(HBO MAX/Criterion/VOD) While film seems to be endlessly fragmenting when it comes to genre, some genres seem to have completely fallen off the map, such as the satirical sex farce, which is the closest genre I can think of for EATING RAOUL.
As the trailer below details, EATING RAOUL is a very conflicted picture that tries to have its cake and eat it too, and mostly succeeds because of its absurdity. It’s about a comically straight-laced couple, Paul & Mary, a.k.a. Mr. And Mrs. Bland, a wine snob (character actor and director of DEATH RACE 2000 Paul Bartel) and a nurse (the distinctive horror character actor Mary Woronov), both of whom retire at night in twin beds, the former hugging a plush wine bottle, the latter clutching a number of stuffed animals. They live in an apartment complex full of swingers, and their American Dream is to own their own restaurant. While they found the perfect spot for their restaurant, someone’s about to grab it unless they’re able to pony up the cash, and quick.
So, they come to the conclusion that most modern America comes to: let’s kill and rob the deviants, one-by-one. They choose to do so with the symbol of American domesticity: the frying pan. Eventually they enlist the help of Raoul (Robert Beltran), a ‘hot-blooded emotional, crazy Chicano’ (their words — not mine) who, while turning the bodies into dog food for extra cash, also woos Mrs. Bland.
No, it’s not a subtle film, but the script is whipsmart:
“Mary, I just killed a man.”
“He was a man, honey. Now he’s just a bag of garbage.”
It’s a crazy script, and a crazy film and, while I don’t think it completely succeeds, it’s extremely audacious and entertaining. Frankly, I’m growing tired of capitalist satire being couched in miserable horror films that barely elicit a laugh.