As you might already know from reading my review of the December 2018 issue of Weng‘s Chop cinema megazine, I am a big fan of this publication and I am awaiting the announcement of any new issue with passion.
But there was a time I haven‘t been aware of it. Can you believe it? Yes, as I haven‘t got into movie collecting and actually LOVING to watch movies until about 2014, obviously, I was kinda dumb regarding the movie magazines. Of course, I knew UK publications Empire or SFX, even Darkside, but I haven‘t bought them at all. Yeah, I was your totally typical movie watcher.
I can‘t really remember what was the impulse of me getting into the collecting and learning about movies one doesn‘t usually watch/know… and long story short, one day I‘ve started to check movie magazines.
By then, unfortunately, many of the great fanzines were gone, the US produced zines were becoming more expensive to get (thanks to ever-increasing postage rates), but there were (and still are) available some great reference books and zine compendiums on Amazon, so I‘ve readily bought some of those (but I still need to buy more of those). And then it happened.
For some strange reason I‘ve researched the availability of Jess Franco‘s movies (again, don‘t ask, I don‘t remember why) and I‘ve happened to find issue #3 of Weng‘s Chop magazine with great Spanish auteur on the cover (for completists I have to add this issue has 3!!!! different covers). But I‘ve bought issue #4 as the first one, simply because of the page/price ratio was better. Well, one has to be clever nowadays…
After checking the issue #4 it was decided. I‘ve continually bought all the previous issues (and all of those which followed since) and I‘ve decided it would be a great idea to present these issues in more detail.
So, today, let‘s have a look at issue, which has started it all. Issue #0.
Mere 52 small pages and the 2 pages of cover. How funny does it look now compared to the latest issue. But even with the inaugural issue, there was, and still is, so much to munch on, and I can assure you I am going back to those back issues quite regularly.
This issue was the labour of love of two well know personalities in the exploitation cinema publishing world. Brian Harris of Wildside Cinema and Tim Paxton of Monster! And Highball magazine. OK, now I am trying to pass myself as a wise-ass, lol, although I am sure I‘ve seen Brian‘s website when it was still online, I haven‘t a clue about who Tim Paxton was. As Kurt would have it – Nevermind.
Also contributing were few other writers: independent film-maker Bennie Woodell, veteran exploitation journalist Dan Taylor (Exploitation Retrospect), another well-known author and connosieur David Zuzelo (Tomb It May Concern), author Jason Meredith (Cinezilla), musician Joachim Anderson, writer Mike Haushalter, indie film-maker Phillip Escott, writer and editor Betsy Burger, illustrator Amber Skowronski and comics creator David Barnes. As you can see, the diversity of opinions is secured – and also the guarantee you will read about very varied stuff.
On page 3 is quite an important article by Brian Harris, entitled „Is Exploitation Cinema right for me?“ and I think this should be a mandatory introduction to any newbies trying to sneak themselves into the dark underworld of exploitation cinema. Luckily, the term „exploitation cinema“ encompasses a helluva genres, so if you don‘t like, say, sexploitation/softcore/hardcore cinema, you can still be an exploitation fan. Believe me, I‘m with you in it. 🙂
Pages 4-21 contain various reviews of movies, and when I first read it, I hardly know a title or two of those. Anno 2053-La Grande Fuga? Not a clue. Black Demons? Same. But with every review, even for the totally bad-bad movie I‘ve wanted to see them!!! Over the years I‘ve seen some of them, and some I just can‘t be bothered, lol.
Pages 22-23 are devoted to movies in Emanuelle series with Laura Gemser in an article by Mike Haushalter, entitled My Sweet Emanuelle: The Classic Exploitation Series Encapsulated.
Pages 24-29 are occupied by Brian Harris‘ interview with James Bickert, the director of DEAR GOD NO!
Pages 30-35 are then reserved for a great article by Bennie Woodell about the director Chang Cheh, entitled An Auteur of Violence and Brotherhood.
Bo Arne Vibenius and his movie Breaking Point is discussed by David Zuzelo on pages 36-39, followed by an article by Jason Meredith about Pinku director Hisayasu Satō entitled „The Pink Beyond“ on pages 40-42.
The rest of the issue, pages 43-52 are dominated by absolutely fantastic article of Tim Paxton about Indian horror movies (to be more precise, monster movies). If for nothing else, this article is the most important reason you want to own this issue.
No more words necessary, head over Amazon and get it.
Words of caution: Reading of Weng‘s Chop causes an urge to spend money on movies. A lot of money on lot of movies. You‘ve been warned! 🙂
As a special add-on, I have asked a few contributors to this issue of WCH about how they‘ve got involved with WCH and here are some answers:
Jason Meredith: „I came to know Brian basically through the power of the blog-scene as he was a reader of my blog (Cinezilla) and I a reader of his (totally blanked in my head right now, could it have been Gimp?). It’s still Amazing the power that the net had to build bridges between countries and nations and fans of obscure oddities, as far appart as can be. That’s the net on a good day for you.
So when Brian asked if anyone would be up for for submitting stuff, as he was intending to start up a print mag (Weng’s Chop) I replied that I’d love to do a few pieces. I can’t recall what they where appart from the Iconography of Hisayasu Sato whom I was watching a lot of at the time. Then life, and the eternal puzzle of creating time for everything one want’s to do and focus on, kinda got in the way and I unfortunately haven’t gotten around to submitting anything for the future issues. But I’ve stood patiently in the shadows watching the mag grow to the phenomenon it’s become. I’ve actually seen the pub on stalls at fairs and conventions in the UK and Germany and taken pride in the few entries I had in issue #0.“
Mike Haushalter: „I met Brian Harris on Facebook, becoming friends with him and the Weng’s Chop team on a now defunct group site called Wildside. It was devoted to horror and cult films and I believe it was while part of this group that I first learned about Weng’s Chop. In the early 2000s I had help run a website called Secret Scroll Digest that reviewed genre films after we got it off the ground we began publishing a small press zine of the same name. Due to job changes and such Secret Scroll Digest went dormant in the mid 2000s and in 2007 or so I began writing reviews for a magazine called Sirens of Cinema. When Brian told me about starting up Weng’s Chop I had not written in some time and thought it would be fun to get back into the swing of things. I put together some reviews of the Black Emmanuelle films, Zombie 4 After Death and a pair of reviews on one of my favorite drive in double features–I Drink Your Blood and I Eat Your Skin. Since issue 0 I have written for the magazine on and off again for a number of issues. My favorite contribution to the magazine so far is helping to put together the super beach movies article for issue 6. I currently have a regular column in Exploitation Nation and contribute to a number of other zines including Drive In Asylum and Grindhouse Purgatory.“
David Zuzelo: „Hi there! I worked with both Brian and Tim before Weng’s Chop appeared on a chapbook releas via Indie Gods publishing. Both are friends abd great guys!“
Get it on Amazon.