Friday, December 6, 2013

Mikels Mania! - The Doll Squad and MISSION: KILLFAST (Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray)

Ted V. Mikels was responsible for some pretty B movies. He helped build the mold, but let’s not confuse B with Bad. That’s not a judgment I’d say any of us are equipped to make without sitting through one of his pictures. Mikels gave us Astro Zombies which, while it isn’t one of my favorite movies, it did inspire one of my favorite Misfits songs of the same name. He also created The Corpse Grinders. Again, not one of my personal top fives, but I love the concept and poster art and the heart behind the movie. Today, I’m here to discuss The Doll Squad with Mission: Killfast chaser as released on Blu-ray by Vinegar Syndrome. This was an education for me as much as say American Grindhouse was (for which Mikels was interviewed). After listening to his interview on this disc I feel that I understand his perspective and filmmaking style better. Sometimes movies are great because filmmakers are great. Sometimes movies stand on their own. Both movies on this double feature are clearly enhanced by Mikels love for them.

Synopsis from Vinegar Syndrome:

The Doll Squad – a foursome of female agents are out to stop a vicious evil mastermind from unleashing the bubonic plague in this action packed thriller which is rumored to have inspired Charlie’s Angels!

Mission: Killfast - martial arts master, Tiger Yang, faces off against a group of savvy weapons dealers, resulting in a non-stop orgy of shoot-outs, explosions, and bikini clad beauties.


First let’s tackle The Doll Squad. I’m always a fan of this subgenre: women vs. the evil mastermind. That works for me and usually when the ladies in question are extra hot and the baddy bad guy is super sleazy. It makes it easy to root for the good guy and laugh when the aggressor fails. The best reason to enjoy The Doll Squad is for the laughs, unintentional as they may be. We’re talking about some completely phone in dialogue with Mystery Science Theater 3k written all over it. Combine that with off-red blood that is more like Play Doh then carnage and some over-acted, well beyond dramatic kill scenes, and you’ll find something to remember. This isn’t quite the skin flick that you’ll find in Mikels’ other offering on this double feature, but there’s plenty to ogle. While it’s a Blu-ray disc, it certainly protects the quality of film that is. Scratches are generous and appropriate. That’s a signature of a Vinegar Syndrome release, proper wear and tear.

The actual backstory of Mission: Killfast as provided by Mikels himself on the disc is more interesting than the strange martial arts adventure you get in the full length movie. Let’s talk about a movie that takes over a decade to finish and yet looks like it is one solid cohesive movie. Nearly seamless unless you know the backstory. The rest of the picture is an action movie with plenty of skin to keep eyes firmly planted on the screen. Not as much action as I might have expected from a movie with such a rowdy title. I enjoyed this more than The Doll Squad for its all out gonzo feel and for having some genuinely exquisite puffy nipples (a delicacy).

This loaded disc contains commentary from Mikels as well as a video interview with Mikels that is a great addendum to his participation in American Grindhouse. The interview for Mission: Killfast is the feature I enjoyed the most. Fans of schlock cinema will appreciate the lengths an artist and showman like Mikels will go to get a film made while preserving his principles. There’s also an interview with Francine York. The reversible artwork gives you the opportunity to show off the Squad of Killfast cover per your choosing though I prefer The Doll Squad contrast.

Notes: DTS-HD Master Audio, 1.85:1 ratio

The Ted V. Mikels Collection is perfect for the movie fan who doesn’t mind production value that comes second to storytelling. Sexy and dirty but fun without being downtrodden or depressing. Keep an eye out for one of the best head shots during Doll Squad. You’ll know the one by the crazy open-eyed backward fall and the strange makeup pile in the middle of her forehead.

-Doc Terror

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