Reviews

Blood Orgy Of The She-Devils (1972)

Spiritual lightning has struck again. Walking home from my train commute, I was seized by psychic thunderclaps, revealing themselves as screeching female voices. “Find the Dance Costumes By Eros! Find the Special Electronic Music By Carl Zittrer! Find Ted V. Mikels! Find SALVATION!”

I wasn’t ready for salvation (see: Blood Freak). But, I was ready for something. Cryptic as they were, I was able to decipher the messages. I went home. Blood Orgy Of The She-Devils was waiting.

Ted V. Mikels: castle-dweller, polygamist, and very independent filmmaker. With a personal life every bit as mysterious as his outrageous filmography, it’s no wonder why Ted’s productions often turn out so fragmentary. As Mr. Mikels states in Re/Search’s Incredibly Strange Films, “It takes your guts and your entrails and your soul to make a film. You have to be as obsessed as a religious fanatic.” Give a consumed eccentric a canvas and he’ll show you the world. Take this one, for instance. Following up 1969’s Astro Zombies and 1972’s The Corpse Grinders, Mikels presents 78 minutes of plotless, PG rated absurdity in Blood Orgy Of The She-Devils. Before you give up, take note: this motion picture makes no sense. None. Now that we’ve shed the inhibitions, the chanting can begin.

Mara is the head priestess/Satanic bounty hunter of a witch cult in T.V. Mikels’s real life castle. She sounds like a female Criswell. Women dance in loin cloths, sacrifice dudes with spears, and scream a lot. And that’s it! Sure there’s a couple partaking in the occasional seance (I dare you to get outta that scene alive). And sure, there’s also a brief, boffo subplot involving a sweaty gangster and his goon. What about the guy who strangles a girl while cuckoo clocks chirp in the background? The flashback witch burnings and dungeon torture? The sudden appearance of a witchcraft professor by the poolside? Ladies and germs, Ted Mikels delivers!

Like any Mikels experience, you’ll either be bored out of your mind or drunkenly spellbound. Due to a knack for delivering typical ideas in unconventional ways, I always end up falling for his horror films. The extraneous inserts, the randomly tripped out visuals, the charming super-imposed effects — Blood Orgy features all of these things, in addition to a neurotic synth score and living rooms that barely escaped from Year Of The Yahoo. It all makes for a harmless bit of off-center filmmaking, one that neither arouses nor offends, but provides a solid squint into the world of a true nonconformist. Sometimes, it’s just what the psychic voices ordered.

It takes a special kind of person to appreciate the cinema of Ted V. Mikels. Sometimes, I am that person. You might be, too. If you’re fresh for Ted’s other horror romps, you’ll probably eat up Blood Orgy Of The She-Devils. It’s worth the chance.

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