West Coast Merch and Celebrity Swag are pleased to announce that they have signed a deal to roll out merchandise for Ted V. Mikels and some of his biggest films. Ted V. Michaels, Born Theodore Vincent Mikacevich in 1929, Oregon native Ted V. Mikels, with his distinctive handlebar mustache and famed for his unorthodox lifestyle, is one of the most eccentric and endearing figures in the cult horror pantheon. Beginning his entertainment career at age 15 as a stage magician and ventriloquist, the young Mikels moved to California in the 1950s, where he learned every aspect of the film business by working as a stunt man, editor, sound technician, cinematographer, and even music composer on films directed by figures such as Andre de Toth and Andrew V. McLaglen. In 1963, he directed his first feature, Strike Me Deadly. The film was made in Oregon to keep the budget reasonable, yet Mikels was forced to repeatedly mortgage his home to complete it. Although it played in theaters for years, he never saw a penny, teaching him a bitter lesson about the necessity for securing distribution rights as an independent producer. Undaunted, the enterprising director explored various exploitation genres in films such as The Black Klansman, Agent for H.A.R.M., and The Girl in Gold Boots throughout the decade, earning the persistent filmmaker quite a bit of money. Girl In Gold BootsIt was during this time that Mikels purchased an old castle in Las Vegas, where he lived with as many as seven different women at a time. One of the “castle women” was Tura Satana, who had acted in Russ Meyer’s cult classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1966).
She appeared in Mikels’ first horror film, The Astro-Zombies, which also featured film legend John Carradine, Insane Monsters, and MASH star Wayne Rogers as a co-producer. It quickly became one of the most beloved titles in the world of sci-fi cult horror films. Mikels cemented his reputation as a genius cult filmmaker with his best-known film, 1972′s The Corpse Grinders. Made on a shoestring budget, this jaw-dropping spectacle told the tale of grave robbers selling human meat as cat food after feeding them through a “diabolical machine” turning their bodies into hamburger meat. In the film, cats develop a taste for human flesh after eating the food, resulting in several ludicrously staged feline attacks. The film’s originality, and creative low budget filmmaking techniques made it a grind-house staple for over a decade. Ted V. Mikels then made his comeback with the exploitative occult film Blood Orgy of the She-Devils (shot in his famous castle). For the next three decades Ted V. Mikels would focus on action films and television. Mikels continued to work steadily, directing such successful efforts as Ten Violent Women and The Doll Squad which had been rumored to be the inspiration for the successful TV Series “Charlies Angels”. Ted V. Mikels would continue with his onslaught of producing great cult films with The Corpse Grinders 2, Female Slaves Revenge, Mark of the Astro-Zombies, Cauldron: Baptism of Blood, Demon Haunt, Astro Zombies: M3 – Cloned, The Corpse Grinders 3 and in 2012 Ted V. Mikels filmed the Epic Sci-Fi Thriller Astro Zombies: M4 – Invaders from Cyberspace. Many of the actors in these Ted V. Mikels films later went on to star in the following films and TV shows: KUNG FU, LOVE AMERICAN STYLE, IRONSIDE, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE, BABYLON 5, MURDER SHE WROTE, HUNTER, CHIPS, FANTASY ISLAND, KOJAK, THE ROCKFORD FILES, MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE, HAWAII FIVE O, MOD SQUAD, and More!!! Ted V. Mikels has been making films for over 60 years, he’s now 85 years old and still making movies. A True Hollywood Legend.
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