I like the fact that "Eating Raoul" feels unique. Its cinematography, acting, and sound editing all feel like low-budget movies of its era, and although it may be aesthetically displeasing to watch, the sick feeling the viewer gets while watching it enhances its subject material to a level that could not be achieved in today's cinema. Like Russ Meyer pictures, I don't think that "Eating Raoul" could be remade today to well enough effect to justify the budget increase that would ultimately kill it. It lives and breathes in “B” picture territory and Bartel benefits by realizing this fact and exploiting it to high effect.
What was shocking in 1982 is not shocking now however, and it is in this way that "Eating Raoul" has lost its power and relevance. Having a dominatrix character being highlighted, or even saying the phrase “golden showers” may have been absurdly faux pas back then, but cinema has progressed in its offensive content by leaps and bounds in the last twenty-five years. No longer does Eating Raoul receive its nervous laughter at the mention of these subjects, and it can't be relied upon for much more. It is not witty, and other than this content, not very funny at all. It receives a restricted rating (in Canada ), and I'm not entirely sure why. "Running Scared" was far more deserving of protection from minors, and it only received an 18A rating. Maybe the fact that it is famous for being offensive, and perhaps also the dirty feeling it encompasses add to credence to this rating, but I wish there was more consistency when judging these pictures.
I like black comedy when it is done well, and I like “B” movies when they are done well. I also enjoy the kind of twisted feeling I get in my stomach watching films of this era. There are just some films that last out their cult status ("The Rocky Horror Picture Show"; "Re-animator"), and those that get swept away with time. "Eating Raoul" has survived based on its notoriety alone, and that isn't enough for me to recommend it.