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Wild World Of Ted V. Mikels

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Editorial Reviews

Meet independent grindhouse movie maverick Ted V. Mikels, who is celebrating his 60th anniversary making movies - wowing audiences with his own special brand of guts, gore, violence, and dark humor. From the grisly The Corpse Grinders, the early slasher epic The Astro-Zombies, to the far-out Girl in Gold Boots and countless others, Mikels tells his story for the first time in The Wild World of Ted V. Mikels by award-winning documentarian Kevin Sean Michaels, director of Vampira: The Movie.

Ted V. Mikels is a pioneer. In the 1970's, the concept of The Doll Squad was appropriated by television mogul Aaron Spelling for his own Charlie's Angels series (even down to using the character name Sabrina) and more recently inspired Quentin Tarantino with the turtle-necked look for the DiVA girls in Kill Bill. Ted shares stories of the William Castle-esque movie premieres that included nurses and ambulances on hand at the theaters to assist "scared-to-death" moviegoers. Plus, he reveals for the first time details of his private life in the sprawling Sparr Castle in California with a harem of women called the Castle Ladies!

Original cast members Tura Satana (Russ Meyer's Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, The Astro-Zombies), Shanti (Corpse Grinders II), Francine York (The Doll Squad) and Lila Zaborin (Blood Orgy Of The She Devils) recount their memories of working with Mikels, a director who had no cinematic limits.

Leading the tour is the inimitable John Waters, who is famous for directing Pink Flamingos, Cecil B. Demented and Hairspray. Get ready for a wild ride!


  • Ted Returns to The Castle: The Secret Lives of Castle Ladies
  • Cutting in Camera with pin-up model Masuimi Max
  • Preview of Ted's new movie: Astro Zombies: M3 Cloned
  • Trailers and more!

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Ted V. Mikels, John Waters (narrator), Tura Satana, Francine York, Shanti
  • Directors: Kevin Sean Michaels
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Alpha New Cinema
  • DVD Release Date: May 31, 2010
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003N2JKYE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,185 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rexx on August 4, 2010
I do not usually watch documentaries, but this was suggested by a friend since I am still interested in writing movies. Ted Mikels has been a visionary and a loon. What comes through most is that he really loves making movies and entertaining. Instead of rehashing the same lame thing over and over like most Hollywood hacks, he constantly changed his genres and boldly leapt from comfort zones to make films he believed in. This documentary shows a very watchable portrait of an interesting, under appreciated artist. Recomended for anyone interested in movie history, brave artists who risk all they own, and wild moustaches. (Note: No-one actually mentions the rockin' 'stache.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Hedges HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on December 1, 2010
I have seen many of Ted V. Mikels' films over the years. The first one I saw was "The Astro-Zombies" as a teenager, and I recall vividly laughing frequently at its cheesiness but also being unable to look away from the strange and entertaining story. In "The Wild World of Ted V. Mikels" Kevin Sean Michaels tells Ted's story with great passion; greatly assisting him and giving the production credibility is narrator John Waters.

The film discusses Ted's filmmaking methods, his often quite unorthodox lifestyle (with special emphasis on the years he lived at the Castle with the "Castle Ladies,") his lifelong love of cinema, and his views on the independent film industry. Ted is a very engaging person, and is extremely interesting to watch, particularly in the interview segments. Likewise the other people interviewed (e.g. Tura Satana, Francine York, Lila Zaborin, Shanti) offer fascinating and revealing insights into Ted's life and movies. The documentary was made when Ted was starting to define "Astro Zombies: M3 Cloned," which, despite the clumsy title, is a worthy heir to the bizarre Mikels sci-fi legacy. The DVD also has numerous extras including "Ted Returns to the Castle" in which Ted gives a tour of the infamous home where so many of his movies were shot, and where many interesting things occurred (I was surprised by the candor about the staggering amount of alcohol consumed within the Castle.)

The documentary is generally quite well done, but does drag in places and is a bit long, with some subjects being covered repetitiously. On balance, I was interested in this film, and think that Michaels did a very good job: he has certainly made a film that will inform and fascinate fans of B-movies of all generations. The one question he didn't answer is "What's the deal with the horn Ted wears around his neck?" (I've always wondered.) I recommend this feature to anyone interested in the history of independent film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pro_Freelancer on August 6, 2010
There is a litmus test for the value of documentaries about someone's work, and it is this: Does it make me want to know more?

And the answer here is YES.

The techniques, and the narrative (John Waters!) propelled me through, revealing a man as interesting as his vast body of work. Before this documentary, I had seen none of Ted V. Mikel's movies, too young to appreciate them or even enter the theater when they came out. This entertaining visual portfolio and portrait made me yearn to see them all. I am catching up on the whole list.

What I learned was that here was an independent filmmaker with an amazing range and facility, producing low budget marvels (you often cannot tell how the special effects are done) that stood up well on their own, but also provided prototypes for big movies and television shows that everyone saw. Mikels worked with the well-known and marvelous Francine York, but I think the uninitiated will be surprised at the startling poise and je ne c'est quoi of Tura Satana.

This DVD is a must-see, turning up one surprise after another from outrageous wackiness to serious quality from a bold and ballsy director. "Wild Word" is an apt description for the "Wild World of Ted V. Mikels."
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By PunkRockLawyer on July 19, 2010
Despite a slightly slow and oddly out-of-synch first few minutes, this movie quickly picks up speed and synchronicity to become quite entertaining. The editing is better, and overall the production is slicker, than in director Kevin Sean Michaels' last doc Vampira The Movie. This film features many interviews with Ted V. Mikels himself, who is certainly quite a character! It's clear that he enjoys what he does, and his frequent and hearty laugh ("HA!") is infectious.

I have a feeling that the narration by John Waters will be something people either love or hate. He certainly has a clear and distinctive voice, but some of his pronunciations made me laugh. ("He writeth, directh, produceth, edith . . ) Not that there's anything wrong with that.

There are lots of clips from Ted's movies, so it would have been easy for this to seem like an infomercial. But it doesn't because there is plenty of informative commentary about the clips. And the movie clips are in chronological order, so we can really see the progression of Ted's work as a filmmaker. Actually it seems like over the years, he became less concerned about commerciality -- or, perhaps, actually making good movies -- and focused mainly on having fun with his friends. And who can fault him for that?

We get to meet many of the people Ted has worked with -- in some cases for decades -- and it's refreshing to hear people say such nice things about each other. Far from being set in his ways, Ted is excited about working with new technologies and new people (who are also excited to work with him). Overall the film has a very hopeful and inspiring tone.
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