The 13th Floor

R.I.P. Director & B-Movie Mogul Ted V. Mikels

The year 2016 has been ruthless to some of the horror genre’s most beloved names, and even the hardest-working, most prolific writers, filmmakers and performers in the industry have been taken from us seemingly without a second’s warning.

It saddens me to add yet another name to this year’s long In Memoriam list — a name perhaps less known or praised outside the niche of grindhouse and b-movie fandom, but nevertheless part of the larger-than-life reputation of a man who loved nothing more than making movies: writer-producer-director-actor Ted V. Mikels, who died yesterday morning in his own home at the age of 87.

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Mikels is best known for bargain-basement productions like THE ASTRO-ZOMBIES, THE CORPSE GRINDERS and BLOOD ORGY OF THE SHE-DEVILS, and his filmography (and fascinating life) has become the subject of several books, an episode of THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE FILM SHOW, and the feature-length documentary THE WILD WORLD OF TED V. MIKELS. Even those previously unfamiliar with his work might have had a few giggles at his expense when MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 lampooned his 1968 go-go musical THE GIRL IN GOLD BOOTS.

THE DOLL SQUAD
THE DOLL SQUAD (1973)

While Ted’s micro-budget flicks weren’t exactly mainstream fare, they nevertheless scored big box office in the drive-in and grindhouse circuits of the early ‘70s. Mikels later transitioned to shot-on-video projects, but never stopped making movies to the very end, producing multiple sequels to nearly all his original hits.

ASTRO-ZOMBIES
THE ASTRO-ZOMBIES (1968)

Friend and colleague Art Lynch posted news of Mikels’ passing Sunday on his own blog, remembering the filmmaker fondly as a mentor and teacher (from the early days when Mikels was still shooting on 35mm film), and praising his professionalism and memorable personality — including his ever-present tooth pendant.

“The world has lost a filmmaker who broke all the rules and had fun doing it,” Lynch said.

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