Reviews

Blood Orgy Of The She-Devils (1973)

Spiritual lightning has struck again. Walking home from work, 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. But I was ready for something. Cryptic as they were, I was able to decipher the messages. And they said this:

Mara is the head priestess and Satanic bounty hunter of a witch cult. She sounds like a female Criswell. Women dance in loin cloths, sacrifice dudes with spears, and scream a lot. And that’s it! Sure, a couple has an occasional seance. And there’s also a brief, bizarro 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 to witch burnings and dungeon torture? The sudden appearance of a witchcraft professor by the poolside? Ladies and germs, Ted Mikels delivers!

Ted V. Mikels is a castle-dweller, polygamist, and very independent filmmaker. With a personal life every bit as mysterious as his outrageous filmography, it’s no wonder why Mikels’ 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 Blood Orgy Of The She-Devils: 78 minutes of plotless, PG-rated psychedelic abstraction in the form of an occult soap opera.

Like any Mikels experience, you’ll either be bored out of your mind or drunkenly spellbound. Due to Mikels’ knack for delivering typical ideas in atypical ways, I usually 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 wildly-decorated living rooms that give Year of the Yahoo a run for its money. It all makes for a harmless bit of off-center filmmaking, one that provides a solid peek 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 into Ted’s other horror romps, you’ll probably eat up Blood Orgy Of The She-Devils. It’s worth taking a chance.

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