Award Productions cameraman Peter Koziell works on the reality TV series pilot for "Hell Drivers," commissioned by Country Music Television

Award Productions cameraman Peter Koziell works on the reality TV series pilot for "Hell Drivers," commissioned by Country Music Television

Good news for Hell Drivers fans who need a daredevil fix beyond the one-hour documentary…

Award Productions just wrapped up its work on a Hell Drivers reality TV pilot developed for Country Music Television.

Stay tuned for more info on how you can watch Crash, Rocky, Doug and Lou mix it up with CMT nation!

Posted by: helldriversmovie | June 26, 2009

“Hell Drivers” wins Best Documentary at Michigan’s Hell Fest!

"Hell Drivers" wins Best Documentary audience award at Hell Fest!

"Hell Drivers" wins Best Documentary at Hell Fest!

You know that feeling when you find a $20 bill inside your sportscoat?

That’s how we feel about eight months after “Hell Drivers” screened at Michigan’s Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival — in the gritty heartland of traditional county fair daredevil shows.

Almost as cool as getting our doorbell rung by Publisher’s Clearinghouse, we got this trophy declaring we won the Hell’s Half Mile audience award for best documentary.

Maybe “Hell Drivers” simply fits their Hellish brand, but we doubt the voting was fixed. Daredevil Rocky “Hardcore” Hauri parked the Rockymobile in front of the theater and spent a few days charming the crowds.

The HHM trophy came with a note apologizing for the late notification, but being late only enhanced the surprise.

Now, we’re headed to the closet to check the pockets of our sportjackets.

Posted by: helldriversmovie | February 24, 2009

‘Car Talk’ guys offer stunt advice: Look like Tom Cruise

tom-cruise-stunt-driver

Tom and Ray Magliozzi, NPR’s “Car Talk Guys,” have two pieces of advice for young whippersnappers who want to snap their necks in the stunt driving business:

1. Check out Bobby Ore’s Motion Picture Stunt Driving School, which has locations in California and Florida; and

2. Have movie star looks.

From the Magliozzi brothers’ recent “Car Talk” column:

Ray: But you’re not going to take a two-day Bobby Ore course and come out of there ready to drive in commercials. You’ll need a lot of practice to get good at it, and you generally have to pay to practice on courses. And that assumes you have some talent for stunt driving in the first place.

Tom: If you get that far, then you’ll need to beg, cajole and harass commercial coordinators to hire you. This involves, among other things, hiding in people’s bushes and jumping out with fresh cappuccino.

Ray: Of course, you may also luck out. Sometimes TV shows or movies will hire a stunt driver based solely on looks. So, for instance, if you happen to look like Tom Cruise from behind, you might get a driving job for that reason alone.

Tom: Unfortunately, if, like my brother, you look like Tom Cruise’s behind, that’s not going to help you.

Posted by: helldriversmovie | January 26, 2009

King Kong Knievel, watch your back for Monkey Knievel!

Bizarre Magazine has discovered a "Simian Stuntman"

Bizarre Magazine has discovered a "Simian Stuntman"

Bizarre magazine has some “breaking news” about a motorcycle-riding Indonesian monkey who wears an Evel Knievel jumpsuit and performs “just a few miles from where incoming President Barack Obama went to school.”

Talk about stretching the Obama angle!

Apparently, PETA doesn’t have much clout in the Land of Volcanoes:

“Monkey Knievel is dressed to kill, and his spectacular outfit and props attract crowds who are all willing to pay good money to see him ride down flights of stairs, zoom up and down busy roads and even throw in the odd wheelie here and there. Unsurprisingly, his handler, Pak Sawal, is delighted with the attention the hirsute hellraiser is getting.

Though the practise of Topeng Monyet is attracting controversy even in the traditional cultural landscape of Indonesia, it seems unlikely that the reproaches of animal welfare organisations will hold much sway with the impoverished slum dwellers who rely on the performing animals for an income.”

Monkey Knievel no doubt works for a lower salary than King Kong Knievel, a.k.a. daredevil Louis Re, who is a human being full time.

The novelty act is just the latest in a long string of Knievel-themed sideshows. Pop culture guru Steve Mandich has been tracking the trend of Evel-inspired entertainment (scroll down to “Performers”) and has even uncovered a Knievel drag queen.

Posted by: helldriversmovie | November 17, 2008

Running With Needles: How Rocky Hardcore spends up to 18 hours a day

Craft guru Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood with Rocky Hardcore

Craft guru Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood with Rocky Hardcore

It’s the stunt offseason for traveling daredevils, and Rocky Hardcore is filling up to 18 hours a day immortalizing his work through fancy stitchwork.

We’ve said this before and now we’ll shout it from the top of the bleachers, “Martha Stewart, you should interview the world’s only embroidery-savvy stuntman!”

Jennifer, who writes the popular “Running With Needles” crafts column for the Grand Rapids Press, recently spent a day with Rocky while he was promoting our documentary at the Thriller! Chiller! Film Festival.

She is filled with awe and admiration for the Rock, noting that spending most of his waking hours in the offseason on embroidery is truly “hardcore.”

Here’s some breaking news that Jennifer uncovered that we did not learn during our endless hours with Mr. Hardcore:

Hauri’s craft history can be traced to the day in third grade when he ripped his pants at school.

“I thought I was going to be able to get out of school for the day, and the teacher gave me a threaded needle and said, ‘Fix ‘em.’ So I went in a bathroom stall and patched them together.”

That tough-love experience prepared him well to learn to stitch a design from a comic book during fourth-grade summer school. The teacher had the students pin a page from a comic book onto a piece of fabric and taught them to trace the outline with a chain stitch.

Rocky’s latest project is transforming a pair of U.S. Navy surplus coveralls, which he snagged at Goodwill, into a fully-decorated stunt uniform.

Photo courtesy Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood, CraftSanity.com

Photo courtesy Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood, CraftSanity.com

And Jennifer was able to capture some LIVE ACTION EMBROIDERY at her edgy and whimsical “CraftSanity” blog:

 

We’re also grateful to Jennifer for breaking some genuine stunt news. Straight from Rocky’s mouth:

“I was the first person in the world to do a jump in a motor home towing a boat and trailer, the first person in the world to jump a wrecker towing a car, the second person in the world to fly a full-sized garbage truck, and I want to be the first person in the world to have a school bus standing on its rear end vertically and drive into it with a stock passenger car and flip it over top of me,” he said. “Everyone I know says it can’t be done.”

And Rocky was thrilled to get a bit of press outside of the normal racetrack arena. “I’m glad to finally meet someone who understands what I do,” he said.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood, CraftSanity.com

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood, CraftSanity.com

frontnew

If you like crafts as much as stunts, check out Jennifer’s latest discovery: Happy Cork People!

Posted by: helldriversmovie | November 10, 2008

Why “Incredible Stunts” photog is in the Stunt Hall of Fame

New photography coffee table book available at IncredibleFeatures.com

New photography coffee table book available at IncredibleFeatures.com

Jeffery R. Werner thinks of photographers as the “custodians of history,” so his nickname of “The da Vinci of Daredevil Photography” is quite the compliment.

Werner has traveled for 30 years in search of the world’s most amazing stunts. We know about him because he was in Kingman, Arizona for Doug Danger‘s “I Dare You” jump over a jumbo jet.  When you watch Danger’s feat on video, it is over in a few seconds.  But stare at it in Werner’s book and it makes you freeze and appreciate how insane Danger’s accomplishment really was.

Doug seemingly hangs in the air forever.

Doug Danger photo courtesy of Jeffery R. Werner/IncredibleFeatures.com

Doug Danger photo courtesy of Jeffery R. Werner/IncredibleFeatures.com

A coffee table book is the ideal vehicle for adrenaline junkies to savor their favorite daredevils making the impossible possible. When retelling the jumbo jet story, Doug likes to jokingly complain that he wasn’t even served a complimentary drink on his flight. Usually this gets a laugh from the radio DJs.

Steve Hudis photo courtesy of Jeffery R. Werner/IncredibleFeatures.com

Steve Hudis photo courtesy of Jeffery R. Werner/IncredibleFeatures.com

Evel Knievel was well known for jumping his motorcycle over busses. Daredevil Steve Hudis thought the opposite might be funny — jumping a bus over motorcycles! This surreal act was conducted for the same stuntmasters who dreamed up Doug’s airplane extravaganza — the “I Dare You” specials on UPN television.

Spanky Spangler photo courtesy of Jeffery R. Werner/IncredibleFeatures.com

Spanky Spangler photo courtesy of Jeffery R. Werner/IncredibleFeatures.com

In front of 55,000 people at the Houston Astrodome, daredevils Spanky Spangler and Randy Hill crashed in midair above a row of junk cars for cushioning. Their 1981 head-on crash was the equivalent of hitting a brick wall at 120 mph!

Spangler and Hill tried to duplicate their midair spectacle in San Antonio in 1993, but things went horribly wrong. Instead of colliding at their front bumpers, Spangler’s car crashed down on Hill’s roof and crushed him.

A remorseful Spangler is interviewed in the book, calling his friend Hill’s death the equivalent of “losing his right arm.”

Eddie Kidd photo courtesy of Jeffery R. Werner/IncredibleFeatures.com

Eddie Kidd photo courtesy of Jeffery R. Werner/IncredibleFeatures.com

British daredevil Eddie Kidd took two years to get permission from the Chinese government to leap over the Great Wall. The wondrous Wall itself isn’t much of an obstacle — averaging 25 feet in height, 15 to 30 feet in width at the base, and 12 feet width at the top — but Doug Danger learned how easy it is to almost die over a few measley cars.

Kidd had a 600 foot drop and the Yangtze River to worry about, with only a “crude bamboo ramp” and a safety cushion of cardboard boxes to stop him. According to Werner, Kidd hit the bamboo “with only inches to spare.”

Rick Meisel photo courtesy of Jeffery R. Werner/IncredibleFeatures.com

Rick Meisel photo courtesy of Jeffery R. Werner/IncredibleFeatures.com

Six pairs of handcuffs and two leg irons might excite bondage fans, but the rest of us are shaking our heads about what motivates Rick Meisel to perform the “World’s Cleanest Escape Act.”

The chained-up Meisel scrunches himself inside a washing machine and churns around with the suds. I can’t even open my own washing machine — from the outside — while it is in the middle of a cycle. So this is absolutely an impressive feat. Even if he does admit surgically altering his body to be more accommodating to the shape of the drum.

Werner categorizes Washing Machine Boy in his “Beyond Reality” section, which truly could be renamed “Psychotic Entertainers.” Another genius, Jesse Caigoy from the Phillippines, picks up razor blades with his eyelids and walks barefoot on a balance beam made from sharpened machete blades. With the blade edge perpendicular to his foot.

Caigoy calls himself “Mr. Pain.” This a case where the photography may be beautiful, but the picture itself will give you hives.

Werner, the first still photographer to be inducted into the StuntWorld Hall of Fame, dedicates his first book to same daredevil legend worshipped by Doug Danger and most of the other stunt performers featured in his book.

“A man can fall many times in life, but he’s never a failure until he refuses to get up.”

—- Evel Knievel

The author also once dreamed of zipping up in a leather jumpsuit. “Then there was the Minnesota teenager who after watching Knievel, yearned only for a motorcycle of his own. Even a Vespa, for Chrissakes,” he writes. “But his mother put the kibosh on that, citing a neighborhood kid who’d been injured in a motorcycle accident and that was that. Well, not quite.”

The young Minnesota kid got to live an adventurous life, after all. And even better, he gets to walk away unscathed from every fiery crash and death-defying jump!

For information on ordering the Incredible Stunts coffee table book, click here!

Posted by: helldriversmovie | October 16, 2008

Hell Drivers crashes the Granite State!

New Hampshire is where Doug Danger first enshrined himself in the Guinness Book of World Records.

And New Hampshire is where the daredevil died and came back to life.

So it’s only fitting that “Hell Drivers” makes a big splash in the Granite State.

We play the New Hampshire Film Festival in beautiful seaside Portsmouth on October 16 and October 19:

October 16 — 12:30 p.m. in the gorgeous Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St.

October 19 — 11 a.m. in the Muddy River Smokehouse, 21 Congress St.

Stacy Milbouer, the edgy metro columnist for the Nashua Telegraph, hails the comic book hero feel and tone of “Hell Drivers.”

Robin Young, one of our favorite National Public Radio hosts, lauds Hell Drivers for capturing a lost slice of Americana, or as she puts it, “an endangered breed.”

And Rosemary Ford, of the Lawrence Eagle Tribune, serves up our favorite lines by far:

“Did Scorsese get to set a man on fire? Did Spielberg get to make gasoline bombs in a Ziploc bag?

Probably not — but Koziell did.

Peter Koziell is the 35-year-old Methuen filmmaker who also regularly dons a gorilla suit to market his latest film, “Hell Drivers: America’s Original Crash Test Dummies” — giving new meaning to the term “gorilla marketing.”

Come see what Stacy, Robin and Rosemary are raving about — and also experience one of America’s best small cities for brunch. We highly recommend Popovers on the Square for their popovers!

Posted by: helldriversmovie | October 16, 2008

Why won’t the Shiawassee County Fair give Rocky a chance?

Ironically, Rocky Hardcore Hauri is much better known at racetracks and county fairs outside his native Michigan.

Jim “Crash” Moreau, a.k.a. The Maine Maniac, gets the same shabby treatment in his home state.

Maybe it’s like that old tendency to NOT visit the most popular tourist attractions in your homestate — except when you are on a third grade field trip. We take for granted the treasures that lie in our own backyard.

Rocky tells his hometown newspaper, the Owosso Argus-Press, that he can’t get the fair or the local Owosso Speedway to return his phonecalls. Good for the Argus-Press for contacting the racetrack officials to ask why.

They got a wishy-washy answer, but at least Rocky’s now on their radar screen.

Meanwhile, the Flint Journal just had a blast hanging out with Rocky and checking out his needlepoint murals of his favorite stunts. As we’ve long maintained, Rocky’s needle skills deserve attention from Martha Stewart!

Posted by: helldriversmovie | October 8, 2008

Rocky’s Magical Michigan Tour!

While the John McCain presidential campaign is fleeing Michigan, scrappy daredevil Rocky “Hardcore” Hauri is filling the void.

Rocky, who’s worked a variety of odd jobs to supplement his stuntman income, knows far more about the economy than McCain. And also knows exactly how many houses he has. If you think those are ridiculous comparisons, perhaps you shouldn’t be coming to a daredevil Web site for political commentary. Fact is, with that ridiculous $700 billion bailout, we’re all walking the tightrope now — without a safety net.

So, in promotional appearances for the “Hell Drivers” movie, Rocky is trekking across Michigan this month to attend film festivals in Bay City, Grand Rapids and Flint. Here’s the official Rocky Tour Schedule:

October 5 — Hell’s Half Mile Film Festival, Bay City: The ironically named “Hell” film and music festival is a perfect match with our brand — and in the place that gave birth to the Bay City Rollers. We’re loving it.

October 18 — Flint Film Festival: Michael Mooreville, though he has nothing to do with this festival. One of the 450 cities worldwide that’s lost more than 10 percent of its population since 1950. But most important, “The Vehicle City!”

October 25 — Thriller! Chiller! Film Festival in Grand Rapids: This theater is absolutely gorgeous and we LOVE the film mix of Hollywood classics interspersed with indie gems. We’re actually programmed up against Monsters, Inc. Is there any kid alive who hasn’t already seen that?

Rocky just got back from the Hell’s Half Mile Festival and here is his brief review:

“They freaking loved it!!!!!!”

“They” being the audience. Six exclamation points from Rocky, sometimes a very mellow and reserved personality, is the equivalent of four stars from Roger Ebert.

Rocky will be our eyes, ears and heart out in Michigan, because unfortunately our film festival travel budget is extremely tight. Well, let’s just bare all and say “extremely depleted.”

Ironically, as Mr. Hardcore travels across his home state, he rarely performs at local shows due to promoters’ liability concerns. Rocky addressed this problem in an exclusive interview with the Midland Daily News:

“Michigan motor sports fans are getting the shaft,” Hauri said. “Promoters have no idea what we do and how simple it is.”

Perhaps Rocky’s Magical Michigan Tour will convince local promoters to let him show his stuff on the racetrack. In the meantime, Rocky’s nostalgic journey is the ultimate tribute to his father, legendary stuntman and thrill show mechanic, John Hauri.

The elder Hauri starred in the Aut Swenson Thrillcade, a wild blend of circus acts (including a Miss America archery champion) and stunts; and Danny Fleenor’s Hurricane Hell Drivers.

We LOVE the pirate-themed helmet. Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Stay in touch here for more eyewitness accounts and testimonials about Hell’s Half Mile and the rest of the Michigan tour dates. We are hopeful that we can also arrange a Detroit-area screening and possibly Ann Arbor, too. If you are a car or motorcycle enthusiast from Detroit or Ann Arbor or anywhere else we haven’t screened in gorgeous Michigan, please get in touch at helldrivers @ comcast. net

Posted by: helldriversmovie | September 8, 2008

Want to see “Hell Drivers” screen in your hometown?

Life on the road for the independent filmmaker certainly mirrors the lifestyle of the traveling county fair daredevil.

We just bleed less often.

In this age of instant DVD and YouTube gratification, we still maintain there is nothing comparable to enjoying a film with a live audience.

If you know of a film festival, auto or motorcycle museum, classic car event or motorcycle event you believe is the ideal forum to screen “Hell Drivers,” please get in touch with us at helldrivers (at) comcast (dot) net

(Replace the “(at)” with @ and the “(dot)” with the .) Sorry if that comes across as patronizing, but a bunch of car buffs we know are not so savvy with computer stuff. Just like John McCain)

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