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Overall Rating

Awesome: 24.05%
Worth A Look30.38%
Just Average: 11.39%
Pretty Crappy: 3.8%

3 reviews, 61 user ratings

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Party Monster
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by Marigold

"Macaulay Culkin turns in parody portrayal of 'Aligula'"
3 stars

Party Monster is the true story of a drug dealer’s brutal murder, but it’s also a biopic of the murderer himself, famous party-planner and NYC “king of the club kids,” Michael Alig. The murder itself takes a backseat to the personality profile of Alig, who is currently doing time for injecting Angel Melendez with Drano and then hacking up his body with kitchen utensils.

Macaulay Culkin plays Alig in this movie version of the book, Disco Bloodbath, written by Alig’s close friend and fellow clubber, James St. James. The story is told in self-aware, mockumentary-style flashback, with James St. James (played by Seth Green) discussing the creation of his book and his relationship with the troubled (to say the least) Alig throughout. Incidentally, the directors made a documentary of this story back in 1997, which I suspect is more interesting. This dramatic retelling meanders around the point of what an asshole Alig was and fails to grasp the true horror of how he became a psycho-killer.

There’s no doubt that Alig provides incredible character study material. As a disturbed young man from the Midwest, Alig ran away to New York, adopted a flamboyant gay persona (though he remained bisexual), and somehow became a cult leader in the 1980’s club kid movement. A post-modern Caligula (now calling himself “Aligula”), he lived an absurdly decadent and irresponsible life in the years leading up to the murder. His only job was to throw parties and he did so with gusto, becoming famous for encouraging and perpetrating outrageous behavior involving…what else?….sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll! Well, not so much rock ‘n roll as house music, but you get the idea.

Like Alig’s life, this movie is kind of a mess. You’ve got yer flashbacks, flashforwards, drug-induced haze reenactments (ala Unsolved Mysteries), sudden breaks to the present reality/documentary style, characters coming and going for no apparent reason, plot holes, and a damn unclear timeline.

The whole crap cocktail is made extra disturbing by an atmosphere of moral decadence, mental illness, emotional bankruptcy, and Macaulay Culkin’s ugly mug. Man, his face is hard to look at! And his repulsively phony “gay” accent is a constant distraction. Like a 5th grader doing his best “flaming fag” impersonation, Culkin delivers every line of dialog in the same sing-song pattern and the results are just painful. The only good thing I can say about his acting here is that it may serve to emphasize just how vacant a human being Alig really was. This may be the only clue as to how he suddenly became a violent killer. None of it adequately explains why so many people around Alig were devoted to him and genuinely hurt by his downfall.

Green’s portrayal of St. James first struck me as similarly phony, but somehow he pulled it off and developed a more genuine and endearing character. He was much, much more enjoyable to watch.

Party Monster is interesting if you’re curious about people who made dance clubbing a way of life in the late 80’s/early 90’s. There’s a sick fascination in watching people hurt themselves so badly while having such a great time. By the way, many of the extras in this film are real clubbers, past and present. Some famous characters from back in the day make appearances as well, which makes this movie is worth seeing if only for the costumes.

But as a juicy murder-mystery, this film fails to satisfy. Even though the murder is kinda the whole point, Party Monster doesn’t look at it very closely. If you want to see something really scary, take a look at: http://www.michaelaligclubkids.com/alig.htm or any of the other Alig sites out there. He’s kickin’ it from prison these days -- examining his life and trying to figure out what went wrong. It will be interesting to see what he does if he ever gets out.

(Hey, I got through this whole review without using the word “fabulous” once!)

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=6911&reviewer=356
originally posted: 03/05/04 14:14:24
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/02/15 bridget club scene, drugs, shallow narcissists run amok 1 stars
1/02/15 hahahha leave your brain at home..no need for this one. 1 stars
1/02/15 nickdroll close your eyes 1 stars
1/02/15 sasha if you think fabulous is a life statement have at it. 1 stars
1/02/15 Lovely and people are now idolizing murderer's ..... 1 stars
1/02/15 nordan 98 minutes lost, never to return. Marilyn Manson was great 1 stars
1/02/15 dr drew i know as much about the characters as when the film started. 1 stars
1/02/15 natalia used to love this..what was i thinking 1 stars
1/02/15 who cares how could World of Wonder be so shallow 1 stars
1/02/15 Mary better to lick sand paper if you have a choice 1 stars
1/02/15 me James St. James s/b mortified...book is much better 1 stars
1/02/15 pop make up and Halloween outfits..nothing more 1 stars
1/02/15 fawan did not show the true evil of this man 1 stars
1/02/15 tlrn444 Transparent and well awful. teenagers on drugs would like it 1 stars
1/02/15 Thoughtaboutit for the simple minded. no message. watch Sid and Nancy 1 stars
1/02/15 Lulu don't bother. They give a girlfriend to a gay character 1 stars
1/02/15 Hector besides Seth Green there is no acting. Culkin s/b embarrassed 1 stars
1/02/15 william horrible, just horrible. not even accurate. Made for mindless idiots 1 stars
1/02/15 dan far from the truth; Alig should have been portrayed as the sociopath he truly is 1 stars
1/02/15 nancydrewit what an insult to the gay community 1 stars
1/02/15 mysterymr Self loathing creators make a mindless film to idolize a murdering drug addict thief 1 stars
9/25/08 Timothy Kirkland Alot of memberable lines, great showing of the downard spiral of drugs 5 stars
3/29/07 fools♫gold Seems so much shorter than 92 minutes. Refreshingly underrated, I debate a 5/5 w/ myself. 4 stars
10/01/06 hw I wanted to see more of that darker side of the club scence, drugs and murder 3 stars
8/18/06 Lauren In a word...fabulous 5 stars
6/02/06 amber i loved it and i come from this era 5 stars
10/24/05 disco.slut. fantastic.glittering, petulant anti fashion brats take over! 4 stars
6/07/05 james myer A crazy life leads to crazy happenings; no wonder someone dies and people are jailed 4 stars
10/25/04 Betsy Seth Green was great! Story line was good, but would have been a better film if Culkin cou 4 stars
10/17/04 RON ARAUJO WONDERFUL! 5 stars
8/21/04 Devon I loved the movie but the book was much better 5 stars
7/14/04 loren best movie i have ever seen!!!!! 5 stars
5/24/04 Tiffany I so-so LOVE this movie!! & thy book! 5 stars
5/19/04 Becky A slice of American Culture 4 stars
5/06/04 Samantha orr If you Loved this like me, even if you didn't, I suggest the first Party Monster Documenty 5 stars
5/02/04 the bride culkin still looks like a drugged out monkey skeleton, total horse shit... 1 stars
4/26/04 Melissa Jensen It was kinda cool but the acting sucked 2 stars
2/28/04 Jamie I loved this movie 5 stars
1/26/04 jon strange because i lived and loved brooke yrs b4 this 4 stars
1/11/04 (none) uuuggghhhhh. who the hell cares for this crap!!!!! 1 stars
12/05/03 Red a good film 4 stars
11/28/03 Johnny's Been Rotten It was disturbingly good. Marilyn Manson was hilarious. 5 stars
11/18/03 Lori Troglia It was the best movie I have see in a long time. Seth and Macaulay were the best !!! 5 stars
11/05/03 Sir David i luv this movie 5 stars
11/04/03 jolene wheeler interesting at least! 4 stars
10/08/03 Enfant Terrible Entrancing yet terrible. Culkin is disturbingly bad, but he gets points for the effort. 3 stars
9/27/03 penny good movie, but a better book 4 stars
9/11/03 JFennell Macaulay Culkin: go home, alone, and turn on the gas. Please. 1 stars
9/08/03 Gary What are you waiting for? See this movie 5 stars
9/06/03 brevol We want Mac nude please 5 stars
8/09/03 aroma great film that I highly recomend to the people who loves gothic subculture and synth pop.. 5 stars
8/06/03 steve smith Not to shabby 4 stars
7/23/03 MarMar Culkin looks great but is lacking in his line delivery; Green & costumes are awesome! 3 stars
6/30/03 SF gay guy Lame movie, though Seth Green was good 2 stars
6/20/03 Rick Smits In a true to life role Macaulay Culkin plays a drug-addicted homosexual! Enough said!!!! 5 stars
6/09/03 sarah ok 4 stars
5/20/03 Amanda I love Macaulay Culkin!!! 2 stars
5/11/03 Erin McCann This is the most fun I have had at the movies this entire year. 5 stars
3/14/03 Juan Dérek excellent acting by MACAUÑAY CULKIN, incredible acting after so many years putside the movi 5 stars
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  05-Sep-2003 (R)
  DVD: 10-Feb-2004



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