Party Monster


Top 40% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2003 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Macaulay Culkin, Seth Green, Chloe Sevigny, Natasha Lyonne, Dylan McDermot, Marilyn Manson, Wilson Cruz, Wilmer Valderrama, Diana Scarwid

Non-Cast Credits

Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Edward Pressman, John Schmidt, Sona Sondervan, Michael Werner, Wouter Barendrecht, Jon Marcus, Christine Vachon, Brad Simpson, Jeremy Simmons


Steeping the screen in '80s music and club culture, Filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato enlist a keen and highly imaginative filmmaking style to recreate the disturbing events that led to the famed murder of Angel Melendez.

Party Monster, based on the book Disco Bloodbath, focuses on the relationship between Michael Alig and James St. James, two kids form the Midwest who found their way to New York and reinvented themselves as "fabulous" people. James initiated Michael into the New York club scene, but it was Michael who made it into the limelight. Club kids were drawn to him and became the Lost Boys to his Peter Pan. Nothing with Michael was ever done in moderation, including his entry into the finetuned world of designed drugs. But his invented perfect life came spiraling down and was finally halted with an atrocious act of murder.

Macaulay Culkin, as Michael, makes a brave and miraculous transition to adult actor, adopting his real life counterpart's extreme charisma and the telltale tinkle in his eye. Seth Green and the rest of the cast stay out of the shadows as characters necessary to the successful forging of this cautionary tale. Directors Bailey and Barbato pull out all the stops to creatively craft a veritable cinematic collage. In their version of Party Monster, hallucinations turn revelatory, overdoses serve as rights of passage, and one lost boy's tale is told without apology.


John Cooper (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.