A few months back, Quentin Tarantino released a film which starred Brad Pitt as a stunt man and double to a famous actor. Pitt’s character was a bit over the top at times, but believe it or not, his Cliff Booth was an amalgamation of a few different real-life individuals. One of these badass individuals was prolific actor and stunt man, Gary Kent, whose life and career is showcased in Joe O’Connell’s documentary, Danger God.
Starring in over 100 films spanning multiple decades, Gary Kent was an actor, stunt double, special effects artist, writer, and director. His time in Hollywood started in the sixties, where he found most of his notoriety as a B-movie mainstay.
Danger God documents this start to his film career, from his first job doubling for Jack Nicholson, who he would go on to work with a total of six times, to finally writing and directing his own feature films.
Comprised of interview footage from friends, family members, fellow stunt workers, and most importantly Kent himself, this 100 minute documentary tells it all, from the highs to the lows.
Gary Kent started his career rather spontaneously, never being properly trained but diving into his work headfirst… figuratively and literally. Having worked on as many films as he has, he’s had his fair share of injuries and heartaches, but has also experienced some of life’s greatest triumphs through this work, as well.
Danger God does a remarkable job of recounting how Gary met his first and second wives and how his children and other family were a huge part of his success. We are taken on a journey not only through his film career, but also on a personal ride all the way up to his second wife’s passing and his own eventual battle with cancer.
Maybe, like me, you’ve never heard Gary Kent’s name before. If that’s the case, I strongly suggest giving this documentary a watch.
If you are currently, or have ever been, interested in the old drive-in movies of the grindhouse era, Gary Kent is a name worth knowing. He’s starred in films like The Thrill Killers, Hell’s Angels on Wheels, and 1968’s Psych-Out, a film in which he partook in an acid trip for the first time just to make sure he could bring authenticity to his role and the stunts necessary to the story.
His career didn’t stop there, of course. He went on to become stunt coordinator in newer films, which we are all familiar with later in his career, as well. The likes of 1982’s slasher The Forest and the Bruce Campbell starrer Bubba Ho-Tep were created with a little help from the energizer bunny of stunt work.
Gary Kent has seen it all in filmmaking and has even had some chance encounters with infamous cult leader, Charles Manson, on the iconic Spahn Ranch, and worked numerous times with filmmaker Al Adamson who was brutally murdered shortly after speaking with Kent on the phone.
Danger God is now available on DVD from Wild Eye Releasing. Pick up your copy today to learn about one of the hardest working men from the drive-in exploitation heyday and to hear of these stories firsthand.
I give this doc 3.5 stunts gone wrong out of 5.