Party Monster

Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato are clearly counting on the audience's voyeuristic fascination with gruesome murders and campy costumes to justify this flat video documentary about the short party-promoting career of club kid Michael Alig. Using obvious reenactments, photomontages, and strategically edited interview footage, it shows Alig's slide from flamboyant upstart queen of New York nightlife to heroin addict and convicted killer. His on-screen confession is as affectless as his friends' rambling reminiscences about his nightclub spectacles, and the baldly fake images of a floating box, the reimagined resting place of Alig's dismembered victim's torso, keep deflating the melodrama. This is a cul-de-sac of queer history that confuses drug-addled glitz with glamorous transgression—the video makers treat this story of shocking murder, mountains of drugs, fabulous costume parties, and public rudeness as if it were a cross between America's Most Wanted and Ripley's Believe It or Not. In the end, Alig's vicious narcissism is more pitiful than scary.

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