Paul Bartel (born 6 August, 1938) was a classic example of an alternative film director (think Ed Wood), but in his case, with real talent. His time to shine was in Eating Raoul (1982), which he also co-wrote and directed, as Paul Bland, who with wife Mary (Mary Woronov), happen upon a scheme to lure ‘swingers’ to their apartment and dispatch them with a trusty saucepan (not one they will use when they open the gourmet restaurant it is helping to finance – as Mary justly observes, “I’m a bit squeamish about cooking with the one we use to kill people.”)
Along comes locksmith and serial thief, Raoul (Robert Beltran) who agrees to dispose of the Blands’ burgeoning pile of dead ‘perverts’ (via a pet food company). But Raoul is getting a bit too familiar and greedy – and forgets that despite the fact he is dealing with petit bourgeoisie, they’re both pretty handy with that frying pan. This is a hilariously tacky masterpiece, and Bartel’s monument. Our two favourite moments are when Paul shouts “swing on this!” and lobs a radiator into the pool full of naked revellers, leaving them flopped over the side like a prawn cocktail, and John Paragon (his real name?) as the very sarcastic, impatient (and grouchy) sex shop owner (see below), but really, the film is chock full of nuggets of tarnished gold.