Party Monster (2003 film)

Party Monster (2003 film)
Party Monster

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Fenton Bailey
Randy Barbato
Produced by Jon Marcus
Fenton Bailey
Randy Barbato
Christine Vachon
Written by Fenton Bailey
Randy Barbato
Based on Disco Bloodbath by
James St. James
Starring Macaulay Culkin
Seth Green
Chloë Sevigny
Diana Scarwid
Marilyn Manson
Music by Jimmy Harry
Cinematography Teodoro Maniaci
Editing by Jeremy Simmons
Studio Killer Films
Distributed by Strand Releasing
Release date(s) January 18, 2003 (2003-01-18) (Sundance)
May 15, 2003 (2003-05-15) (Cannes)
September 5, 2003 (2003-09-05) (United States)
October 17, 2003 (2003-10-17) (United Kingdom)
Running time 98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $742,898

Party Monster is a 2003 American biographical crime drama film that details the rise and fall of infamous New York party promoter Michael Alig. The movie stars Macaulay Culkin as the drug-addled "King of the Club Kids."

Written and directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, the film is based on Disco Bloodbath, the memoir of James St. James which details his friendship with Alig, that later fell apart as Alig's drug addiction worsened, and ended after he murdered Angel Melendez and went to prison. A 1998 documentary on the murder, also called Party Monster: The Shockumentary, was used for certain elements of the film.

Party Monster made its world premiere at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2003, and later played at the Cannes Film Festival in May of that year. On September 5, 2003, the film was put on limited release to different art house theaters in major US cities.



Based on the book Disco Bloodbath, by James St. James, the film opens with Michael Alig (Culkin) as a small-town outcast who lived with his mom before moving to New York. Michael learns the New York party scene from James St. James (Green), who teaches him the "rules of fabulousness", which mostly revolve around attracting as much attention to oneself as possible.

Despite James' warning, Alig hosts a party at Limelight, a local club which is owned by Peter Gatien (McDermott), and soon becomes the hottest club in New York, with Alig at the head. Alig is named "King of the Club Kids" and goes on a cross country journey in search of more club kids. Alig and James pick up Angel Melendez (Cruz), Gitsie (Sevigny), and Brooke (Natasha Lyonne). Soon after meeting, Gitsie becomes Alig's new girlfriend. However, after Michael descends further into drug abuse, his life starts to spiral out of control, eventually culminating in his involvement in the murder of Angel. Gitsie and Michael decide to go to rehab and treat it as a "Second Honeymoon", leaving James behind. James then begins to write his "Great American Novel" published as Disco Bloodbath and later as Party Monster.



The soundtrack peaked at number twenty-one on the US Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums.[1]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[2]
PopMatters (positive)[3]
No. Title Artist Length
1. "Take Me to the Club"   Mannequin 3:36
2. "Seventeen"   Ladytron 3:31
3. "Frank Sinatra"   Miss Kittin & The Hacker 3:53
4. "Money, Success, Fame, Glamour"   Felix da Housecat vs. Pop Tarts 3:23
5. "You're My Disco"   Waldorf 4:26
6. "Two of Hearts"   Stacey Q 3:36
7. "Overdose"   Tomcraft 2:57
8. "Get Happy"   Happy Thought Hall 3:28
9. "Le Rock 101"   Vitalic 3:05
10. "Go!"   Tones on Tail 2:34
11. "New York New York"   Nina Hagen 4:41
12. "It Can't Come Quickly Enough"   Scissor Sisters 3:32
13. "Inside Out"   W.I.T. 3:36
14. "Kiss Me"   Stephen Tin Tin 3:26
15. "Give Me Tonight"   Shannon 3:53
16. "(How to Be A) Millionaire"   ABC 3:35
17. "Crash"   Keoki 2:54
18. "The La La Song"   Marilyn Manson 1:32
19. "Good is Bad"   Headrillaz 2:56


The film received mainly negative reviews; it currently holds a 28% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 74 reviews (55 negative, 21 positive); the consensus states "The lurid display of camp soon turns tedious."[4] It was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, however, and Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, calling Culkin's performance "fearless", though he remarks that "the movie lacks insight and leaves us feeling sad and empty — sad for ourselves, not Alig — and maybe it had to be that way".[5]

The film was only given a limited release. According to Box Office Mojo, the film only made $742,898 out of a budget of $5,000,000 in its theatrical release.

However, the film has gained a cult following through DVD rentals and airings on cable television.[citation needed] Many clubs in major American cities have hosted Party Monster-theme parties.[citation needed] Rocky Horror-type midnight screenings have begun to occur in several cities.[citation needed]

Home media

The film was released on DVD in the United States and Canada in February 2004 through 20th Century Fox/Trimark Pictures; the DVD contained various cast interviews, an audio commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, the film's original theatrical trailer, and a real interview with Michael Alig as bonus materials. As of 2009, the DVD has been discontinued and is now largely unavailable for purchase at standard retail stores. Although the DVD is not offered for rental by Netflix, as of August, 2011, the movie was available to view on the company's subscription internet streaming service.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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