I had a difficult time watching “Rondo and Bob,” a choppy, rough around the edges documentary about the career of the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” art director Robert “Bob” Burns and his obsession with 1940s film actor Rondo Hatton.
The towering, strange looking appearance of Hatton was caused by a hormonal disorder known as acromegaly, and his unique physical characteristics got him cast in many horror films of the past. In the film, writer / director Joe O’Connell intersects the stories of the two men, one an average looking weirdo and the other a strange looking normal guy, with mediocre results.
The film is amateurishly made, with crude dramatic recreations that are extremely rough to watch. The performances are bush league and take away from the story. Thankfully, the more traditional talking head aspects of the documentary are far better, especially when O’Connell adds in old footage from fan conventions and interviews those who knew and worked with Bob. Looking more closely at the Rondophile’s letters shines a light into the psyche of an obsessed fanboy.
The sad thing about “Rondo and Bob” is that while the story is mildly interesting, the film didn’t make me care to learn more about the subject. A good documentary inspires viewers to seek out more on the topic, and this one did not.