Sometimes a horror film has nothing to do with ghosts, slashers or monsters; if it hits a nerve and tweaks a primal fear, a movie has as much right to the horror title as any other. For me, Steve Balderson’s The Casserole Club is straight-up horror; the cinematic equivalent of my greatest nightmares about married life.
I like to think of myself as happily married, but I have a severe aversion to dinner parties. Something about getting together with other married friends to share a meal at one’s house feels evil and wrong to me. I’m not an anti-social person, but I’ve never gone in for the “let’s get the neighbors together and party.” Set in the 1960s, The Casserole Club is deeply entrenched in my fears by operating within the context of a bunch of faux-civil married couples getting together for a dinner competition; a casserole battle for cooking supremacy… at least at first.
As the evening wears on, and the couples get drunk and silly, stupid parlor games turn to couple-swapping. From there, the film deals with the fallout of a bunch of sexually repressed couples working out their sexual appetites under the false pretenses of dinner get-togethers. As you can imagine, it’s all fun and games until someone falls in love… or gets pregnant… or may be a closeted homosexual.
The Casserole Club manages to buttfuck the dust off some hypocritical “family values,” and in a far better manner than Revolutionary Road did (my God, that movie was just evil people screaming at each other). You know these people are going to fall to pieces sooner or later (how can so much false humanity not self-destruct), and maybe you can predict where and how, but the ride is an intense and entertaining one. Again, it scared the Hell out of me; bunch of characters with names like Conrad, Kitty, Sterling and Sugar, all behaving like sex-hungry nutjobs while pretending to be all supreme and clean… maybe this is what the Circle Jerks were talking about in “Mrs. Jones”?
The Casserole Club looks good, and really hits on that pastel-style you’d expect in the 1960s suburbs of wherever-the-f**k-they-are, so you easily settle into their dysfunctional world. On top of that, the acting is wonderful; Hell, one of the actors is a former Backstreet Boy!?! And he’s REALLY GOOD. If you’re up for some suburban horror (not the gorey kind, but the cerebral, dysfunctional brand), then drop by The Casserole Club. Not only will you get well-fed, you’ll probably get laid…