The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Ted V. Mikels has passed away at age 87.
The indefatigable Mikels was still working on his final movie, a sequel to 1982’s “10 Violent Women,” until “late spring, early summer” of this year, [John] Cornett said.
The fact that Mikels wasn’t able to complete the movie means “I know he’s an angry soul,” said psychologist Wendy Altamura, who had a close relationship for 28 years with the director and appeared in more than a dozen of Mikels’ movies, billed as Shanti.
Mikels himself was as outlandish as the movies he created; his trademarks included a giant tooth pendant, a neatly trimmed goatee and a curly, waxed moustache. To say nothing of the gleeful chuckle that often accompanied descriptions of his latest productions.
Although he remained on the outskirts of my lifelong but incomplete genre education, I’ve always been aware of Mikels and his cult output. THE CORPSE GRINDERS was one of the VHS tapes that scared the boogers out of kid-me – the whole idea of converting people into cat food. ASTRO ZOMBIES is a verifiable kitschy classic. During the 80s this double screen cinema in Annandale, Sydney used to hold regular screenings. Only, they were dubbed lived by a comedy troupe. An apt comparison would be THE ROOM.
More recently I was offered the Ted Mikels’ library for distribution by a foreign licensor but had to decline. I looked at the asking price for each title and figured “heck, that’s more than the movie probably cost!” But those films did make deals, all around the world. Mikels movies kept ticking over in the marketplace with reissues and new films over the years, nay decades.
I had plans to seek out an interview with Mikels for a project I am working, but hadn’t gotten to that stage yet. We always assume there will be time. Sometimes there isn’t.