This is the most famous movie directed by the late Paul Bartel, a
highly successful indie black comedy about sex, murder and cannibalism.
During his life Paul Bartel (1983-2000) was best known
as a prolific supporting actor in films like
PIRANHA, GREMLINS 2, THE USUAL SUSPECTS
and many others. I feel he should be known for the films he
DEATH RACE 2000,
SHELF LIFE and this dark comedy hit from 1982.
EATING RAOUL is enhanced by the talents of the
unforgettable actress Mary Woronov, along with co-writer/associate
producer/supporting player Richard Blackburn (who claims he also
partially directed the film), of
LEMORA: A CHILDíS TALE OF THE SUPERNATURAL.
Incidentally, a Chevy Chase headlined sequel to EATING RAOUL was set to
be made, but the project was cancelled in the wake of Bartelís untimely
Paul and Mary Bland are an upscale--and uptight--couple
who sleep in separate beds. Theyíre looking to open a restaurant but
money troubles halt that dream.
One night a local pervert gets fresh with Mary. Paul
kills the guy by bashing him in the head with a frying pan, and then
filches the money from his wallet. The following night another perv
comes on to Mary and again winds up killed by Paul, giving the Blands
another thousand dollars from the pervís wallet.
Paul and Mary decide to make a business out of luring
perverts to their home and killing them. On the advice of a comely
dominatrix, Mary pretends to be a prostitute while Paul stands by with
the deadly frying pan at the ready.
In this way they kill two guys before Raul, a shady
locksmith, catches them in the act. He demands to be let in on their
scheme, offering to dispose of the corpses by selling Ďem to a local dog
food company, and the Blands reluctantly acquiesce.
A perverse love triangle is formed after Mary
unexpectedly has sex with Raoul. The latter wants to kill off Paul and
have Mary to himself, but Paul catches onto Raoulís scheme. Following a
swingersí party that nets Paul and Mary several thousand dollars--after
Mary stabs to death an overly zealous suitor and a drunken Paul
electrocutes the rest of the partygoers in a hot tub--Paul and Mary
arrive home to confront a supremely pissed-off Raoul, who demands a
portion of the loot. Unfortunately this occurs shortly before a
scheduled dinner with an important restraunteur who wants to help Paul
and Mary achieve their dream. What to do??
In truth, this isnít the best of Paul Bartelís films
(PRIVATE PARTS and SHELF LIFE are stronger): itís raggedy and extremely
cheap-looking, and further marred by an inexcusably shitty DVD print.
Yet it is an unerringly entertaining showcase for Bartelís career-long
fascination with the freakish and perverse. The subject matter is often
downright grisly, but done with just the right amount of comedy to take
the edge off. About that comedy, itís broad to the point of
cartoonishness (and underscored with annoying Looney Tunes-esque music I
could have done without), yet also genuinely funny.
The film is highly plot driven (which probably
accounts for its success), leaving little room for acting or directorial
quirks. Still, Bartel displays enormous low budget inventiveness thatís
sustained throughout the fast moving 83-minute running time, while
performance wise the film belongs to Bartelís frequent co-star Mary
Woronov, whoís never been more perversely seductive onscreen.
20th Century Fox International Classics
Director: Paul Bartel
Producer: Annie Kimmel
Screenplay: Richard Blackburn, Paul Bartel
Cinematography: Gary Theiltges
Editing: Alan Toomayan
Cast: Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov, Robert Beltran, Ed Begley Jr, Buck
Henry, Susan Saiger, Richard Blackburn, (the Real) Don Steele, Edie