritz sells as black-market pork. Some of the most disturbing moments of the movie comes when Fritz hosts a dinner party and his guests gush and compliment him on the quality of his pork dishes, savoring every bite. With scenes like that, it was screaming for a “Meals for Monsters” treatment.
Fritz would often visit the local bar for to sell some pork and maybe indulge in a schnapps. Straight schnapps, though, can be a little harsh, and you’ll get enough harshness with the movie. Hence:
Mix equal parts club soda, cherry juice and grape juice. Mix in a shot of apple schnapps (or two, if you think you’ll need it to get through the movie). Enjoy!
To not have a pork recipe in here would be like Willy Wonka without the chocolate.
GERMAN BEER-BRAISED PORK RIBS
2 slabs spare ribs
1 large bottle of German beer
6 cloves garlic, whole
3 tablespoons dried rosemary
3 tablespoons sage
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the ribs into batches with four or five ribs apiece. Put them into a roasting pan with the beer, garlic and herbs. Cover tightly, and put in a 300 degree oven for two hours. Note—after the braising, I would recommend putting the ribs under the broiler for a couple minutes on each side. It’s not necessary, but it gives the outside a nice bit of crust. Also, they’re great served with roasted potatoes. Fingerling potatoes are great, if just for the look on the plate.
For dessert, I’ve adapted a traditional German butter cake and added some apples. This is a bit time-intensive, so, if you don’t feel like waiting, you can always have a second Schnapps Punch for dessert (or a third, if you really need it to stomach eating ribs during a cannibal movie).
BUTTERKUCHEN WITH APPLES
4 cups flour
1 pkg instant yeast
1cups warm milk
1 ¾ cup sugar, with 1/4cup set aside
10 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 small apple, diced
Put the flour in a mixing bowl, with a small well scooped in the middle. Inside, place yeast, milk, and a pinch of sugar. Mix together and let activate for fifteen minutes. Then add the egg, 7 tablespoons butter and 1 ½ cup sugar. Mix well (I would suggest using a stand mixer for this, if one is available). Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 30 minutes.
Start the oven preheating to 375 degrees. Flatten the dough into a greased jelly roll pan (or small, rimmed cookie sheet). Make little indentations with the tips of your fingers. Mix ¼ cup sugar and the cinnamon. Top cake with the diced apple and pinches of the remaining butter. Sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture. Allow to rest as the oven preheats.
Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until browned.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder was originally approached to direct this movie. Fassbinder, who rose to fame in Germany by making shocking films, deemed the subject matter too controversial, even for him. Instead, he produced it, hiring on one of his actors, Ulli Lommel, to direct. Rumor has it that Fassbinder is the real auteur behind TENDERNESS OF THE WOLVES. Whoever was the director isn’t important. What is important is that, as a shocking, frightening bit of cinema, it works. And while this meal might not be as masterfully prepared as Fritz’s famous dinners, at least this one won’t send you to prison.
© Copyright 2012 by Jenny Orosel