When Life Isn't A Movie
By STEVE FRIESS
If you’ve ever before heard of the man I’m writing about this week, I already know what you know. Every article and interview available online refers to Ted V. Mikels as a savant of sorts, an indefatigable and perversely genius filmmaker with a cult following of folks who adore his no-budget flicks and revere him as a surviving visionary of the Ed Wood School of Campy and Bizarre Cinema.
No, this isn’t going to be that kind of column. Although I had never heard of the guy prior to lunch last week with a journalist friend from Germany—Mikels is evidently big in Deutschland—I have been assured by my own Weekly editors that the longtime Las Vegan who created such Oscar bait as Demonheart and Corpse Grinders II has, in fact, enjoyed his local media close-ups several times.
So, okay. This isn’t going to be a piece about how terrific Ted V. Mikels is—and for good reason. I have a different story to tell.
Ted V. Mikels is 80 years old and broke.
He vacated his 2,500-square-foot studio near the Mandalay Bay a couple of months ago. Most of his old 35mm filmmaking equipment is in the Apex landfill, as he was unable to sell it off. His credit cards are maxed out, the equity in his modest east side townhouse has been spent and he has absolutely no idea how he’ll make his mortgage payments.
“Right now I’m in a quandary,” he says as he sits in a living room crammed with masks from his horror films, a dummy he has spoken through for ventriloquism back in the day and swords and other regalia from the Glendale, California, castle where he lived with an honest-to-goodness harem years ago. “In previous years, my movies have sold various rights to various places in the world for showing or televising, and I’d get something for that. In the last few years, that’s down to nothing. I’m facing right now the very daunting problem of having to make a living.”Read the rest at LasVegasWeekly.Com