Party Monster (film)

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Party Monster
Party Monster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Fenton Bailey
Randy Barbato
Produced by Fenton Bailey
Randy Barbato
Jon Marcus
Christine Vachon
Edward R. Pressman
John Wells
Wouter Barendrecht
Michael J. Werner
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
Edited by Jeremy Simmons
Distributed by Strand Releasing
Release date
  • January 18, 2003 (2003-01-18) (Sundance)
  • September 5, 2003 (2003-09-05)
Running time
99 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $5 million
Box office $742,898

Party Monster is a 2003 American factually based biographical drama film directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, and starring Macaulay Culkin as the drug-addled "king of the Club Kids". The film tells the story of rise and fall of the infamous New York City party promoter Michael Alig. This was Macaulay Culkin's first film in nearly nine years since his starring role in the 1994 film Richie Rich.

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.


Based on the book Disco Bloodbath, by James St. James, the film opens with Michael Alig 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, 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 The Limelight, a local club owned by Peter Gatien. With Alig as its main attraction, The Limelight soon becomes the hottest club in New York. 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, Gitsie, and Brooke. Gitsie becomes Michael's latest sidekick although the movie implies the relationship was a little more than platonic. 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 but ultimately return to NY with the same drug problems as before, causing Michael to lose his job and end up in a motel in New Jersey. James then begins to write his "Great American Novel", published first as Disco Bloodbath and later as Party Monster.

"Michael Alig — nightlife legend, party monster, convicted murderer — was released from prison last week after 17 years. In the Nineties, Alig was ringleader of New York City's ‘Club Kids’, and the majordomo for Peter Gatien's nightclub empire (which included Limelight, the Palladium, and the Tunnel). But in 1996, Alig and his friend Robert ‘Freeze’ Riggs argued with a drug dealer named Angel Melendez, killed him and dismembered his body in gruesome fashion before disposing of the corpse in the Hudson River. ... Post-prison, Alig has returned to New York City to find that the world had changed, but that he was still the subject of media attention and tabloid headlines."[2]



The soundtrack peaked at number 21 on the US Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums.[3]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[4]
PopMatters (positive)[5]
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 (Fischerspooner Remix)" 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. "La Rock 01" 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
20. "Santa Baby" Cynthia Basinet 3:23


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.


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."[6] 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".[7]

The film was only given a limited release. According to Box Office Mojo, the film only grossed $742,898 domestically[8] out of a budget of $5 million in its theatrical release.

Home media[edit]

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. It is available for renting through Netflix and instant viewing.


  1. ^ "PARTY MONSTER (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 2003-07-14. Retrieved 2012-06-23. 
  2. ^ Edwards, Gavin (15 May 2014). "The Party Monster's Return: Michael Alig Talks After 17 Years in Jail". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 30 November 2017. 
  3. ^ "Charts & Awards - Party Monster – Various Artists". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. 2003. Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  4. ^ Kellman, Andy (2003). "Party Monster – Various Artists". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  5. ^ Bleach, Anthony C. (2004-02-12). "Soundtrack: Party Monster: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – PopMatters Music Review". PopMatters. Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  6. ^ Party Monster at Rotten Tomatoes
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (5 September 2003). "Party Monster :: Roger Ebert.Com". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  8. ^ Party Monster at Box Office Mojo

External links[edit]