I’m a sucker for anything labeled as “BASED ON A TRUE STORY.” Especially if it’s the story of a real life killer – Monster, The Young Poisoner’s Handbook, Cannibal! The Musical, etc…except for those damn Lifetime Movies for Women bullshitty ones. You know the ones I mean – the ones with a looong hyphenated title like Love’s Deadly Triangle: The Texas Cadet Murder, Seduced by Madness: The Diane Borchardt Story or Judgment Day: The John List Story. Those things are like watching paint dry.
Party Monster is the story of Michael Alig – the New York City Club Promotor/Club Kid who killed his drug dealer. Alig is played by McCaulay Culkin – and he’s really good. Not Oscar good, but good. Seth Green was also good as Alig’s tiny mentor, James St. James. Chloë Sevigny, Indie Princess (not to be confused with the Indie Queen, Parker Posey) also stars as Alig’s Girl Toy, Gitsie. She was actually not annoying for once. Then again, she wasn’t onscreen all that much either. The world’s most famous transsexual, Amanda LePore, has a cameo as a Club Kid – fitting as she actually did hang out with the Club Kids.
The film depicts Alig’s humble beginnings as a mop boy to hooking up with James St. James and becoming the toast of the New York club scene to his eventual slide into drug addled psychosis and imprisonment for murder. Culkin portrays Alig as a child that never grew up – a Peter Pan type figure that surrounds himself with scantily clad, sexy young boys…er, I wonder how Culkin might have gotten insight to such a character?
My main disappointment was that Culkin didn’t kill Fez. Come on, if anyone deserves to be hit on the head with a hammer, injected with Drano, chopped into pieces and thrown into the East River – it’s Wilmer Valderrama! But no, Valderrama played Alig’s boy toy, DJ Keoki. Oh well, maybe next time.
The costumes are the best part of the film – fabulous eye candy. I can’t speak to whether they were faithful depictions of the actual Club Kids’ grandiose costumes, but they’re pretty similar to the types of gaudy crap I saw in the clubs back in the 90s. I actually knew a couple of wannabe Club Kids back in college – friends of a friend, etc. They were some of the most depressing, drug crazed psychos that I had ever met. They were always involved in some kind of drama and usually left a trail of glitter wherever they went. I would have no problem at all believing that one of them killed their drug dealer with a hammer.
Ashamedly, I’ve felt the urge to say things like “Skrod-La-Da” and “Skrink” since watching Party Monster. They really are catchy little phrases…but NO, I’m not gonna start talking like a Club Kid. That’s got to be more than a little distasteful at my age?
There’s a documentary on Michael Alig (also called Party Monster) by the makers of this film. I’ll have to track it down and watch it. I’m curious how close the actors in the movie are to the real people, especially the narrator, James St. James. Both the documentary and the feature film are based on his book, Disco Bloodbath. Why not make a buck off your best friend’s murder trial?