Gone in 60 Seconds: A Stunt Gone Too Far
H.B. Halicki was a producer, actor, and stuntman, whose love of cars influenced him to eventually own his own auto body shop at the age of 17. Halicki later bought an auto store, an auto salvage company, and also joined the real estate industry. Halicki wrote the film Gone in 60 Seconds, also starring in and producing the movie.
H.B. Halicki is best known for the action films that he made, and was known to many of his fans as ‘The Car Crash King’. Halicki’s Gone in 60 Seconds (1974) is a movie about a group of car thieves who must steal 48 cars for a drug lord in a limited amount of time, which ultimately leads to chaos. In Gone in 60 Seconds, Halicki’s most notable car chase destroyed 100 cars.
During the filming of Gone in 60 Seconds 2 in 1989, which was also soon after Halicki’s marriage to Denice Shakarian, one of the most deadly stunts was to be performed in Tonawanda, New York. During this stunt, a 161 foot water tower was supposed to collapse; support cables were hooked to a bulldozer because one leg of the water tower had been purposely disconnected for the shot. Unfortunately, the tower fell too soon and ended up crushing Halicki.
Because this stunt was extremely serious, the town that the stunt was to be filmed in demanded an 8 million dollar certificate of insurance. Soon after the accident, a high level of controversy arose as to whether the stunt should have been performed, being that it was obviously much too dangerous for most people to even consider.
Many experts claim that this stunt could have been done on a small scale model, which would have ensured the safety of all involved. Because of this disaster and similar incidents, the movie making industry has become much more strict on the level of danger allowed in certain stunts. As a result, thanks to new forms of technology, much of the danger that was once associated with stunts can now be simulated through software design programs, completely eliminating incidents similar to what caused the death of Halicki. Many producers have utilized this new technology to create realistic graphics of falling buildings and other infrastructure within their movies. Two popular movies of 2012, Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises, both utilized digital software programs to get the effects that many directors of the past were forced to manually recreate.
The Dark Night Rises (2012)