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Danger God (2018) Review

Danger God, formerly Love and Other Stunts, is the biography of Gary Kent who died just a few days ago on May 25th. He was best known as an actor and stuntman, a career he began in 1958 and continued until relatively recently, appearing in Bonehill Road and not just acting but doing stunts in Motorpsycho Maniacs in 2019 when he was in his eighties. 

But that’s not the extent of the role he played in Hollywood. He wrote and directed several films including The Pyramid and Rainy Day Friends. He was a production manager on several films including cult favourites Phantom of the Paradise and The House of Seven Corpses. He was even Al Adamson’s assistant director on the infamous Frankenstein vs. Dracula.

Ironically he had recently gotten mainstream recognition as one of the inspirations for Brad Pitt’s character in Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, in part because of a confrontation he had with Charles Manson at the Spahn Movie Ranch.

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He also made the smart decision to keep the camera on Gary and let him tell his story much of the time. Other footage consists of older TV interviews with Gary and clips of his work in various films. Unlike many similar films, we don’t hear from film historians or others giving their opinion or interpretation of things, just about everything comes directly from the source.

When he does turn the camera on others, it tends to be people he worked with such as John ‘Bud’ Cardos a fellow stuntman who may be best known for directing Kingdom of the Spiders and deserves a film of his own, director Richard Rush who he worked with on The Savage 7 and Psych-Out but ironically not The Stunt Man. Actors Esai Morales whom he directed in Rainy Day Friends and Marc Singer who worked on Street Corner Justice which Gary wrote and served as stunt co-ordinator on, also make appearances.

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Since most of the films he worked on were low budget, or in the case of Al Adamson, no budget films Danger God will have a strong appeal to fans of B movies and grindhouse cinema. Those were the kind of films I grew up watching so I found these behind-the-scenes stories fascinating. The real problem is that with the number of films they had to choose from, Danger God had to leave a lot of familiar titles like The Return of Count Yorga unmentioned, while others like The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant and Bubba Ho-Tep just get a passing mention.

While Danger God mostly focuses on Gaty’s film work, it does touch on a few things from his personal life. His encounter with Charles Manson is mentioned, as is the murder of Al Adamson. If you’re interested in his life and films Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson is highly recommended. Most of the personal anecdotes though concern his time with his third wife Tomi Barrett and their health issues. Near the film’s end, the camera follows him back to his hometown for his sister’s funeral and he recalls family life as he grew up. It gives the viewer some insight into the man without being intrusive.

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Danger God will, as I said, appeal most strongly to fans of older, low budget films. They’ll also be the ones most likely to know who Gary Kent was. But fans of film, in general, will probably enjoy this look back at Hollywood before technology and CGI when things had to be done the hard way. It’s also a portrait of one of the last of a dying breed and someone who several people I know knew and all of whom had only good things to say about him.

Danger God is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital Platforms including Tubi via Wild Eye Releasing. If you’re looking for more films like this, FilmTagger can suggest a few titles for you.

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