Beyond the limits
Drew Barnhardt on marrying art and exploitation in Rondo – Eye For Film 

The stage is set for shocking events in Rondo

In 1961, posters for Roger Corman’s Edgar Allen Poe adaptation The Pit And The Pendulum promised to pay £10,000 to the family of the first audience member who died of fright. Drew Barnhardt’s Rondo takes a similar approach with a poster warning viewers that what they are about to see may shock them beyond human endurance. It’s weird, it’s wild! the posters warn. It features sex, murder and revenge. Well, what’s not to like?

Of course, it’s a difficult thing to shock audiences in this day and age. When Drew agreed to answer some questions about the film, I began by asking him if this approach was primarily a stylistic thing or was he seriously trying to shock. Does he think, based on reactions so far, that he got away with it?

Do you know what you’re letting yourself in for?
“It’s funny,” he responds. “I never really found anything in the movie ‘shocking’. To me it was all just amusing. I guess that’s a bit of the movie-prankster impulse coming out. I relished the opportunity to use a few cinematic tricks from some of my favourite movies to keep the audience on their toes (and to entertain myself in the process).

“Since it was going to be a low budget affair I knew that the storyline had better keep people interested. Sex. Violence. Twists. Humour. So that was how I approached it; try to keep the audience engaged. If some are shocked then great! If not, then I hope they get a chuckle out of it.”