|Paul Bartel, pictured here, starred in and directed Eating Raoul, his greatest hit as a film maker.|
Eating Raoul (1982)
d. Paul Bartel
Criterion Collection #625
If you are as unfamiliar with the films of Paul Bartel as I was going into watching Eating Raoul, the best way to think of him is as the lesser known cousin of John Waters. Eating Raoul is essentially the hit out of his entire career. It's an early 80s satire that brings to mind, of course, John Waters, but also Repo Man era Alex Cox as well as later filmmakers like Gregg Araki.
The transgressive premise of the film is that married couple Mary and Paul Bland (played by Bartel and his frequent co-star and ex Warhol girl Mary Woronov conspire with Latino hustler Raoul Mendoza to lure "swingers and perverts" to their house through a personal ad, and then to murder the respondees and steal their money.
I think though the most enduring quality of the film is its indieness. Released in 1982, Eating Raoul was a precursor to the indie comedies that flooded the market a decade later, and it probably bears some credit/responsibility for the larger genre of gross comedy typified by classic period Farrelly Brothers films, Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, etc.