Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov, and their trusty frying pan
EATING RAOUL (1982). Director: Paul Bartel. Written by Bartel and Richard Blackburn.

"Horrible, sex-crazed maniacs that no one would miss!"

"Do you think you can buy another frying pan? I'm just a little queasy about cooking in the one we use to kill people."

Conservative wine seller Paul Bland (Paul Bartel) and his nurse-wife Mary (Mary Woronov) are aghast at their huge rent increase, as well as the antics of the won't-take-no-for-an-answer swingers who live and/or party in their Hollywood building. Having already killed off a man who was trying to have his way with Mary, the couple hit upon the idea of advertising for swingers and murdering them for their money, batting every "pervert" on the head with a frying pan. But a shady locksmith  named Raoul (Robert Beltran) figures out what the Blands are doing and wants his cut -- only he's less interested in the money than he is in the bodies! This very dark comedy is completely absorbing and sick, and also highly amusing, if not for every -- pardon me -- taste. Neither of the two leads are exactly highly-skilled comic actors [although Woronov had a funny bit on the TV show Wings years later], but other than that they are well-cast. Woronov is at least professional, but Bartel really isn't much of an actor. Buck Henry certainly scores as the lecherous Mr. Leech, from whom Mary tries to get a loan; Susan Saiger is terrific as a friendly dominatrix; Edie McClurg makes the most of a bit as a bisexual swinger; and Ed Begley Jr. shows up as another wannabee client of the Blands. Beltran, who later had a significant role on Star Trek: Voyager, is excellent as Raoul. At the core Eating Raoul is a study of ultimate hypocrisy, as the Blands' activities are much, much worse than that of the swingers' they abhor.

Verdict: Certainly a different bill of fare. ***.

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