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PARTY MONSTER

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Seth Green, Macauley Culkin, Chloe Sevigny, Natasha Lyonne, Wilmer Valderrama, Wilson Cruz, Diana Scarwid, Dylan MCDermott
Director: Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen & 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen
Audio: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 99 Minutes
Release Date:  February 10, 2004

“So come with me now…on the last night of my life…the night of my overdose!”

Film ***

Party Monster is one of the most tripped out movies I've ever had the pleasure of watching.  Based on a true story, this movie weaves and spins itself so much it's no wonder I had to watch it twice to catch everything.

Party Monster takes you into the lives of two people who live to party, and party to live.  James and Michael are two friends forged from the innocence of one and the flamboyance of another.  There are those who party, and there are those who party to excess.  James knows how to have fun, and play games with people.  However, he does seem to be able to almost always quit while he's ahead…almost always!

Michael was new in town and James helped him settle in and get a bit comfortable.  The very disturbing story that follows will keep you guessing, and questioning everything said, and done right up till the end.   

Macauley Culkin, better known for his all American boy roles, takes a flying leap into the land of Sodom & Gomorra for his role in Party Monster.  Not only is his character flamboyantly gay, he's a party freak.  Loving the extreme side of gothic drag, he finds himself immersed in lust, bad makeup, and plenty of drugs!

Seth Green always seems to choose roles that allow him a certain amount of freedom to be himself.   This movie was such a departure from anything I have ever seen him do, I'm at a loss as to whether or not I liked him.  His character James is so flamingly gay Lady Liberty's torch would have a hard time burning hotter than he is.  

Green's character wants to be the most well known and seen partier out there.  He knows who's hot, who's not, and who should go home with him each night.   Michael is at first a project for James someone new in town who needs a little guidance.  James decides to become Michael's fairy godmother, and show him the ropes so to speak.

This movie was a weird one from start to finish.  The characters were tragically flawed, and you knew from the beginning that nothing good was going to come from the things being shown on the screen. 

I have to give Culkin credit; he was absolutely brilliant as the extrovert Michael.  His portrayal was very believable and easy to watch.  It wasn't as if he was pretending to be a gay character; he truly wrapped himself up in the role, and became Michael. 

One of the more disturbing characters in this movie is Christina, played by the scary and diverse Marilyn Manson.  Manson had no trouble portraying the drag queen/transvestite.  This movie was so unpredictable and weird that Manson says he couldn't pass it up.

I won't pretend that I understood everything about this movie, even after watching it twice, but I will say that it was an adventure.  If you are in the mood for something different, give this disc a spin, you won't be disappointed. 

Video **

Presented in a 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format, as well as a 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen format, this DVD delivers in both realms.  The individual scene loss from one aspect ratio to the other isn't very noticeable so you can watch it in whatever format you prefer and you won't be missing much. 

The colors are vivid, with a reasonable amount of shading all around.  Other than a bit of dirt and a few visual flaws this DVD is visually pleasing.

Audio **

This 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo mix tended to sound tinny, and hollow.  Despite that the dialogue was balanced nicely against the background music beds.   There were no audible dips, or dropouts.  The audio remained consistent throughout without fluctuating levels.

On a side note the soundtrack for this movie contains a lot of early and late 80's hits.   Weird as the movie was, the songs seemed to fit perfectly somehow!

Features ***

This DVD was a true Party Monster when it came down to its extra features!

The first featurette gives you a chance to learn a little of the back-story surrounding the characters of this movie.  Interviews with actors and directors help to bring into focus the things they were trying to achieve when making this film. 

There is a very in depth interview with the man this movie is about, Mr. Michael Alig.  He goes into detail about his many near death experiences as well as what motivated him to commit murder.

Individual actor interviews with Macauley Culkin, Seth Green, Marilyn Manson, Chloe Sevigny, Wilmer Valderrama, Natasha Lyonne, and Wilson Cruz open up a whole new level of insight into the making of this movie.

In the Behind The Scenes featurette, you get to see how this movie was put together, from beginning to end.  

Language options are available in English and Spanish, and a movie trailer is included for your viewing pleasure.

Summary:

With plenty of extra features, acceptable video and audio quality, and some halfway decent acting it's safe to say this DVD will be worth the money you put out for it. However, the story is really out there, and seems to be directed at a specific type of audience.  So you might want to try before you buy, but that's just my opinion.