Friday, August 30, 2019

Death of Monte Dhooge

Obituary for Monte Dhooge, cinematographer for Scream Test.

Monday, May 13, 2019

"Austin-set" series will shoot in... Los Angeles!

Bah ha ha! I curse you, Austin!
Hat tip to Joe Gross at the Austin American-Statesman for this scoop:

Rob Lowe will star in Fox series 9-1-1: Lone Star, a spin-off of Ryan Murphy’s show 9-1-1. It will be set in Austin, but shot in Los Angeles because they look exactly the same. Cough cough.

More from The Hollywood Reporter: "The series follows a sophisticated New York firefighter (Lowe) who, along with his son, relocate to Austin and must try to balance saving those who are at their most vulnerable with solving the problems in his own life."

I expect to see Rob at at Joan's on 3rd in West Austin, ur, Hollywood, soon.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Granny from 'Chain Saw' found!

Photo © Joe M. O'Connell

It took more than a year to track her down, but we finally unearthed Granny, as created by Robert A. Burns for the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre. She was in an undisclosed--and quite secret--location in Texas.

The purpose? Film her for my documentary Rondo and Bob about Chain Saw art director Bob Burns and his obsession with the actor Rondo Hatton. We are entering the main editing phase of the project so it was particularly sweet to find Granny, who is holding up nicely. My shooter/editor Kirk kept the zombies at bay while I took this snap.

You can see more about the documentary at or find us on Facebook at

Monday, October 30, 2017

Friday, June 9, 2017

My next documentary is 'Rondo and Bob'

The cat has clawed its way out of the bag. I'm working on a documentary called Rondo and Bob about The Texas Chain Saw Massacre art director Robert A. Burns and the actor Rondo Hatton, whom Bob Burns was obsessed with. (See more at the web site here:

Robert A. Burns

 Austin American-Statesman columnist John Kelso made the announcement in his column:

Joe O’Connell is doing his part to promote Austin’s eccentricity.

O’Connell, an old newspaper guy who has written about film for several Texas papers, is shooting a documentary about the late Robert Burns, the man who put the gore in the original “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” movie.

In case you haven’t been keeping up with your blood and guts horror classics, Burns did the macabre artwork for the film. Although you wouldn’t guess he’d head in that direction if you met him; Burns was a real sweetheart, a soft-spoken guy with what I suspect was a genius IQ.

There’s never been another one like Robert Burns. They didn’t throw away the mold, because there was no mold. Although his South Austin home was a bit moldy.

Rondo Hatton

Burns lived in a two-story dust-collector in South Austin furnished with props from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” There was the arm chair, so-called because of the prosthetic arms Burns attached. When I visited Burns, a battery-powered rubber hand was crawling across the floor upstairs with a knife run through it, a prop Burns put together for an upcoming film project.
Burns made these masks.

What project? Who knows? But I’m betting it wasn’t “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.”

During my visit Burns sat me down and showed me the massacre movie on a small TV. His review? He had one complaint: All that screaming from characters being hacked to pieces made the film extremely loud.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

'The Son' to rise again on AMC

Good news for the Austin film/TV industry: Deadline reports that a second, 10-episode season of "The Son" is slated for AMC and almost certainly will be shot largely in Central Texas.

The show starring Pierce Brosnan (whose Texas accent is a bit "creative") is based on Philipp Meyer's epic novel of the same name, and the author is a driving force in the series as well. Read my interview with him in the Austin Chronicle.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Patty Hearst gets kidnapped in Austin

Filming begins next week in Austin on a limited-run retelling of heiress Patty Hearst's kidnapping, my sources confirm. It will continue through June 10.

It tells the tale of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst granddaughter, who was abducted from her Berkeley apartment by terror group the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974 and soon was sporting a gun of her own during a bank robbery.

The series comes from Austin-based Bat Bridge Entertainment, which shot some scenes at a former bank in Taylor last summer

Casting calls talk of a "major network" behind the "Untitled PH Series" seeking " featured extras for recreations of real people, so the actors will be matching historical figures, and their faces will not be seen straight-on." That network is either CNN or CBS. The latter talked of just such a series last year.

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Also currently shooting around Austin are a Comedy Central pilot Power Couple and Andrew Bujalski's indie film Support the Girls.