At the very first Cinema Wasteland, back in September of 2000, our dealer table was right next to Mr. Ted V. Mikels, the cult director of such films as Astro Zombies (1968), Corpse Grinders (1971), Blood Orgy of the She-Devils (1973), and many more. Sitting next to him over the next three days, hearing him talk to his fans with so much energy, as well as respect, made me a fan of him, even though I was already a fan of his work. He was such a kind and friendly soul, willing to talk to anybody about his work, as well as giving them any advice and guidance in the film business that he could. This wasn’t just an act that he was putting on to sell stuff from his table, but a genuine person that loved meeting his fans. I still have the Certificate of Assurance from the Dimension in Shock triple feature release that I got from him that weekend, which remains a prize possession in the collection.
Mikels had been in the film business for more than sixty years, doing just about every job imaginable. When he started making his own film, he gave audiences something we’d never seen before. Sure, his budget were sometimes non-existent, and may not have been Hollywood caliper, but defined what independen filmmaking was.
So it is with much sadness that we pass on the information that Mikels has passed away at the age of 87 years old. The fact that he was STILL making movies at this age, gives me more than hope that I can continue what I’m doing, IF I am able to make it to that age! The man never lost his passion for what he was doing. No matter the cost, both financially or otherwise, the passion of movie making drove him. And for that, I have so much admiration for the guy. For any filmmaker to make a film that can still be watched and entertain a viewer, then they have not only succeeded, but truly have become immortal. Mikels did that several times in his long career. Hollywood may not know about him, but it is their loss.
Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time. Mr. Mikels…you will continue to give smiles and joy to movie fans, both young and old, with the wonderful cinema you left us. You will be missed, but never forgotten.