American filmmaker Ted V. Mikels holds a unique position as one of the most unconventional directors of exploitation cinema. Famous for his eccentric home life (he once lived with a harem in a castle with secret passageways) and promotional gimmicks (he was known for having nurses and ambulances on hand to assist "scared-to-death" moviegoers), Mikels is now considered a pioneering master of low-budget movie making.
Examples of Mikels' influence can be seen everywhere: from music (punk band The Misfits wrote a tribute song called "The Astro-Zombies"), to Mikels' film The Doll Squad being the template for the television series Charlie's Angels, to inspiring the look of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.
Mourning the loss of my good friend, filmmaker Ted V. Mikels. You can never prepare to lose someone you love. I am devastated. He inspired me in so many ways. He was a wizard, magician and storyteller. He taught me how to use cameras and edit, and the film business, but most importantly he taught me how to persevere. I even lived in his home in Las Vegas for a month, where we had martinis together each night, played slots at the casino, painted and built props, and daisy-chained an endless number of hard drives. I confided in him, and we had grand lunches and dinners at his royal table with Shanti, his filmmaking partner (She taught me to push my chair in.) So many great times and so much laughter followed Ted. He lived life to the fullest, not one sprocket hole out of place.
-- Kevin Sean Michaels