Eating Raoul (1982)

eating raoul poster 1982 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Different type of movie

Not for everyone

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Eating Raoul

Studio:  Bartel Films Incorporated Quartet

Genre(s):  Comedy

Release Date(s):  March 24, 1982

MPAA Rating:  R

eating raoul blands paul bartel mary woronov

What a little murder between a husband and wife?

The Blands (Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov) are living in the sin filled world of Hollywood and struggling to survive.  Mary and Paul hope to get a restaurant in the country and abandon the city.  When Mary and Paul accidentally kill one of the multiple swingers in the city, they realize a new source of money.  With the advice of Doris the Dominatrix (Susan Saiger), Paul and Mary set out to get the money they need at any cost, but when a man named Raoul Mendoza (Robert Beltran) becomes involved, things start to change.

Written and directed by Paul Bartel, Eating Raoul is a black comedy.  The film received positive reviews and gained a cult following.  Criterion released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #625).

eating raoul hippie swinger ed begley jr robert beltran

All hippies die!!!

Eating Raoul is one of those weird movies.  It feels pretty underground, but it went relatively mainstream and found its cult audience.  The movie doesn’t take itself seriously, and while easily labeled as a black comedy, it also falls into tons of other categories like parody, farce, and a bit of horror.

A lot Paul Bartel’s films find this odd, campy tone.  The movie’s story is absurd with no real concerns about being caught for murder and no attempts by the characters to disguise themselves or their actions.  The idea is that Hollywood (especially then) was such a cesspool that no one would notice all the swingers disappearing.  It is there where the comedy falls and the viewers just go with it to enjoy it…don’t expect realism.

Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov are a great couple for the movie, and they have appeared in a number of films together.  Bartel always just feels off and Mary Woronov started out as a Warhol actress so she carries the oddity with her as well.  Both actors reprised their roles in Chopping Mall in 1986 (briefly).  Robert Beltran (like a lot of the characters) almost plays a stereotype in the film as Raoul and there are small roles by Ed Begley, Jr., Buck Henry, and Edie McClurg as swingers.

eating raoul dead swingers hot tub

A hot tub full of dead swingers is a hot tub that needs its water emptied…

The movie is very low budget, but that low budget look actually fits with the story.  The characters are scraping by and you don’t expect them to live large.  The sets and locations are often small and dark, and the film is very set based which helped keep costs down.

Eating Raoul definitely isn’t for everyone and has an odd style that will turn off some.  The campy nature of the movie works in the context of this film, but will not set well for all the audience.  It feels a bit like a John Waters movie in look and presentation and Waters (like Bartel) isn’t for everyone.  If you think you can enjoy it, stop and enjoy a nice dish of Raoul.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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