Welcome back to Rotten Ink! For this “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” we will be doing something a little different as the film and comic we will be talking about are not fully a horror film but a very dark comedy that has some major horror themes and is also one of those gems that I feel gets over looked and I am talking about the 1982 film Eating Raoul that was written and directed by Paul Bartel and would become a cult classic over the years. And Paul and the crew of this film did the right thing when they made a promo comic to go along with their move as I have always said Horror Films and Comic go hand and hand and comics are a great way to advertise for the film. With that said again I think it is time that we have dinner with The Blands and hope that it’s not human meat we are having for dinner!
Before we dive into the movie Eating Raoul we should first understand The Blands and their personalities and their ways of dealing death. Paul Bland is a highly intelligent man who loves wine and wants to open a restaurant with his nurse wife Mary who stumble into becoming killers by accident when they kill a swinger and learn that he has money that they need. Mary uses her sex appeal and good looks to draw in strange men and once she has them at the apartment Paul uses a frying pan to bash them on the head killing them, and yes even Mary used the pan to deal out death as well when she must. The two are super skilled and can only hit their victims once in the head with the pan to cause sudden death. They also have ways of getting away with the murders by hiding the bodies in the trash shoot as well as later given the bodies to lowlife conman named Raoul who sells the bodies, and yes even has helped them in a murder by using a neck tie to strangle the victim to death! Besides the Pan also at times things like a metal comb with a sharp end is used to stab into victims guts, and even electronics thrown into water tubs are used. And when in a tight spot to hide a body they have been known to eat the human meat! They are nice semi snobby people who are determined to open their dream restaurant and this also allows them to go under the radar, as no one would expect them to be killers. But while they are becoming skilled killers they are just human after all and run the risk of being caught and taken away to jail, and they can be killed by stabbing, shooting, burning, crushing and all other ways a normal human can die. Also Paul’s over protection of his wife can make him rush into things, and Mary’s want for sex can also cause some issues and drama. While not as psycho, unstoppable and brutal as other killers we have covered Paul and Mary Bland are still dangerous when they want to be and swing one mean frying pan.
So as you can see, Paul and Mary Bland are dangerous with a pan and are killers when money comes into play as nothing with stop them from getting their dream restaurant opened. But now let’s take a look at the film they are from the dark comedy horror flick Eating Raoul. Keep in mind that the film’s write up will be taken from our pals at IMDB, and after that I will write about the film’s production as well as my thoughts on it. So with that, let’s pull up a seat at the Country Kitchen and see what is on the menu.
Eating Raoul (1982)
“When a Paul enters his apartment to find Mary fighting off a swinger who has gotten into the wrong apartment (and thinks that Mary is just playing hard to get) he hits the man with a frying pan, killing him. Their dreams of running a small restaurant seem to be in jeopardy until they decide to dispose of the body, keep the wallet, and to advertise for other sexually oriented visitors who are summarily killed, bagged, robbed and disposed of. This goes along quite well until one night a burglar named Raoul breaks in and cuts himself in for a piece of the action.”
Paul Bartel was a name in the horror and cult cinema scene throughout the 1970’s through the 2000’s and was a jack of all trades as he was a director, actor and writer in many films during his career including such films as “Private Parts (1972)”, “Death Race 2000 (1975)”, “Piranha (1978)”, “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979)”, “Killer Party (1986)”, “Chopping Mall (1986)” and “Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)”. And around the 1980’s he wanted to make a dark comedy film with a dash of horror and wrote a script with Richard Blackburn and had to raise the money that was put in by his parents and himself and they got around $230,000.00 raised. Paul Bartel, besides writing and co-producing the film, was also on board to direct and star in the film as one of the lead characters Paul Bland. Producer Anne Kimmel came on board as well, building the budget up to $350,000, and the film would be distributed by 20th Century Fox. Other names brought into the cast included Mary Woronov, Robert Beltran, Ed Begley Jr., Buck Henry, John Paragon and Susan Saiger, I should also note that Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov ended up being casted together in many films after this film. When the film was done it was released in theaters on March 24, 1982 and brought in around $1.1 million dollars making the film profitable. The film was released the same year as other Cult and Horror Films as “Jekyll And Hyde…Together Again”, “Cat People”, “Beast Within”, “Amityville II”, “The Beastmaster”, “Halloween III”, “Death Wish II”, “The Thing”, “Creepshow”, “Blade Runner”, “Tron”, “Friday The 13th Part III” and “Conan The Barbarian” to name a few. The film was also well received by critics and moviegoers alike and over the years has become a Cult Classic Film that is well loved by fans of Dark Comedies. And one thing also that I have to point out is that Paul Bartel hired underground comic artist Kim Deitch to make a single comic issue based on the film in order for promotion, and this is something that I think modern filmmakers should be doing to this day!
Eating Roaul was a film that I had always heard about and always wanted to watch, but never got the chance to sit down and watch it until I was much older. I think a part of me put it off due to the fact it was not 100% Horror and was a Dark Comedy and it just always seemed to fall down my to be watched list because of this and it’s a shame as I really enjoyed the film lots and I think it has just the right amount of humor and horror killer elements blended together to make it just work as a whole. The writing and acting by Paul Bartel, who was prefect as Paul, and actress Mary Woronov was the right choice as Mary as she is sexy and also just so good at playing the role of a housewife who has to turn sex object. Growing up I do remember that this movie use to play all the time on Cinemax and I also seem to remember that my parents watched it as I seem to remember them talking about it with my Mom not liking it. I also remember when I worked for Blockbuster Video people renting the film out on VHS and I always saying to myself I should use one of my free rentals to check it out. To sum it up I sadly do not have any past memories of seeing the film as I waited way to long to see it and now that I have I really enjoy it.
So now that we have talked about Paul and Mary Bland as well as the film Eating Raoul, I think we should dive into the promo comic about it and see what it has in store for us. I first want to thank a seller on Ebay for having this comic in stock and making this update possible, and then I would also like to remind you that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I am very much looking forward to reading this comic as it will be a first time read for me and after seeing the film and liking it I want to see if the comic holds the same magic, so let’s dive in and see.
Eating Raoul # 1 ***
Released in 1982 Cover Price $2.00 Mercury Films # 1 of 1
Paul Bland is working at a liquor store and watches as his boss shoots a robber in the head killing him and then start yelling at Paul for the type of wine he ordered. Meanwhile his wife Marry is working at he job as a nurse and is sexually harassed by a patient who is really scuzzy. After their shifts are over the two drive home and talk about the idea they have of opening a restaurant that Mary would like to call “Paul And Mary’s Country Kitchen”. As the arrive home they get stuck on the elevator with a bunch of people who are heading to a swingers party that is happing in their apartment building. Once inside Paul alerts Mary that he has lost his job just as they have a knock at the door and busting in is a man who thinks he is at the swinger party, and when he goes after Mary he is punched in the stomach and gets sick and almost drowns in the Bland’s toilet! Paul walks him to the right apartment and is surrounded by people making out and he himself is trapped by Doris The Dominatrix, and while this happens the creepy man returns to Mary and tries to attack her but he is brought down by the returning Paul with a frying pan! Worse is James their relator shows up as they have a dead body in the kitchen that they latter drop down the trash suet, and James has a place for their dream restaurant but they need $20 grand as a down payment in order to get the spot! And after Paul gets ripped off selling some of his wine from his collection and Mary does not get a bank loan approved they find that killing swingers might be the way to get the money after a creepy patient from the hospital follows her hope and they kill him with the pan! Between the first two murders they have already made over a grand from looting the wallets. And that’s when the talk to Doris and come up with a scam to lure people in and take their money after they kill them with the pan, but they are discovered by Raoul a man who changed the locks on their apartment door but really is a thief and they make a deal that they Blands keep the money and he will take the bodies and sell them to a dog food company and make extra money! One night Mary is attacked by a late customer as Paul has left to get them dinner and its Raoul who saves her, and before Paul gets back Mary and Raoul smoke a drug and end up having sex, and do it again the next day at her work. Paul while leaving a shop is almost ran over by a car that was being driven by a masking wearing Raoul and Paul gets revenge by given in saltpeter via Doris acting as a nurse so that he could not make love. But bad news comes when the place for their restaurant has another offer and they need $25 grand by Friday to get it! So Mary and Paul have an idea and they go to a swinger party and electrocute everyone there when they get into a hot tub and steal the money as well as sell all the cars. Once back home Raoul with a gun is waiting as he wants to run away with Mary and kill Paul, but Raoul is the one killed with the pan and is later survived as dinner to James as they sign the papers and the restaurant is theirs!
This comic is lots of fun and does a good job of capturing the characters and the dark humor of the film on its pages. The story follows the films pretty close and is about a couple who kill swingers and perverts with a pan in order to get their money to buy a home that they want to turn into a country restaurant and along the way they meet a sleazy thief who helps them but also gets a crush on Mary and ends up becoming dinner one night. Mary and Paul Bland are two people who live a simple life and work hard and have a dream to open that restaurant together and stumble on being serial killers by accident and when they learn that they can make quick money and ride the world of creepy sex perverts they get into their kills as it almost becomes just a normal job for them. And even though they are killers they enjoy wine, food and good talks and by all accounts are your normal boring married couple. Raoul is a scumbag who is always working a con and trying to get money fast and easy, and he also sets his sites on another mans wife and will do anything to get the husband out of the picture so he can have her. But because he is so slimy this is what leads to his head being bashed and his body being used for an important dinner meeting. James and Doris are around and add that extra background characters to the Bland’s life that makes their journey into killing a little more interesting. The comic does add way more nudity and does cut out characters and kills like the Bank Manger and lots of the kills in the comic are fast paced and are not bloody. The dark humor is there are some parts of the comic or so over the top that I found myself chuckling a few times. The cover is odd and yet great and eye catching and the interior art by Kim Deitch and while the characters don’t look like the actors some how his art does capture their personality very well. This comic is by no means a blood bath, but is a great read for fans of Horror themed comics based on films. Checkout the artwork below to see the style used by Deitch in this comic, and if you are a fan of the film track down a copy as its lots of fun.
Eating Raoul is a great Dark Comedy Film that has Horror elements to it that I feel people should checkout as while the humor is very dray in spots it just some how works so well and I truly think that it has the perfect combo of a good script and fantastic actors that make it as good as it is. While the comic is most ways follows the film the changes do make the comic fly by and in a faster pace to the murders and delivers a highly entertaining read. But with that I think its time that we leave Paul and Mary’s Country Kitchen as our next update will take us to the world of Silent Cinema as we will be chatting about the 1925 Sci-Fi with a dash of Horror classic The Lost World! So until next time read a Horror Comic or two, watch a Horror Movie or three and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update as we have tickets ready and the Rotten Ink Cinema doors will be open to watch some dinosaurs running wild.