Gene Simmons, Movie Star: Exploring the Demon’s Film Career
He’ll always be most closely identified with his career in music — particularly his decades with Kiss — but Gene Simmons has never been content with a single media empire. Almost as soon as Kiss achieved household-name status, Simmons set about using the band’s success as a launchpad into Hollywood — and even though he’s never come close to winning an Oscar, he’s put together a fairly lengthy filmography over the years.
Now, we’re not necessarily saying Simmons has signed off on any classic scripts since making his acting debut. In fact, setting aside documentary and television appearances, many of his projects have been low-budget affairs — including a string of ’80s direct-to-video efforts that spent many lonely nights on Blockbuster store shelves while waiting for the new-release stock to deplete and force desperate renters to take a chance on an action flick starring John Stamos or Rutger Hauer.
That said, it takes guts to get up on camera — and while Simmons may not have worked his way up to leading-man status, he did show an admirable willingness to try just about anything onscreen, including starring as a transvestite bad guy and filming a role in a supremely bizarre Japanese movie about a kid forced into a popular death metal band against his will. Whether you’re looking to program a Gene Simmons film festival or simply curious about what he was up to between Kiss records over the years, we’ve got a list of movie appearances that might surprise you.