Murder and cannibalism sure are funny, aren’t they? No, really, they are. That’s why everybody thinks Hannibal is so funny. They don’t? Oh, well, maybe if that show had been written and directed by Paul Bartel, with himself playing Hannibal Lecter, that’s what people would think. Bartel, who’d already directed the action-satire Death Race 2000 and its even sillier follow-up Cannonball! finally went full-on, nobody’s safe cynical with his 1982 cult classic Eating Raoul. In fact, it’s almost the very definition of “cult,” a satire so dark that no one is left unoffended. If you’ve read anything about the movie, it would seem like a comedic horror film, but the horror is much more societal than it is visceral, with damning implications for everyone involved in the “Me Generation,” and an ending that deals with grotesquery in a banal and weirdly pleasant way. This is a film with a definite, and deafening, point of view.
Made for almost no budget, Eating Raoul was Bartel’s follow-up to the two earlier Roger Corman-produced action pastiches. Corman’s big complaint with both is that they were too silly, wanting them to be straight-up brutal action, for which Bartel was not …read more