Format: TCM on DVR from forever ago
Director: Paul Bartel
Well, I loved this movie.
Ridiculous, mean-spirited and a lot of fun - what else can you want from a 1980's pop black comedy made on the edge of the Hollywood studio system? It's also a fascinating time capsule of the long-gone sub-cultures of the 1980's - the Boomer's own fascination with pop-nostalgia and the fetishization of everything from the 50's and early 60's in everything from media to decor to glassware.
But also the fascination with the oddities of conformity often at odds with the excesses of the 70's and into the 1980's.
Writer/ Director Paul Bartel plays one half of a husband and wife team - the other half played by former Warhol-girl Mary Woronov. If I had to explain what the two are playing to a Millennial or Gen-Z'er, it'd be a little difficult to get the full context across, but they're weirdly like two drones from a 1950's sitcom in a sexless marriage sleeping in separate beds - and totally happy-ish. If only they could raise the money they need for their restaurant.
Unfortunately, Paul and Mary live in an apartment building that is also filled with swingers parties, which they see as perverse and beyond the pale - but where else could they move with so little money?
One night fate deals them a hand in the form of a swinger's party guest who Paul kills (somewhat nonchalantly) with a cast iron pan when the guest tries to force himself on Mary. Pocketing the man's money and easily disposing of the body, and inspired by a dominatrix who was at the swinger's party they realize - hey, this could be a business. And place an ad as a honeytrap so they can knock off "degenerates" and take their money. Soon, the titular Raoul is involved and assisting in removing the bodies.
Anyway - it's all pretty nuts, and sold completely through Paul and Mary's even-keeled deadpan delivery. Of course everyone along the way is, in contrast, not matching their energy and LA over-the-top, and it makes for phenomenal intentional camp.
It's some seriously dark comedy, and the tone is not going to sit well with everyone. There's also constant and unremarked upon threat of sexual assault to Mary. And, of course, sociopathic murder every few minutes. So, just be aware of what you're getting into.
The movie has cameos by Buck Henry, Edie McClurg and Ed Begley Jr. But, it also stars Robert Beltran as Raoul before he'd go on to play Chakotay on Star Trek Voyager.
btw - I was actually familiar with the Paul and Mary characters from their brief appearance in opening scenes from the Corman-produced goofy "horror" favorite, The Chopping Mall.