A cautionary fable with a back beat. New York, mid-1980s: small-town refugee Michael Alig (Macaulay Culkin) arrives with dreams of finding the love, acceptance and fabulousness that eluded him back home. He finds a reluctant mentor in trust-fund night clubber James St. James (Seth Green), whom he flatters into giving up the secret of becoming famous for doing nothing but being outrageous. Quick-study Alig parlays his growing notoriety into a party promoting gig at Limelight, a fading disco in a de-sanctified church. With the help of owner Peter Gatien (Dylan McDermott) — a one-eyed club impresario whose eye patch gives him a perpetually sinister air — the former outcast soon becomes the toast of a small but highly visible slice of the town. As Alig's renown surpasses St. James's, the two become entwined in a queasy friendship rooted in mutual exploitation. Driven by Alig's example, his followers, the club kids, aspire to ever-greater heights of excess, wearing elaborate full-body costumes to clubs and sucking up drugs as though there were no tomorrow, and for many of them there wasn't. Alig and his lost boys (and girls and kids of indeterminate gender) create a nightlife fantasy existence so scandalous that the rules of fiction demand a precipitous fall into real-world ugliness. In real life, Alig engineered his own appalling tumble from grace and dragged the scene down with him: In 1996, he was arrested for the brutal murder of drug-dealer and nightlife hanger-on Angel Melendez (Wilson Cruz). Filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato first made PARTY MONSTER as a 1998 documentary for Cinemax's Reel Life series, and encouraged the real James St. James, whom they interviewed at length, to write about Alig's reign and ruin. St. James's Disco Blood Bath (1999) formed the core of this once-over-lightly fictionalization, whose self-referential winks at the audience could not be more perfectly suited to its self-aware subjects. Culkin's Alig has the face of a debauched cherub, but the former child star never quite captures the charisma everyone swears was an essential component in Alig's success. Green's St. James steals the picture out from under him (poetic justice of a sort), and the supporting cast is nothing short of amazing. It includings Diana Scarwid, of MOMMY DEAREST fame, as Alig's mother; Chloe Sevigny as his girlfriend, Gitsie; Natasha Lyonne as her friend, Brooke; Wilmer Valderrama (of TV's That '70s Show), as Alig's boyfriend, DJ Keoki; and Marilyn Manson as scene-maker Christina.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: R
- Review: A cautionary fable with a back beat. New York, mid-1980s: small-town refugee Michael Alig (Macaulay Culkin) arrives with dreams of finding the love, acceptance and fabulousness that eluded him back home. He finds a reluctant mentor in trust-fund night club… (more)