Comfortable and Furious

Party Monster

Written and Directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato

Based on the book Disco Bloodbath by James St. James


– Seth Green as James
– Macaulay Culkin as Michael
– Chloe Sevigny as Gitsie
– Marilyn Manson as Christina
– Dylan McDermott as Peter Gatien
– Wilson Cruz as Angel
– Natasha Lyonne as Brooke

I watched Party Monster on the downside of a 24-hour 102 degrees Fahrenheit fever and it didn’t make me feel any worse. Which, if you are a sick-fucker like me is a bad thing, because movies about twisted little shits that kill, dismember and then crudely dispose of people should turn your stomach a bit, or at least jack your already existing fever up a degree or two. Right? Party Monster does neither. And if you’re going to give me that “but it’s a cautionary morality tale against excess” I ain’t buying that shit, either. Party Monster is unfortunately not much more than a great idea rendered poorly, and an excuse for two “child stars” to get “edgy” while “playing” gay/dress up.

Macaulay Culkin is simply put, a lousy actor. His performance is so bad in this movie that an hour into the film I was still taken aback every time he opened his mouth. His lines were delivered with the skill, grace and sophistication of an honors student doing Shakespeare because he wants his college application to have lots of extra-curricular activities. Macaulay Culkin, or “Mac” as Michael Jackson no doubt called Macaulay when he fed him Jesus-juice, just mailed this performance in. It had no depth, no nuance. I suppose the argument can be made that Mac was playing a totally soulless individual who was superficial to a fault, so by delivering such a two-dimensional, flatland performance, Culkin nailed the creep. Bollocks says me, for if someone is truly 100% superficial that gives them depth; that makes them interesting. Culkin’s Michael was just dull. Forget about ulterior motives, he didn’t even have motives! Oh, he wanted everything to “fabulous” at all times, but… Culkin = bad actor.

I suppose I should hip you to what it is Party Monster is actually about. First of all, it is a true story. Back in the late 80s and early 90s Michael Alig and James St. James took over the New York City dance club underground, dubbed themselves “Club Kids,” and brought ecstasy to the masses. If any of you have ever heard of used the term “rave,” besides being ashamed, you should know that it comes from these two. Moreover, if you have ever seen some asshole chewing on a glowstick while dancing poorly and then telling you how much they like DJ so-and-so, blame Alig and St. James. Yes, most of what is hateful in popular culture today stems from these two. Oh yeah, so they do a lot of drugs and then Alig kills his drug dealer–this guy named Angel–hacks up his body, sticks it in a box and dumps it in the East River. Then he goes on TV and brags about how he got away with murder. Then he gets caught and James St. James profits handsomely by writing a book about the whole thing called Disco Bloodbath. That’s pretty much the whole plot, I think.

Seth Green plays James St. James, and shockingly, he is by far the best part of the film. I mean, Green is fairly convincing as a drugged out, prissy drag queen that has a thing for dark meat. Truthfully, Green is typically the worst aspect of any given film. First of all he is shorter than Danny Devito but no one ever mentions it. Second, well, watch Knockaround Guys and you tell me. But for whatever reason, Seth Green is quite excellent in Party Monster.

Maybe it is the fact that next to Culkin I would come off as a really good actor or maybe it is the fact that his ratty little weasel face is obscured by makeup almost the entire film. Whatever the reason for Green’s only decent performance since Radio Days, it should be noted that he was not only good in the role, but that unlike Culkin’s flat, unaware dolt of human, Green’s St. James had depth, layers and most importantly humanity. And please don’t misconstrue what I am saying. Murderers have humanity. In fact, it is a very human thing to murder. All I am saying is that Culkin’s Alig sucked. Even Chloë “You Need Someone To Play A Drugged Out Whore” Sevigny and Dylan McDermott looked talented by comparison. And yes, Sevigny has a very great ass.

When I lived in New York I was friends with some guys who were involved with the “Club Kids” back in the good old days. Sure, they were tired old queens when I met them, but their drug hookups were still great. My point is, like Green’s St. James, and really, like almost all other humans, my friends were interesting. Yes, sure, at one point they had been totally obsessed with makeup, rib-removal and leather dresses, but something ueled them. They were passionate about their mega-narcissism for a reason. And even if it was a bullshit reason, at least they had magnetic personalities. Culkin had none of that–no personality, no reasons–nothing, and unfortunately Party Monster fatally suffers because of him. Too bad though, cause not only did the film look great, but Party Monster really is a fascinating story worth telling right.