Directed By: Paul Bartel
Starring: Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel, Robert Beltran
Tag line: "A tasty comedy of bad manners"
Trivia: The movie started filming in the spring of 1980 but was not completed until February 1982
Paul and Mary Bland (Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov) dream of opening up a restaurant in the country, but lack the funds to make it happen. Then, one night, a horny swinger breaks into their apartment and attacks Mary, forcing Paul to hit him over the head with a frying pan, killing him instantly. After finding several hundred dollars in their victim's wallet, and realizing that he is but one of many sexual predators living in Los Angeles, Paul and Mary come up with what seems to be a foolproof plan to raise some cash: lure perverts to their house, then murder them and steal their money. With the help of a friendly dominatrix named Doris (Susan Saiger), the couple places an ad in a local sex magazine, then rakes in the dough as a steady stream of the city’s foulest, most depraved citizens beat a path to their door.
Things take an unexpected turn, however, when Raoul (Robert Beltran), a professional thief, breaks into the Blands’ apartment and finds several dead bodies lying in their kitchen. Instead of rushing to the nearest police station, Raoul talks the gullible couple into making him their partner, and soon Paul and Mary are splitting their "profits" three ways. But the whole arrangement gets a little dicey once the Blands figure out that Raoul is after more than just money.
Despite its dark subject matter, director Paul Bartel’s Eating Raoul is very mannered in its approach to the material, and at times even feels like it could be an episode of Leave it to Beaver. Though surrounded on all sides by deviants, Paul and Mary live a simplistic, asexual lifestyle (they sleep in twin beds), and rarely allow their emotions to get the better of them. In fact, Bartel’s and Woronov’s deadpan delivery is responsible for some of the film’s biggest laughs (when Paul announces he’s going to the store to buy groceries, Mary asks him, quite matter-of-factly, to pick up a new frying pan, because she’s “a little squeamish about using the one we use to kill people”.). As for their partner, Raoul, he is, by his own admission, “A hot-blooded, emotional, crazy Chicano”, and Beltran’s occasionally fiery performance adds just the right bit of spice to the mix.
With a smart script chock full of quotable lines (“Why don't you go to bed, honey? I'll bag the Nazi and straighten up”) and cameo appearances by a handful of well-known celebrities (including Ed Begley Jr., Buck Henry, and Edie McClurg), Eating Raoul is that rare comedy that gets funnier each time you see it.