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Eating Raoul

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Bartel made EATING RAOUL independently after making a name for himself with New World Pictures’ films DEATHRACE 2000 and CANNONBALL. After failing to convince frequent collaborator Roger Corman to finance the film, Bartel turned to his parents who sold their home in order to come up with the $500,000 necessary. He shot it in 21 days… over a year, in a friend’s apartment (which was slated for demolition during the course of that year). The film was made in piecemeal fashion due to its low budget nature, shot mostly on weekends.



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While Hollywood usually liked to see the same money-making formula used over and over in the 80's, occasionally filmmakers took a road less traveled. This was just the case with the offbeat Paul Bartel, especially in this classic dark comedy.

Paul Bartel writes, directs, and stars alongside fellow cult icon Mary Woronov as Paul and Mary Bland, a married couple down on their luck financially, following Paul losing his job at a liquor store. To make matters worse, the Blands are forced to share an apartment complex with a whole host of swingers and otherwise sexually deviant folk whose practices disgust them. After Mary is nearly raped by a swinger and Paul is forced to kill the intruder, the folks discover that not only are the swingers much more promiscuous than them; they are also a great deal wealthier. After robbing the dead man and disposing of the body, the Blands hatch a plan enabling them to kill two birds with one stone.

Enter comedy at its darkest. The pair, after seeking the advice of a dominatrix who had attacked Paul during a mix-up, take out an ad, advertising Mary as a naughty housewife seeking clients to visit her home. The get-rich-quick scheme is fairly straightforward from there, each client attempts to seduce Mary, Paul strikes them with his trademark frying pan and the Blands are one step closer to fending off eviction. However, with corpses piling up the couple feels the need for an increased security system, which is where we meet Raoul, an odd locksmith portrayed wonderfully by Robert Beltran. When Raoul stumbles onto the Blands' scheme during a botched robbery attempt, a deal is struck. The Blands rob the patrons and give the corpses to Raoul, who sells the bodies to a dogfood company and sells their cars on the black market, splitting the profits along the way.

Soon, however, things start to get out of control (as if this plan were ever under control). When Mary is attacked by an always menacing Ed Begley Jr. (as a hippie swinger) and Raoul is forced to step in to do the dirty work, an affair between the sexually bored Mary and the young Latino locksmith ensues. As Paul gets suspicious of the affair, a great battle between him and Raoul erupts as the swinger death toll grows to outrageous proportions. All leading up to a wonderfully dark final dinner scene, a literal interpretation of the title, and the realization of the Blands' dream of owning their own restaurant.

Verdict?

While this film is definitely not for everyone, it was not intended for everyone. It is for fans of the dark comedy genre, likely the parents of the kids that made "Heathers" a classic.

That said, it's also one of the best dark comedies I've seen since I first saw, you guessed it, Heathers. I've always had an affinity for Bartel's strange sense of humor and this certainly hits all of the bases for those who enjoy the bizarre, or even those who really hate swingers.

I consider it a true classic of the genre and a perfect vehicle for the always brilliant and oft underused Mary Woronov.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Cult icons abound, dark comedy at its finest and most menacing.

Weaknesses? Not for the easily disturbed.

Our rating: 9.1 out of 10


Review Written by Carl:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Carl
Eating Raoul