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. –Sundance Film Festival
With his partner Randy Barbato, producer and director Fenton Bailey made his name with documentaries about such outrageous yet fascinating pop-culture subjects as the wife of disgraced TV evangelist Jim Bakker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000), before branching out into dramatic films with the feature version of their 1998 documentary Party Monster in 2003.
Born in Great Britain, Bailey attended graduate film school in the U.S. at New York University, where he met life and business partner Barbato. The pair dropped out of school to form their production company World of Wonder in 1990; they also performed as a tongue-in-cheek musical duo called the Pop Tarts. Bailey and Barbato turned to filmmaking in earnest, however, when they decided to amuse themselves by editing together choice clips from New York City’s racy and bizarre public access cable TV shows, and turned it into the British TV series Manhattan Cable. Stateside, World of Wonder produced the series Hollywood Fashion… read more
With his life and creative partner Fenton Bailey, filmmaker Randy Barbato carved a distinctive niche in film and television with his nonfiction works about such intriguing pop-culture subjects as the infamously groomed ex-wife of fallen TV evangelist Jim Bakker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000), before trying his hand at dramatic features with the adaptation of his and Bailey’s documentary Party Monster (1998) in 2003.
A native of New Jersey, Barbato attended graduate film school at New York University in the late ‘80s, where he met classmate and fellow pop-culture enthusiast Bailey. Along with dabbling in music as the Pop Tarts, the pair dropped out of N.Y.U. to form their production company, World of Wonder, in 1990. Based in their tiny New York apartment, World of Wonder notched its first production with the series Manhattan Cable, a compilation of clips from New York City’s strange and risqué public-access cable programs, for British TV. Barbato and Bailey subsequently executive… read more