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Blood Orgy Of The She-Devils (1972)

Directed by Ted V. Mikels
Image Entertainment DVD

THE FILM
Spiritual lightning has struck again. Walking home from the train, 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. I went home. Blood Orgy Of The She-Devils was waiting. Girls started to dance. I was right there with them.

Ted V. Mikels: castle-dweller, polygamist, and very independent movie maker. 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,” it’s no wonder. 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 (what a string!), Mikels presents 78 minutes of plotless, PG rated absurdity in Blood Orgy Of The She-Devils. Before you go any further, make a note: this motion picture makes no sense. None.

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. Fetching women dance in loin cloths, sacrifice dudes with spears, and scream a lot. Ha ha! That’s it! Sure there’s a “college” couple partaking in the occasional seance (I DARE you to get outta that scene alive). And OK, there’s also a brief 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 gentlemen, Ted V. 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. I’ve never had a problem with that. Sometimes, it’s just what the psychic voices ordered.

AUDIO AND VIDEO
The full frame print is oozing with contrast, bright colors, and thick blacks. The occasional blemish pops up, as well as some slight fluttering early on, but other than that, the 70s sheen is like wow. Very satisfying watch. The mono sound fluctuated at times, but that was definitely due to the original room recordings.

EXTRAS
To start off with, there’s a lively theatrical trailer for the feature (watch out — gives away all the “good” parts), a Mikels filmography, and trailers for five additional films in Ted’s cannon, all of which are available on DVD from Image. Faves included The Doll Squad and the novel-length slimer for 10 Violent Women.

Like the other films in Image’s T.V. Mikels series, the director delivers a full length commentary track. Kind of. Lacking the help of a moderator, jovial Ted goes it alone. The results are half and half; on one hand, he’s full of interesting tidbits relating to the film (Two years of witchcraft research! Shooting on Cecil B. DeMille’s lawn!), but on the other, those nuggets are usually revealed after a few minutes of silence. It’s a sometimes rewarding track, but you’ll need to split up your listens to keep at attention.

FINAL THOUGHTS
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 like Ted’s other horror romps, you’ll probably eat Blood Orgy Of The She-Devils up. It’s worth the chance.