The Wild World of Ted V. Mikels

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Who is Ted V. Mikels?

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.

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John Waters


John Waters

Photo by Greg Gorman

From Baltimore, Maryland, Waters is a prolific film director, author, photographer and sometime actor. He is best known for his films, the content of which have sometimes shocked and always entertained an international audience. In 1972 he created what would become the most notorious film in the American independent cinema of the 1970s, Pink Flamingos, the ultimate trash masterpiece. In 1974 he created Female Trouble, 1977 marked the premiere of Desperate Living, and in 1981 Waters completed Polyester. Filmed in glorious "odorama," ticket buyers were given scratch-and-sniff cards that allowed the audience to smell along with the characters in their fragrant search for romantic happiness. His mainstream breakthrough was Hairspray (1988), which was remade into a big-budget musical starring John Travolta in 2007. After Hairspray, he went on to direct many more movies including Cry-baby (1990), Serial Mom (1994), Pecker (1998), Cecil B. Demented (2000) and A Dirty Shame (2004).

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