Directed by Ted V. Mikels
Screenplay by Ted V. Mikels and Wayne Rodgers
Starring John Carradine, Wendell Corey, Tom Pace, Tura Satana, Joan Patrick,
Rafael Campos, Vince Barbi, Joe Hoover, Victor Izay
I first met Ted V. Mikels at the very first Cinema Wasteland, back in Sept. of 2000, where he was set up next to us in the vendor room. I knew of his work, from seeing trailers, some other clips, and seeing him in some documentaries, but my appreciation of his really developed after that first meeting, since he was so honored to be there to meet his fans. Every time someone came up, he would stand up and greet them with a handshake and honest hello. I mention this only because to really appreciate his work, you need to know and understand the man. Always on the low budget side of filmmaking, Mikels had that passion for the industry. He knew how to do just about everything in the business, from writing to directing to editing and more. Sure, some may say that he wasn’t that great in any of those duties, but I still say for any filmmaker to create just one film that has lasted the test of time, let alone many of them, that is a true filmmaker. And Mikels is definitely one of them.
“The only bad movie is a boring one”, a statement made by author Stephen Thrower that I not only agree with, but live by as well! This last Turkey Day, we put that statement to the test and proven it to be true! For the most part, that is.
Before we get to our 17th year of holding our annual Turkey Day Marathon, I have to first say how thankful I am to have so many like-minded friends that journey out to the Chicago suburbs twice a year to celebrate the types of films that we watch. They are not only true cinephiles, but know that there is entertainment and enjoyment in even the lowest rated film out there. Well… most of them! Continue reading
Film Alchemy: The Independent Cinema of Ted V. Mikels
Published by McFarland, 2007. 220 Pages
By Christopher Wayne Curry
The name of Ted V. Mikels is one that is not that well known in the film community. Unless of course, you are a fan of cult movies. Then you are well aware of the name, and the man, and the movies that he has given us over the past 40+ years. Now thanks to author Curry, we are able to get a closer inside look at the man and his movies.
Mikels’ films can pretty much be the definition of “independent cinema”. Within these pages, Curry does an excellent job explaining and showing the readers just what Mikels has gone through to bring his productions from conception to creation. It’s not a pretty story in most cases. But as Mikels says in the book, “I always tell people at the beginning of my movies that if they’re not here to enjoy the making of a movie then they shouldn’t be here.” I think that statement perfectly describes Mikels. He simply loves to make movies.
Gods of Grindhouse
BearManor Media, 2013. 169 pages.
Edited by Andrew J. Rausch
I know everyone out there knows the name of Roger Corman. But what about Ted V. Mikels? Or Ray Dennis Steckler, Jack Hill, or Bill Rebane? These gentlemen, plus a few more, are the names covered in this very important book. The guys are from the filmmaking industry that I feel are much more important than the likes of Michael Bay. Why? Simple. There movies are something you will remember and will stand the test of time. Each generation will discover and be entertained by them. Without the talented craftsmen discussed in this volume, there would be no Quentin Tarentino. So while their movies may be the jest of places like MST3K, that doesn’t take away from what their films are about, as well as the people that struggled to get them made and distributed.
I know I preach over and over on this site about how important it is to know your history when it comes to the genres, but I wouldn’t keep saying it if I really didn’t believe it. So many younger filmmakers, such as the previous mentioned Tarantino, grew up watching the films from these guys, being inspired to make their own mark with their films. So yes, it is VERY important to know these guys and their work. And this book is a great way to start.
One thing is for sure about 2016, we have lost way too many genre favorites. From actors to directors to artists to cinematographers and everyone else in between….just way too many. There were some that I consider icons, such as Herchell Gordon Lewis, who paved the way for thousands of young filmmakers. Actor Don Calfa appeared in so many sitcoms and movies but was still able to come up with so many wonderful characters. Then we have Angus Scrimm, who really only appeared in a handful of features, but it only took one role for him to forever be remembered in the hearts of us horror fans. And while actor/writer Gene Wilder was mainly known for his comedic side, along with Mel Brooks, he gave us one of the best tributes to the classic Frankenstein pictures.
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.
Almost didn’t think I was going to get to this tonight, after a long and glorious weekend at Cinema Wasteland. But we knew we had to at least get this update posted before we crash for the night. So let’s get to it. Our photo last week was from the one and only film Astro Zombies, written & directed (and many other job titles as well) by the man himself, Ted V. Mikels. If you haven’t seen this one, then you are definitely missing out on a lot of fun. Congrats to Hoby Abernathy, Doug Lamoreux, and Michael Shields for sending in the correct answer. Well done.
I thought for this week’s photo, I’d give you a little hand. Did I mention that I didn’t get much sleep over the weekend? Anyway….here’s this week’s photo. So take a peek and see if you can figure it out. Remember, just send us an email at email@example.com. Good luck!