Party Monster

Photo Courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival

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Review, by Richard Schwartz

The eighties gave birth to a decadent attitude that permeated all aspects of society, from the extreme consumerism of Reagan politics to the nightlife of the New York underground party scene. Pushed from the Warhol era into their own warped carnival of excess, partyers constantly strove for newer, more intense highs. They eventually became known as the "club kids," infamous for their outrageous looks and flamboyant behavior. Party Monster recounts the chilling tale of the rise and fall of a leader of this group, Michael Alig.

Through home-video footage of Michael and his friends, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato uniquely chronicle the frightening downward spiral. Along the way, they expose the evolution of drug dependence from cocaine to Ecstasy to Special K and ultimately to heroin. The parties began to take place in more dangerous locations and promote disturbing behavior, pushing the boundaries of convention and sanity. This mania for a new high ultimately clouded Michael's judgment so badly that his reign ended with the brutal murder of Angel, a fellow club kid and roommate. One of the more frightening revelations of the film is that even though Michael made no effort to conceal his actions, it was nine months before he was brought to justice.

By slickly combining candid interviews, astounding video footage, and a perfect sound track, Bailey and Barbato have created a highly stylized account of one bright young man's transformation into a cold-blooded monster.

- Trevor Groth

Directed by: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato
Starring: Michael Alig
Produced by: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato
Original Music by: Joe Carrano

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