Texas Frightmare Weekend: RONDO AND BOB – Interview With Filmmaker Joe O’Connell and Stuntman Gary Kent

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Dallas screening of the documentary about Robert Burns—the genius who created the look of the original TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE—and his obsession with cult actor Rondo Hatton

Interview by Paul Salfen

Dallas screening TONIGHT at 8:00 p.m.

RONDO AND BOB focuses on Robert A. Burns, a horror film legend for creating the look of seminal films THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, RE-ANIMATOR and THE HOWLING. Burns concocted iconic Leatherface masks and scoured the countryside for bones that filled the low-budget CHAIN SAW set.

Burns was obsessed with actor Rondo Hatton (aka the Creeper), an average man whose face was transformed into a distorted mask by acromegaly because of his deformity found his way into films in the 1930s and ‘40s.

The film reveals both men’s lives/careers through recreations, archival footage and interviews to reveal Burns as a normal-looking man who was brimming with creative weirdness and Hatton as a regular guy cursed with a hideous look. Burns thought himself incapable of love while Hatton found his soulmate.

SPARK OF THE DOCUMENTARY
Burns’ longtime friend Gary Kent, who plays Rondo’s doctor in the reenactments in the RONDO AND BOB, introduced then film journalist Joe O’Connell to Burns in 2000. Burns gave O’Connell a copy of his unproduced screenplay RONDO AND MAE. The documentary which includes reenactment segments follows Burns as he searches for Rondo’s widow, Mae Hatton, and learns his idol’s true story.

“The visual genius Bob Burns brought to horror films is enough to rate a documentary, but I was drawn in by his obsession with Rondo Hatton. I was compelled to tell both men’s very human stories,” said O’Connell. Kent is the subject of O’Connell’s first documentary DANGER GOD about Kent’s B-movie/stuntman career. Kent was partial inspiration for Brad Pitt’s stuntman character in the film, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.

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