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.
The Wild World of Ted V. Mikels features an original instrumental score written and performed by Ari Lehman. A native New Yorker, Ari grew up in Westport, CT, where he was trained in classical music and jazz piano by Gay Mehegan, a professional jazz pianist well-known for her unique use of voicings and harmony on the instrument. Recognized at an early age for his musical abilities, Ari was presented with an award for pianistic excellence and a scholarship to Berklee School of Music by famed jazz musician and educator Dr. Billy Taylor.
After a brief stint in acting (as Ari Lehman, he played the first Jason Voorhees in the horror classic "Friday the 13th"), Ari decided to return to his passion and New York City, where he studied jazz piano in its breeding ground with the great Joanne Brackeen; and enrolled at NYU, studying big band orchestration and jazz piano with Jim McNeely and Vladimir Shafranov.