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"Hey, Pam, remember when I said this car was death proof? Well, that wasn't a lie. This car is 100% death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you REALLY need to be sitting in my seat."
Stuntman Mike to Pam just before killing her[source]

Stuntman Mike McKay was the main antagonist in Quentin Tarantino's 5th film, Death Proof. He was a sociopathic serial killer who stalked young women and killed them by crashing his personal Hollywood stunt car in which only his seat is "death proof."

He was portrayed by Kurt Russell, who also played John Ruth in The Hateful Eight and Randy Miller in Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.

Biography

Little is known about the serial killer known as Stuntman Mike beyond his history as an aging stunt driver and his preference in victim: young, unsuspecting women who he stalks from a distance before striking.

Stuntman Mike is first seen in a bar in Austin, Texas, approaching three young women - Arlene Butterfly Machiallie, DJ Jungle Julia Lucai and Shanna Bannana. While he is eating a tray of nachos, he offers a ride home to Pam, an old acquaintance of Julia's, and then recognizes Julia from a billboard ad. Mike approaches her outside, introducing himself before walking back into the bar, explaining his history of stunt double TV show roles to Pam and other patrons. The stuntman then returns to Arlene's group, reciting part of a poem to fulfill a radio challenge by Julia that would see Arlene offer a lap dance in exchange; she tries to nullify the deal, due to having seen Mike's car earlier in the day. Asking if he has been following them, Mike puts her at ease (partly by saying she's chicken), and Arlene agrees to the dance.

The three women prepare to depart, while Pam has been impressed by Mike and accepts a ride home from him, considering him to be teetotaler and a safe ride. Mike takes Pam to his matte black 1971 Chevy Nova, which is a stunt car rigged with a safety cage inside. As Mike drives Pam off, he reveals his true nature, as it becomes clear he is trying to kill her, reminding her that his car is "death proof", but only to the driver. Since the passenger side has no safety restraints at all, he kills the pleading woman by driving recklessly and then slamming on the brakes, which smashes her skull into the dashboard. Mike speeds off, leaving behind photos he took earlier of the three other women, so as not to get caught with any evidence. He eventually comes on their car on an empty road, and drives at full speed directly into it. The force of the impact kills all four women (there was an older lady driver in the car known as Lanna Frank, who they met up with earlier at the bar).

The local hospital finds Mike with only minor injuries, and asserts that since Mike was sober while the four women were intoxicated, he cannot be charged. This concerns Texas Ranger Earl McGraw, who believes the collision to be intentional murder for purpose of sexual gratification, but cannot press charges as the women were driving under the influence. McGraw however, warns Mike that should this happen again, he'd "make damn sure" it wasn't in Texas.

14 months later, Mike eyes another trio of women in Lebanon, Tennessee - Kim Mathis, Abernathy Ross, and Lee Montgomery - outside of a convenience store before driving off. The three women picks up another friend, a stuntwoman named Zoë Bell), so they can perform a stunt called "Ship's Mast" with a 1970 Dodge Challenger.

The girls (except Lee Montgomery) enjoy the stunt, until Mike shows up and rear ends their car at high speed. The two cars engage in a harrowing high-speed chase for a distance before they both spin out on opposite sides of the roads, and Zoe is finally thrown from the car's hood. Mike gets out to brag to the girls but Kim fires a gun, wounding him in the left arm. As Mike gets back in the car and flees, Zoe shows that she is ok, and the three women agree to get revenge on Mike. Wounded, Mike drives away, panicked and in pain, and stops to treat his injury by downing it with whisky just as Kim rear-ends his car, and Zoe gets out to bash him with a steel pipe. The chase is now reversed, as Mike tries to flee their vengeance, but eventually seems to lose them after much collateral damage. His hopes of escape don't last long, as one last surprise ram finally knocks his car over and totals it. The girls pull Mike out of the car over his blubbered apologies, and beat him savagely in the head until he falls unconscious. After a short credits sequence, Abernathy delivers a final axe kick to Mike's head, crushing his skull and killing him for good.

Personality

Stuntman Mike is charming, loquacious and rugged, quick to impress people (particularly attractive women) with his stories about working as a stuntman in the glory days of racing movies like Vanishing Point and The Cannonball Run. Once they are in his power, however, he reveals his true self: a sadistic psychopath who derives excitement and warped sexual pleasure from killing women with his specially made, "death proof" car - either by running them over, crashing into them, or purposely getting into accidents that are fatal to his passengers, but leave him without a scratch. Any affability or affection he shows to the women is so pure manipulation to lure them near his car and kill them for satisfying his lustful urges. When Mike apologizes upon nearly losing the chase, it's obviously a lie of fake remorse to save his own skin by begging for mercy.

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