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Weng’s Chop #5 (magazine review)

Heeeey, have you finished reading the first Spooktacular issue 4.5 of this great cinema megazine? I sure as hell have given you some time to do so since my review of it. Yeah, time flies.

We’ve got to experience the “mega” starting with the issue we’re gonna review, the “what-the-hell-is-that” issue #5. And to imitate Ripley – believe it or not, it’s worth every last piece of your currency accepted by either WK Books or Amazon. It’s that good.

But sure, one shouldn’t just take my word for it, right? Right! Therefore, let’s see what goodies wait for you in it.

I got the variant cover B, which presents a nice illustration by Jolyon Yates for the arcticle “Jungle Ladies Gone Wild” and it’s really beautiful.

Of course, by the time you’re gonna explore the issue in your hands you’ve already noticed it was not a mere magazine anymore, yes, you can witness the transformation into the megazine straight here. 265 large pages, that’s book, not a magazine!

I have to say editorials are usually among the last texts I usually read, but with WCH I always make an exception, as I am genuinely interested what Tim, Brian and Tony have to say. Not saying it to brown-nose the guys, but I think a lot of editors can take notice. I’ll spell it for you – if you connect with your readership, people do care. Capiche? I know you do.

“Articles” section belongs to Steve Fenton and the part One of his amazing article about aforementioned “Jungle Ladies Gone Wild” under the title “Jiggle in the Jungle (Part One)” and with it’s supplement it takes breath-taking 22 long pages (pages 4-26). And remember, that’s only the first part! I became interested in those movies just reading about them, and that’s just the proof you need about the quality of the material presented. I am pretty convinced I’ve said it before, but with reference books/mags like this one, you’re gonna find the love for movies you hadn’t even known they existed (unless you are like some of my friends, then it doesn’t apply, but it’s their loss).

Pages 27-31 belong to Dan Taylor’s experience with Exhumed Films‘ 24 Hours Horrorthon (it’s the 2013 Horrorthon) and I agree with him the guessing game of the titles (of course, I wouldn’t attempt it myself, as I would suck badly) is exciting! But I’d like to experience such an event, alas, I am kinda short-changed for the trip to the good ole US of A.

32-73 is a mega-section (another, “mega”, yes) dedicated to Pollygrind 2013 and I remember I was leaving this one for the last. There’s a shitloads of information, movies I will probably never watch (not that I don’t want to), but such a festival is every movie junkie’s wet dream. And not to forget, let’s give credit where it’s due, this mamooth piece comes from the pen of Tony Strauss!

And that’s not the last report from the movie fest, as the next (and the last) one is Steven Ronquillo’s piece on 2013 Knoxville Horror Fest. It‘s funny when you imagine I am writing this lines in 2020…7 long years after that and this stuff is still interesting – and I’d argue, still valid. Also, it reminds me to go back to stuff I wanted to get and watch, but for some reason or another I’ve forgotten about it.

78-85…what do you think you can read in these pages? Well, I am not gonna keep you hangin’ on (unless you’re Kim Wilde fan), and I’ll tell you it’s the one and only Brian Harris writing about hopping vampires. Readers of the Rubber Axe will remember the review of Kung Fu Vampire, although for some reason they were referred to as zombies, but you’ve got the picture. Brian here reviews Ricky Lau’s 5 movies’ series about hopping vampires, called Jiangshi – Mr. Vampire, Mr. Vampire 1992 (a.k.a. Chinese Vampire Story), Mr. Vampire II, Mr. Vampire 3 and Mr. Vampire Saga. Now that’s something you don’t see everyday…are you still here? I’ve thought you’d already bought your copy….damn, I need to go on then! OK, OK!

Do I need to pretend we stop short of discussing the adult cinema? I could do so, but luckily we are all adults here and if done right, you can read stuff like James Bickert’s short take on The Devil’s Ecstasy without feeling dirty (but you can watch it, if you miss the feeling). Not that I will, but to each their own.

Phillip Escott’s input “Thrift Shopping” is a welcome addition to Brian Harris’ adventure in bargain basement buys and there are not many sections of WCH I read with the most interest (you know I’m lying, right? I read and re-read every copy with the undying interest). But still, yes, I’d say these bargain buys are fun not only because of the atrocities you can find, but also, for a budding cinema enthusiast, it provides a surefire way to get some – albeit indeed trashy – little items to start with. And let’s not shit on those movies (at least, not too much)! Some of them are nice in their own way – and I’d prefer many of them before some artsy farty would-be serious high-brow cinema. Yes, I’ve said it. Right here! And not to mention, they indeed cost almost cents or pennies…which – in my book – spells “priceless”, if you ask me.

Pages 90-92 are dedicated to the discussion about the restoration of one of the movies described as “the worst movies ever made” – Manos: The Hands of Fate. I will admit I haven’t seen this legendary movie (well, not yet), but I have to say I am glad for a lot of old movies getting restored and being brought back for a modern audience to enjoy. Yes, even the trashy, “WTF I’ve just watched” variety of movies. You know what they say…one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. For me, I appreciate such efforts, there’s no doubt about that.

Next sections are a dividing line for many. Why, you ask? Well, first, pages 93 to 97 contain Steve Fenton’s article about Filippino vigilante flicks (among those The One Armed Executioner, just to mention probably the most known one from the lot here). As for the aforementioned dividing line – many such movies are without English dubbing (which is not that problematic, I’d say, those cinema junkies reading publications as WCH are accustomed to it), but most of the times even without subtitles (and that might pose a problem now). Yes, you know, if you really want to see some movie, you’re gonna watch whatever you can get, in some cases you’re lucky to even get unsubbed/undubbed copy in any watchable quality. But I am pretty sure that for more mainstream oriented public this would be really a deal-breaker. People got accustomed to first-class handling of their cinema diet, which is OK, sure…but they might really miss on some gems.

And I’d say Filipino or other Asian are still more available in dubbed or subbed form, than cinematic pieces from yet another exotic country – Turkey. Despite having tremendous cinema, we’re not really accustomed to watch Turkish movies or TV series, except for those brought to our collective concience by Onar Films or bits here or there. But once seen, these movies can’t be unseen. Jeff Goodhartz in his article “When Turkish Ninja Strike!” talks about two of such movies – Son Savasçi and Ölüm Savasçisi, starring one and only Cüneyt Arkin. That’s the Turkish movie legend, if you don’t know, and thse on pages 98-100.

And we’re not done with Turkey yet, for Jared Auner, who is known, for example, for his work for Mondo Macabro film company, and on pages 101-105 brings to your attention two more Turkish movies, namely Iblis and Hamal, under the title “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia”. And, of course, as with the other articles, also this one has nice graphic material to go along with the text. Always a bonus.

Not enough? I’ve thought so – Vicky Love offers her take on the marriage of horror and science fiction in the article “For Better For Worse” with the subtitle, well, “The Marriage of Hooror and Science Fiction” (pages 106-108).

By the way, if you want to know why publications such Weng’s Chop are important, there is no better example as the piece done by Jeremy Richey titled “Where’s Ringo?!: The Saga of Johnny Wadd in film, print and popular culture”. In 5-pages long article (accompanied by the covers of the movies) those avoiding the world of adult video pictures gonna find an interesting story about John C. Holmes and hist Johnny Wadd series of movies. Sure thing, it might be not everyone’s cuppa, and I’m not gonna dispute it, it just serves as an example how the previously unknown world of underground cinema (because, that’s what it was) – and not only – from golden era of adult video is getting recognized in 21st century. The article alone is nothing short of fantastic and again, it’s an example of how to write a sensitive and non-offensive article about quite a sensitive – and for many an offensive – topic.

Seven of the Best Horror Films Shot in the State of Georgia, that’s the subtitle of the article of “Peaches, Peanuts & Cinematic Panic” by Eric Matthew Harvey, in which you’ll gonna encounter movies such as Grizzly, The Visitor and others (and if you count with me, I have left 5 titles intentionally).

No lying – I love doing interviews, I love reading interviews. Therefore the next segment here is one of my favourites, and it contains these interesting interviews:

One with with Mikhail Ilyin, the owner of the Wrong Side of the Art, which is a website containing shitloads of high resolution images of movie posters – horror, sci-fi, exploitation, cult, trash, b-movies..you’ll find it there. Absolutely fascinating viewing!!!

Another one with John Alan Schwartz, the writer-producer-director of infamous shockumentary series Faces of Death, which I guess many of readers at least heard about. Here you can learn thing or two about this gruesome docu, something you’ll probably never have guessed. Check this out!

And because third is the charm, the long (and I mean long) interview with Leon Isaac Kennedy will definitely shut any moaning mouth up. Who is he? Well, hints…Penitentiary, Penitentiary II, Lone Wolf McQuade and quite a few more should give you some insight into who Mr. Kennedy is and what movies he’s starred in. And although I might not seen all of them, I sure as hell have read this cool intie with interest. And you should too (should I really repeat myself?).

Now, next three short interviews belong to graphic artists. And although this is something one probably doesn’t think immediately about, when talking about movies, there’s no doubt the graphic art plays a vital role in the marketing of movies and other related stuff. Just see the awful state of movie posters/DVD covers nowadays…Honestly, if I am picking stuff for the covers, I will dismiss good 80 per cent of movies for their horrendous art. But I digress….Megh (the creator of “Machete Nun” variant of WCH #5), Jolyon Yates (the creator of the Jungle Girl cover of the same issue – the one I have with me) and late Bill Chancellor (the Jiangshi cover of the same issue, who, unfortunately, has died shortly after doing this short interview, R.I.P.).

Geek Roundtable is a feature of the magazine where various experts give their opinions on one particular film. This time, it’s a legendary I Spit On Your Grave, and it occupies pages 147 to 159. And even if you don’t like rape/revenge movies, this section is worth of your reading time.

Short, but one of my fave – that what I can say about Brian Harris’ “Beatdown/Heads Up” feature reviewing 4 budget boxsets from Mill Creek Entertainment. I wanted to get them before, but thanks to writing this review, I feel the fresh urge to get them now, finally. Might be not the best quality, but for the price, you’re not gonna complain. Why would you, hm?

Delving into an Asian cinema’s waters, Louis Paul introduces us to movies such as Blood Ritual, The Clones of Bruce Lee and few others (but Ninja in the Claws of the CIA is my absolute favourite). Brief and to-the-point discussion of each flick here are a delight to read and as it’s almost a rule in the WCH…you’re not only craving to see the movie discussed – you also want to get and see the movies referenced! Welcome to the world of movie junkies, lol. At least now you know why we have never enough money 🙂

Douglas Waltz continues his series about Mexican monster movies with 3rd installment of Mexican Monsters on Parade and I want to have his knowledge. Again, this is something I was not even aware of a few years ago, thanks to contributions like this one I at least have a dim knowledge of its existence. You can’t go wrong with that.

Stephen R. Bissette reviews (in a detailed review, that is) a few space themed movies. Ever heard of Rocketship X-M? 12 to the Moon? Me neither. That’s why I am re-reading it again. And if you are a fan of sci-fi movies, I have no doubt you’ll find this article fascinating as well.

Slowly, but steadily, coming to the end of this info-packed issue, we can’t finish without mentioning my total favorite column – Jeff Goodhartz’s Pimping Godfrey Ho. Enough said. Even with bad moviemaking, reading about this crazy guy’s movies is THE experience. And this is, really, no kidding, one of my favourite colums in the WCH and luckily, there are a lot of movies to write about still!!!

24 long pages. Imagine that. 24 long pages and that’s Tim Paxton’s detailed walk through the cinematic output of Kanti Shah, in yet another installment of his on-going, breath-taking series about Indian cinema. If you call yourself a movie lover, you owe it to yourself to read it. Obviously, this is a very limited area here, because majority of these movies are hard-to-find and even then without dubbing or subtitles, but still…that’s just unbelievable. But even more unbelievable is Tim’s detailed knowledge here. There’s some example for you, young ones. Go, read, weep and learn.

Exploitation has many faces, one of those is southernsploitation and although I haven’t heard the term before, it’s only logical, as Steven Ronquillo, a long time contributor to WCH will prove in his article about Moonshine Mania discussing titles like Thunder Road or White Lightning (among others).

I’ve said it before and I might repeat it here as well, another well loved colum for me is Greek VHS Mayhem by Christos Mouroukis. And well placed title, because it’s really a mayhem! What titles, what movies, what an art!!!

Pages 212-234 are reserved for movie reviews, so if you still don’t have enough to digest, here you can find some more to chew on.

The mini poll on pages 235 to 238 is a nice time capsule with many interesting and important people giving their opinion on what they considered their favourite film of 2013. That’s kinda nice to see in the retrospective and there are a few items mentioned I have missed when they were a new ones…and there’s also a few names to learn and note down as well!

The same theme continues from 240 to 249, but this time it’s WCH contributors talking about their faves in 2013. Should I repeat myself? I’ve thought so.

Print section is the last one, and it’s always a bitter experience for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read it, as I am a print publications’ fan…then you check the price – OK (unless we’re talking McFarland, their stuff is great but pricey as hell, we’re talking an arm and the leg sometimes), but the postage! Fu*kin’ hell, they have to be kidding me! And yes, folks, it’s got worse since 2013. Therefore, even with not liking Amazon’s policies, it’s really hard to buy some stuff nowadays, if it’s not available through Bezos’ empire.

Anyway, enough mourning.

This long review should give you a detailed view of what you can expect in this fantastic issue. Now go get it. I mean it.

Order here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wengs-Chop-Jungle-Girl-Cover/dp/1497332060/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=weng%27s+chop+5&qid=1589797816&sr=8-2

Rudolf Schütz

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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