Friday, January 8, 2010

★★½ 10 VIOLENT WOMEN (1979)

a.k.a. Womens Penitentiary 1

Ted V. Mikels (THE CORPSE GRINDERS, ASTRO ZOMBIES, BLOOD ORGY OF THE SHE DEVILS) sure knows how to title a b-movie. The self proclaimed modern day Ed Wood once gained notoriety and became the subject of a documentary for living in a Las Vegas castle with a rotating harem of 40 strippers! I met the curly mustached director once and he sure was a pleasant fellow with an infectious passion and enthusiasm for filmmaking. Unfortunately, Mikels films are not always as fun as the titles suggest and 10 VIOLENT WOMEN is absolutely horrendous.
This patch work quilt begins with eight frustrated female miners (gold diggers?) trading in their dynamite for a life of crime. After pulling off a jewelry heist, they run into troubles with Leo the Fence (Ted V. Mikels) who only wants to trade cocaine for the stolen rocks. One of the gals stabs Leo to death with her stiletto heel (the only good scene) and, before you can nod off into a turkey coma, we are thrust into a slammer run by a sexually deviant evangelical wardress. There's abuse, a bust out and a plot involving a Sheik trying to find his family jewels. The whole mess nonchalantly ends with the cops, apparently over looking the murder, dropping the theft charges and the skanky broads "Livin' la Vida Loca" as the new harem on the Sheik’s bitchin' yacht.
Mikels packs in quite a few locations but these can't punch up the stagnant camera work. Almost the entire production is medium shots and medium-long shots! Would somebody please send this man a copy of Shot by Shot: A Practical Guide to Filmmaking? There is no blocking of actors as scenes play out with characters backs to the camera or they just walk out of frame altogether. It's such a fatiguing experience the "so bad it's good" crowd will only find pleasure from its ability to cure insomnia. I'll probably piss off ten people who worship the ground Mikel's walks upon, but let's be honest with ourselves, he's a complete hack who couldn't direct his penis into pussy. There are way to many forgotten gems in the cinema underground waiting to be discovered so don't waste your time on self indulgent turds like 10 VIOLENT WOMEN.
Ted V. Mikels went on to direct several shot on video films that never found distribution. Despite his cult status, new biography and a documentary hosted by John Waters, he is bankrupt living in a one bedroom Vegas apartment. If you've been kicked in the head by a mule and you’re interested in buying memorabilia, action figures, props, autographed DVDs or paying his rent, you can visit Ted's website at He really is a nice guy.
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