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Weng’s Chop #3 (magazine review)

The more I am delving into the old issues of the most prominent cinema magazine today – and it’s no hyperbole, especially when considering the content (and the quantity of it) – the more I am re-discovering stuff I should remember to get (and watch) but for some strange reason I’ve forgotten. Well, second time’s the charm, isn’t it?

Weng's Chop #3 cover image
Weng’s Chop #3 alternative cover 1

By the issue #3, released in April 2013, Weng’s Chop magazine start to bulk up, so to speak. 117 large pages of texts and images about all kinds of exploitation, horror, obscure, old, forgotten – and whatever other label you can come up with – cinema well designed to appease your hunger for new and unknown flicks/books/comics/zines. Hidden under the cover with a picture of (in)famous auteur director Jesús Franco Manera (Jess Franco and his other pseudonyms), which is the cover I’ve opted for (not that the other two were less interesting, but Jesus rules, you know).

This issue also marks the arrival of the third member of now-stable editorial team – besides Brian and Tim we welcomed Tony Strauss, who debuted with his long, detailed analysis of Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession (a flick I still need to watch, straight after I remember where did I put it).

Well, in April 2013 the cinema lovers’ world lost one of its greatest – aforementioned Jesús Franco. OK, the „greatest“ might be a little stretch, but yeah, considering his output and the lasting influence, no matter how we tend to look at him and his work, it‘s not an exaggeration. At least not for me, so there‘s that, take it or leave it.

So pages 3-5 are dedicated to some kind of obituary/testimonial of that great Spanish guy, with quotes of various folks from cinema world, which also testify to lasting influence of Franco on generations of film lovers.

Now we‘re getting somewhere I haven‘t been before – pages 6 – 11 bring us to Christploitation and I have to admit I haven‘t heard that term before reading this great article titled „Please Bow Your Heads For Prayer.“ by Andrew Leavold.

Pages 12 – 15 continues the narrative with the article by Brian Harris about a subgenre in Christploitation, namely something strange called „Rapturesploitation“. I grind my teeth as although I am Christian myself, the so-called „Rapture“ is not in my belief system, so it‘s quite strange, nay, to check these movies out, but I will do it just for the hell (pun intended) of it. Back to the article, Brian discusess movies A Thief In the Night, A Distant Thunder, Image of the Beast and The Prodigal Planet. And I‘m little tempted to get them and watch them. But just a little. So it might not gonna happen.

Weng’s Chop #3 alternative cover 2

Steve Ronquillo writes in his „column“ Steve‘s Video Mania on pages 16 and 17. This first installment deals with movies of the First Family of Mexploitation, the Cardonas (René Sr. and René Jr.) and the real beauty here is – I actually now know who they were! Yeah, that’s what you call “a progress in knowledge”, to the boot. Seriously, when perusing so many reference books/mags/zines/webpages, you really get some strong knowledge of the stuff. Sadly, not that it stretches your time available to allow you to watch more movies, but hey, remember The Rolling Stones? You can’t always get what you want. Exactly. But I am now hooked up and curious to see Cardona’s take on Jonestown massacre (his movie Guyana: Cult of the Damned) from 1979.

We have some more Mexploitation coming, on pages 18 – 20, in the article about post-apocalyptic Mexican cinema by Aaron Soto. I have to admit I like when I can watch movies with their original soundtrack, Spanish-language movies no different (the only exception are 70’s kung-fu movies dubbed into proper posh British English, that shit is absolutely hilarious). So with a majority of those movies not being available with English dub is still OK with me.

The importance of underground publications in keeping the memory of certain less known personalities and disseminating information about them and their movies can’t be stressed enough. Case in point? Pages 21 and 22 with the article “Distant Dreams: The Haunting Career of Mary Mendum” by Jeremy Richey. I wouldn’t have a clue about that actress and her movies!! And it doesn’t matter if they are good or bad, it’s the knowledge of their existence which prompt many of readers (of this I am sure) to try to find them and see for themselves.

Mexploitation back again! This time with the Douglas Waltz’s articles on Mexican monster movies on pages 23 and 24 and what I have stated before, still applies. I just crave watching this madness, although, on the other hand, I also cringe before expecting quite a lot of crap along it! But that’s the way it is, baby! Bring ‘em on!

Next article we have is Ryan Carey’s presentation of The Incubus, starring John Cassavetes. I can’t even remember reading this one, so allow me to get a little break.

Done and we can move to the next interesting segment of the issue in discussion. Pages 27 – 38…yes, 11 long pages, folks!!!! Remember me mentioning Tony Strauss as a new member of the editorial staff? Well, his detailed, hell, well-beyond-detailed dissection of Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession would leave Zulawski himself speechless and he might learn a thing or two about his own movie. Amazing article and I am pretty sure after reading this article you won’t look at Possession the same way again.

An article by Larry Conti “From Jakarta With Love: Ferocious Female Frightmakers” deals with Indonesian phantom female (female ghost) movies and I am not the only one falling in love with Asian cinema beyond the usual Japanese or Hong Kong output. Of course, Indonesian cinema is not neglectible, they going strong for years and to get acquainted with their movies is just pure pleasure. Won’t you agree?

Page 42 contains a list of contributors to this issue and I came to like it on its own. Why? Well, you can find quite a few names to get familiar with, some old faces, some fresh new, and what’s better than to network with your fellow cinephiles/culturologists?

Pages 43 – 61 are full of interesting reviews to not-always-interesting movies, but believe me, you’ll want to watch them all, if for nothing else than to have the ability to say “I’ve seen that!” when talking to your friends. Well, if your friends are similar to mine, they won’t give shit either way, but hey, it’s their loss, so no problem!

Page 62 brings a welcome break in the movie narrative, presenting a review of “The Seven Deadly Synths”, which deals in a collection of rare video recordings of synth-punk banks of the 80s from “Harrah” club in NYC. If you’re into this stuff, make sure you check this out!

Ryan Carey strikes again with his appreciation for Simon, King of the Witches in an article “All I Touch, I Corrupt” (on a totally unrelated point, the title reminds me of Swedish death metal band Demigod’s song “As I Behold, I Despise” – what a strange association, lol). From what I’ve read, it looks like another interesting experience of a movie, so – to quote Chris Jericho – “You’re just made the list!” 🙂

Continuing through the part of page 64 and the 65 with the ads we’re getting to “Cult Cinema Under the Gun” by Danae Dunning, another batch of reviews of classic and not so classic cult movies, pages 66 – 68.

And that’s not all from Danae, folks! Page 69 shows her article about Ronny Yu’s triple feature (The Bride with White Hair 1 and 2 and The Phantom Lover) and man, I need these in my life! I particularly like Danae’s writing for it’s short (like mine) and to the point (looking at the man in the mirror smirking…well, I’m trying!).

Brian Harris introduces us to Dancing Yeti Stephen Tako in the interview he’s conducted with the man himself (pages 70-71). And it’s interesting to see me caring also for the stuff I wouldn’t give a damn about not so long ago. That’s how deep the love for the cinema and culture goes. Once it gets you, it will hold like a superglue. And that’s the quality we want.

Pages 72-98 (26 pages! I repeat, 26 PAGES!!!) Drumroll, please! Tim Paxton just killed everyone with his exhaustive discussion about Indian movies which includes snakes, or better to say, persons somewhat connected with snakes, snake ladies, snake goddesses…basically, snake everything. And while I won’t watch majority of those (and apart from some silly stuff like Anaconda, Piranhaconda and similar dreck) due to my strong disaste for snakes, the article is one hell of a reading. Just amazing.

Pages 99-102 are dedicated to printed stuff, i. e. book/zine reviews and I don’t have to say I’ve found some goodies in this section (and some are already in my collection). I especially love zines (well, soulmating is a nice thing), so anyting zine-connected is right my alley.

Pages 103-113 and oh noooo…errr..hell, yes, more Mexi-madness!!! But with an added bonus, these pages contain a reprint of Steve Fentone’s article from Monster!International #2 about Mexican monster movies. And it’s interesting to see how professional Tim Paxton’s work from 1992 was. Hell, I want to read the whole issue!! I want it all – and I want them now! Alas, it’s not gonna happen, at least not “now”. But I’ll gladly wait, because you know it – all good things come to those who wait.

Pages 114-116 and another interesting reprint, this time from Video Voice #9 from 1988, an interesting (and for me quite a rare) interview by David Todarello with Michael Weldon, the man behind legendary Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film, Psychotronic Video Guide and, of course, Psychotronic Video magazine!!! What a material!

And that’s almost the end. But not before finishing Weng’s Chop B-Movie Krisword Puzzle #1 by Kris Gilpin. Don’t worry, the answers are on page 61, but try to do it without looking at them first!! I dare you!

And that, folks, was Weng’s Chop #3 in all its glory. Now, you know what to do, don’t you?

Available at Amazon.

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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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