Low-budget exploitation legend Ted V. Mikels has been in touch with news on his latest project.
It is, of course, the second sequel to his original space zombie “cult” film, The Astro-Zombies (US-1968), following upon 2002’s return to the distinctive skull-masked and violent corpses, Mark of the Astro-Zombies.
Synopsis (The Astro-Zombies):
After being fired from the Space Agency, the disgruntled (not to mention crazy) Dr. DeMarco creates an Astroman from a criminal’s dead body. However, he loses control of his creation, which goes on a killing spree, attracting the attention of an international spy ring and the CIA. (IMDb)
The Astro-Zombies starred John Carradine, Wendell Corey (in his last film), and the violently sexy icon Tura Satana, who excelled in Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965). The film may or may not be Mikels’ best film, but it is probably his most iconic. As exploitation classics go, it is closely followed by The Corpse Grinders (1972), The Doll Squad (1973) or even Blood Orgy of the She Devils (1972).
Mikels commented to the Backbrain:
Seems that so many folks prefer to talk about my ASTRO or CORPSE movies. What about my other 400 credits in a non-stop attack on movie-making for sixty years? Like STRIKE ME DEADLY, THE BLACK KLANSMAN, THE DOLL SQUAD, TEN VIOLENT WOMEN, MISSION: KILLFAST, HEART OF A BOY, ETC.
What about them indeed? Mikels has worked in just about every role in the production process, from producer, writer, director, actor through to SFX, music and stuntman (see his IMDb entry).
But those crazy space zombies obviously held an attraction to both Mikels and the public, because he came back to them in 2002, bringing with him Tura Satana and adding Scream Queen Brinke Stevens.
Synopsis (Mark of the Astro-Zombies):
This time around, it’s evil aliens who are operating on people. These strange space creatures are planting computer chips inside human brains and replacing organs with synthetic substitutes. The initial plan: Send dozens of mindless Astro-Zombies, armed with razor-sharp machetes, to Earth with orders to indiscriminately slash and kill all in sight! A pair of ruthlessly ambitious criminals study newspaper headlines and recall that these occurrences are somewhat similar to what took place in another time. A scheme is formulated to capitalize on these horrific events by gathering major foreign emissaries and duping them into paying billions of dollars for the power to control their own army of unstoppable walking dead. (IMDb)
And now we have Astro-Zombies M3: Cloned.
Mikels commented to Kaiju Search-Robot Avery on July 15:
I’m in the process of streamlining my studios into a totally new batch of adventures, into the total digital realm. My sixty years of movie-making collectibles, 35mm cameras and editing equipment, fifty tons of other stuff, (“DUMPSTERIZING” MUCH OF IT) is being moved into new archival headquarters, demanding my full time and attention for at least another six weeks — and at the same time I’m shooting on my newest movie ASTRO ZOMBIES M3: CLONED. I’m running day and night…
After posting this location scouting video to his YouTube page, he wrote:
Because everyone loves my ASTRO ZOMBIES, and so many people from all around the world want to be in a Ted V. Mikels’ movie as an ASTRO ZOMBIE, or any part available. I can’t resist making another one when people show such an interest. The new one will more camp than ever.
Tura will be involved, so will THE DOLL SQUAD!
Mikels also directed us to a new documentary made by Kevin Sean Michaels, The Wild World of Ted V. Mikels, narrated by none other than John Waters! Now that’s exploitation cred! The doco is described as
… a rollicking look at the independent cinema of Ted V. Mikels, who has been producing films for over 60 years. Mikels is considered a maverick of low-budget movie-making. In The Wild World of Ted V. Mikels, Mikels himself tells his fascinating life story. (Ted’s website)
Who knows what the future holds? Zombies are one thing, but my “ASTRO ZOMBIES” are of a different kind, my own creations. If the interest in them keeps up, the series may continue. (Ted V. Mikels)