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Feb 07, 2006 at 02:00 AM
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DG Feb 06 - Astro-Ted! Ted V. Mikels Keeps on Grinding Them Out
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Ted V Mikels has been making movies for many years now, making his mark in all manner of works from documentaries, to dramas, TV commercials to cult classics like The Doll Squad, The Corpse Grinders, Astro-Zombies and Girl in Gold Boots. Ted's a no-nonsense guy who loves what he does and took a few moments out of his busy schedule to talk to DARK GALLERY.

DG: You are perhaps best known for your horror work yet your latest movie, HEART OF A BOY is a family-friendly drama. ow did you come to choose this as your latest project?

Ted: "HEART OF A BOY" is more what I really am about as a movie-maker. FAMILY VALUES, heart-warming ( fiction I wrote, of course) no sex- no violence, no nudity, no blood and no car chases. I do not like any movie that does not have socially-redeeming graces, but in past times, am obligated to make what I can raise a few bucks for, when it involves other people's fancies.

DG: You know W..C. Fields' famous comment about not working with kids or animals...how was it working with kids on your latest project?

Ted:I have done a LOT with kids and animals. Like " HOW LITTLE-HOW BIG" (encyclopedia Britannica) "SOUTH OF THE BORDER " , " CHAD " (with a mountain lions, and LOTS of LAMBS, etc. The only problem you face is getting the kids to the set, and keeping them alert, and of course always totally depending upon the availability of the parent. I find it fulfilling.

DG: I'm a fan of the original ASTRO-ZOMBIES - what made you decide many years later to make the sequel, MARK OF THE ASTROZOMBIES?

Ted:In making the original ASTRO ZOMBIES, I spent one full year of my life, writing, producing, directing, shooting, editing, and started marketing, but NEVER GOT ONE CENT for all of my work. With the tremendous reception of the original, I decided to make the sequel by myself without outside money or control. I had no money, but at least the movie is totally mine, whatever comes of it. I think it's better than the original.

DG: I know you had several fans of your work involved in the making of MARK and were offering producer credits for those who would contribute a certain amount to the production. How did that go?

Ted:I may have involved a lot of fans, however NONE of them contributed ANY MONEY WHATEVER. I did appreciate their input, energies and enthusiasm however. The offer to others to participate financially brought no monetary returns.

DG: I'm a big fan of Brinke Stevens and it was cool to see her featured in MARK OF THE ASTROZOMBIES - how did you come to work with her?

Ted:I had talked with Brinke from time to time in attending shows, so I made the call, and she said she had always wished to work with me. We made our agreements, and she came to Las Vegas to work in the movie. She was a delight to work with, VERY co-operative and professional. I would work with her again anytime. She is truly dedicated to the arts.

DG: You've done so many movies - do you have a favorite?

Ted:All of my movies, each and every one is truly a labor of love. How can you love one child more than another. Each presents its challenges. I do prefer however, to have absolute and total control and not answer to anyone. I wish for those involved to have total confidence in me and my abilities. Some of my movies are longer lasting than others, but that does not remain constant. Out of fifteen people stating their choice of a favorite movie I have made, EVERY ONE of the fifteen usually chooses a different one of my movies as their favorite. It always comes as a surprise when someone feels one or other of my thirty-five year-old movies is their favorite, and they think that one is my best creation. That keeps me going for eclectic choices.

DG: Have you always twirled the ends of your mustache? It certainly creates a memorable appearance!

Ted:I have " put on ' the mustaches since I was a magician at age fifteen. I had to paste it on then. Then as I became older, and travelled with Leon Mandrake Mandrake the Magician) I elected to make it a trade-mark, and at nineteen, I had to " paint" a lot of the black on.

DG: Another visual trademark if the gigantic tooth or claw that you wear as a necklace. What is it? A good luck charm of sorts, perhaps?

Ted:The necklace is a "BOAR'S TOOTH." A leftover from my hunting days. I have never been seen without it (except in bed or in the shower) for over thirty-five years. Don't know if it's lucky or not, but NO-ONE ever forgets it.

DG: Anything else you'd like to add? What might we look forward to from you in the near future?

Ted:Just want to say, I'll NEVER STOP making movies. Not sure what to do next, still working on marketing of HEART OF A BOY. I do hope to stick with themes that have " Socially redeeming graces " however. Mainstream and fulfilling as entertainment. Kindest regards, rushing off - Ted V. Mikels

DG: Thanks, Ted! Everyone can find out more about and keep up with Ted at www.tedvmikels.com!

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