Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ted V. Mikels faves (from the old Funhouse blog, "incredibly strange" clips!)

Ted V. Mikels has made odd and unique no-budget movies, but few are hard to find as his curiously patriotic melodrama/comedy about polygamy, Alex Joseph and His Wives (1976). I can’t find a way to explain the music-video Ted included in the film for the song “Thanks, America!”

Click here if the above doesn't work.

And if you're looking for a more extreme form of exploitation from Ted, here it is. Undeniably the strangest and most persistent of Mikels’ movies, this is a torture-fest — in which the director himself is kicked and pummeled by a room full of black women. The original title Apartheid Slave Women’s Justice has been altered to Female Slaves’ Revenge, but under any title this 1999 shot-on-video feature is a stunner. I was proud to offer the U.S. TV premiere of Apartheid with the compilation of clips included here back in ’99, and I’m pretty certain the Funhouse has been the one and only program (and now the one and only blog) brave enough to tackle the creative imaginings of the one and only Ted.

I can barely summon up the words to describe this feature, so I’ll simply reproduce what I wrote about it in an article on Ted, that was occasioned by the opening of the Drew Barrymore Charlie’s Angels, and can be found here.

The latest manifestation of Ted’s femme-mania is a wild outing titled Apartheid Slave Women’s Justice. Shot on videotape, the feature is a race-relations allegory about a kangaroo court of black South African women who capture and try their former “master,” played by Mikels. The women deliver wildly melodramatic speeches as they kick the hell out of Ted, frequently stepping on him in high heels; the kicks are accompanied by a rather amusing videogame-like “doink! doink!” sound that seems to grow on one as the video progresses. The proceedings are sporadically interrupted by exterior shots of African dancers, a rainswept street, and unexplained scenes of black people eating—and then it’s back to Ted’s beating and more speeches.

Mikels insists that he has always worked clean, not wanting to leave his family with “a legacy of distaste”; thus, even movies with wonderfully lurid titles like Blood Orgy of the She Devils are essentially G-rated. Apartheid doesn’t depart too much from this philosophy—except for the fact that a good deal of the time the proceedings resemble a trample-fetish video. However, in an era when Hollywood entertainment— Charlie’s Angels included—is remarkably predictable, Mikels’ work still comes as a cold slap in the face. Apartheid’s oddly discordant tone, jarring juxtapositions, and the fact it features long stretches of a cult moviemaker laying on what is presumably the floor of his own house being kicked (“doink! doink!”) by actresses who also worked in his crew, make it a highly recommended item that’s worthy of cult adoration and academic study (and possible Freudian analysis) in “Incredibly Strange” pop culture classes of the future. Take that, Aaron Spelling…

Click here if the above doesn't work.

The movie is currently available on Ted's site.If you visit, tell ’im the Funhouse sent ya.

No comments: