9 December 2003 | davidals
Lurid yet compelling true crime documentary
I'd read the 'Village Voice' series when this all went down, so I knew the overall story going into this documentary, which helps in getting through this - I have a few friends who turned this off, unable to believe what they were seeing. Nothing much for me to add - PARTY MONSTER is a technicolor-lurid portrayal of greed, addiction, self-delusion, narcissism and depravity (born not of pleasure, but out of a sort of sex-and-drugs one-upsmanship) all spun out of control, leading to the inevitable violent crescendo. Through it all the creativity (at least at first), insecurity and loneliness of the key players in the scene manages to also come through loud and clear, which adds to the tragedy behind the lurid surface here.
But there's also a world of lonely, kinky, creative, insecure, stoned and/or delusional people who somehow manage to not slide into the kind of horrorshow on display here, so those aren't good excuses (though the interviews with Alig's shattered and heroin-addicted last boyfriend made me unbelievably sad), and I'd say that Angel's family ought to be infuriated over Alig's behind-bars ascendance into cult stardom. Whatever Alig's future, I'm certain that a documentary about Angel would offer less shock value, but more soul, telling us far more about the multiple worlds he moved between in the process, which ultimately is why the value of PARTY MONSTER is questionable at best.