Michael Alig - Club-kid, Killer, and Beyond
Poster of Bloodfeast
Michael Alig became known as a club promoter/club kid in NYC in the late 80s after Andy Warhol died. He is said to be the ringleader of a wild club movement that occurred for a little over 10 years. His parties were called Disco 2000. Many events were in clubs and, some were illegal parties held in random locations like Burger King or, in a Subway station. He started out strong promoting in the club Tunnel and the infamous Limelight. Both clubs were owned by a man named Peter Gatien. Michael and his friends were actually paid by Gatian to go to the club, dress in exotic costumes, and exhibit shocking behavior.
All of this fun turned into drug use, followed by drug addiction, and promotion of parties that became more and more obnoxious. One of these parties would prove to be a foreshadowing of events to come. The party was a Birthday party for Alig called, Bloodfeast in which a poster was made depicting Alig's brain exposed and being eaten by another club kid known as, Jenny Talia. A hammer and the words, "with legs cut off" can also be seen in this poster.
Eventually, Michael got so lost in his drugs that his world began to crumble around him. Gatien was under investigation for trafficking drugs by the Feds. Michael was no longer doing his Disco 2000 parties. At this point, Alig was simply a hardcore drug addict, constantly looking for his next score.
It was March 17, 1996. Alig found himself in a fight with his drug dealer, Angel Melendez. The fight turned physical and was interrupted by a blow to Angel's head with a hammer from a friend that was there, Robert Riggs, who was known as Freeze.
After Freeze had hit him three times with the hammer, Alig smothered him with a pillow and Melendez died. Now, of course, they both claim the details are sketchy at best, due to the fact that both of these men were on an assortment of heavy drugs. These drugs included ecstasy, Rohypnol, Ketamine (Special K), cocaine, and heroin.
According to some stories, Alig either injected Drano or, poured Drano down Melendez's throat or, he did both, and taped Angel's mouth shut. Michael stripped the body and, had Freeze help him put Angel's body in the bathtub. They placed ice in the tub, with the body. Some stories I've heard about have gone so far as to say they did sexual things with the dead body. It was reported that the genitals were cut off and, never found. After the body had been there for several days, the stench was so bad that they decided to get rid of the body by having Michael dismember the legs off of Melendez. He put the legs in a bag and the rest of the body in a box.
The box and bag filled with the body were taken out of the apartment the two were living in, and right out the front entrance into a cab. The cab took the pair to the Hudson River where they threw the body in.
We find out that the police find this body right away but, it's left unidentified. Michael continues to party and go around telling people of his crime. Evidently, he also had a drug overdose during this time. He told just about anyone all of the gruesome details of this murder. Amazingly, no one said anything. Some just chalked it up to Michael being a prankster but, as time passed, no one saw Angel again.
You can watch the Shockumentary Party Monster on YouTube. Michael appears in the introduction. The footage was shot just prior to his arrest. Michael cheerfully admits to killing Angel, but his face drops immediately. The audience can visually see that Michael knows he went too far. There are many videos on YouTube featuring Alig in interviews before and after prison. You can also view Party Monster, a film where Macaulay Culkin plays Michael.
The police finally get wind of these stories and rumors, partially because of Michael Musto, who did a story on the club scene and, talked about a murder that was being discussed in the inner circle. The details of this crime, more specifically - the dismemberment of the legs - prompted the police to look once again at the body they had found 9 months prior but, never officially identified.
Through dental records, they were finally able to say that the body they found was, indeed Melendez. Freeze and Alig were arrested. Freeze confessed almost immediately.
While I was listening to interviews and reading stories about this case, I found that there was a fourth person that is not often mentioned in many of the accounts. He wasn't questioned for the documentary and, plays no role in the movie. According to Alig, Daniel Auster was a boyfriend of his at the time. The story that involves Daniel states Alig noticed that Daniel was showing signs of overdosing. He asked Angel for some cocaine to revive his friend. After Angel denied the cocaine, Freeze and Alig scolded Angel. Alig ended up stealing the cocaine from Angel and reviving Daniel with a dosage that he blew up Daniel's nose. This was all done while Freeze continued to chastise Angel.
It should be noted that Daniel Auster is the son of writer, Paul Auster. Daniel originally told police that Alig and Freeze were discussing killing Angel, that all of this was premeditated. They had planned it to where they would lure Angel to the apartment, rob him, take his drugs, and kill him. In the end, Daniel couldn't prove his story and, actually ended up pleading guilty to stealing $3,000 of Angel's money.
Here again, is another part of the story that is odd but, seems to fit with what we know. Look at that picture that was made for Alig's Birthday party the year before. The disturbing image illustrates the night of the murder. According to Freeze's own story, despite Alig being attacked by Angel, Alig was immediately able to start smothering Angel, pouring Drano down his throat, taping his mouth, undressing him, and finally putting him in the bathroom tub with ice.
According to legend, Alig and Freeze hosted a party while Angel lay dead in an ice tub with the door locked. There is footage in the Shockumentary of Alig just after March 17, 1996, that shows Alig with a deep cut on the back of his neck and his hair colored red. After the seven days or so that Angel was in the bathroom, it was decided that Alig would cut the legs off of Angel. Why? This gruesome idea seems to come straight from the campy horror movie, Bloodfeast that Alig was so fond of.
Digging even deeper, I found the story changes again. The new folklore presents more mild characters of both Freeze and Alig. After Angel was hit over the head, they did nothing. Angel simply laid on the floor while they continued to consume more drugs. Eventually, they placed him in the tub in an attempt to revive him. Later, pushing him under water to see if they could observe bubbles to indicate breathing.
According to Freeze, he was in his room and heard yelling and that's what prompted him to eventually attack Angel. If that's all true, then when did this other story about the friend Daniel overdosing occur? All the parties involved have different versions of the story.
It's amazing the fans Alig still has. They are everywhere. I have read a lot about Michael and in most of these stories that are reported on the internet, you can see people have the option of leaving their comments. I have read many of these comments and I am shocked by the number of people who absolutely love Alig.
Sure, he was a great promoter and yes, he did have quite an effect on the NYC party scene. You could also say that Melendez was a drug dealer that probably should have been killed anyway but, that is no excuse for what Michael did. I watch these interviews and read his words and I do not hear an ounce of remorse. It's as if he's talking about something from a parallel universe. He appears disconnected.
It's very hard to find empathy in a character like Angel. He was a drug dealer. Lord knows how many overdoses happened because of his distribution of various drugs. I don't happen to look too fondly on people like him. Maybe in some odd way, he got what he deserved but, that wasn't for Michael to decide and, it certainly isn't okay to take the law into your own hands like that. If this was truly about self-defense, they both would have called the police. Drugs or no drugs, they had to have come down at some point. They could have gotten rid of the drugs, then called the police.
Who in the world gets done defending themselves and pours Drano down their victim's throat? Or, injects them with Drano? Or, puts their body on ice in a tub for several days? Or, later goes and cuts off that person's legs? Furthermore, though it was never admitted, the New York Post reported the body was sexually mutilated. Doing that stuff comes from a very sick, sinister place.
With all of the information I managed to find, I'm somewhat inclined to believe it's possible premeditation was involved. Again, I point to the Birthday flier. The image on the invitation is uncannily prescient: Alig lies dead, his skull shattered with a hammer beside him, as a Club Kid eats a forkful of his brains. The blurb around this picture promises: "Freeze, skinned alive, melting in a bloodbath," and "Legs Cut Off!".
The very idea that this was all a coincidence is possible but, was there something going on unconsciously? Were the thoughts Michael entertained for so long willed into existence? I also learned about other disturbing things in connection with Michael. It is rumored that Alig and definitely Freeze were involved in occult practices. Freeze considered himself to be a part of the *Church of Satan, and was a part of the occult, while Alig may have gotten involved in occult activities as well. Did they also eat part of Angel's body, as the Bloodfeast poster suggests? No one knows. If it did happen, it would be impossible to prove.
Ricardo Wiley, a close friend of Freeze's, and Gregory Kraemer who was a regular club goer and may have been close to Gatien were both suspected of having knowledge of the murder. Both of these men died. Ricardo of heart failure, and Gregory of a suicide. It was very beneficial for some that both of these men lost their lives at the time they did. They never had to answer any questions about what they may have known.
Alig and others, it is said, often referred to Angel as a cling-on, they said he was tacky, they made fun of his wings. They viewed him as a wannabe. Alig did like the drugs and he certainly needed money. Without a doubt, there was a motive to kill Angel. What better way to get all that he wanted from Angel, as well as fulfilling his gory fantasies of blood and dismemberment?
Michael claims the DEA was looking to bust Gatien and weren't interested in Angel's disappearance. They wanted Gatien and, seemed to indicate that they would look the other way as long as Alig would testify against Gatien. Having Alig classified as a murderer would destroy their case.
Throughout his accounts of what happened afterward, there seem to be almost no feelings of guilt. He's very centered on himself and what is happening to him, how everything is affecting him. At his sentencing, he said this:
"I came here today not prepared to accept my sentence, I [sic] so I didn't come with a speech because I was told we were going to postpone for another week, two weeks, or something like that, I don't know. All I know is I've been told lots of different things by lots of different people in exchange for me doing other things, and none of it has come true. I feel like I have been just railroaded. I have been used by the feds. When they were through with me, they sent me over here I feel like I have been lied to here to get me to accept this plea."
As you can see, Michael is very concerned about himself and what will happen to him. Never once does he reference that a young man's life is gone due to his actions. He offers no apology, no acknowledgment of his responsibility.
It is clear he was not wanting to serve any time. He expresses in this statement how he almost feels entitled to get away with what he has done.
His good friend James St. James, another main character in Alig's life, who eventually wrote a book about this murderer, claims that Alig is a sociopath and, that prison will not help him. St. James has gone so far as to describe Alig as a mirror, someone that looks at you and figures out what you want and, proceeds to fulfill that want.
American Justice Full Episodes Dancing, Drugs And Murder
American Justice offered their version of the story. I enjoyed this one the best. They covered the more important parts of the story and didn't seem to glorify Alig, the way the movie and The Shockumentary seem to. The Shockumentary covers the story just fine but, is filled with Alig's mother being interviewed and, making her son out to be a "special boy." She not only did ecstasy with her son when he flew her out to New York but, her air-head mentality can be summed up with - yes he killed but, he has such great fashion sense. I think the interview with Alig that they present just before he was arrested, is the most revealing and bone-chilling.
Drugs did play a role. They enhanced something that was already inside of Michael Alig. This was a man that had already shown signs of bizarre ideas and disgusting behaviors long before the murder occurred.
When you watch him in interviews, he is flippant. He doesn't care that he killed anyone. He's just upset that he got caught, that he wasn't clever enough to do something that would have allowed him to get away with the murder.
Still, there's something intriguing about him. I watch these videos and find myself not wanting him to be evil. I don't want to see this nice looking, witty man as someone who would kill and dismember a person.
Alig was sentenced to 10-20 years for his crime. He was up for parole a few times and because of the movie that was made and viewed by parole officers, as well as a dirty urine test, he was denied parole. He claims that he had a Percocet in his urine, so they added 4 years.
*The Church of Satan was founded by Anton LaVey. It should be noted that the beliefs have nothing to do with an actual Satan like the one described in the Bible. They typically refer to themselves as atheists. It's essentially a notion that you create your own world, it doesn't mean you are evil/good. Occult practices are sometimes associated with members but, have no direct affiliation with being a member of the Church of Satan.
Michael Alig, Murder, Club Kids
I have read the most interesting book that gives another side of this case - from the view of law enforcement that worked specifically with Alig. The book is by Lisa Sweetingham and is titled, "Chemical Cowboys - The DEA's Secret Mission to Hunt Down a Notorious Ecstasy Kingpin." I recommend it, especially for anyone that believes drugs are a victimless crime.
The book tells the story of the undercover agents, Gagne and Germanowski, that worked in the DEA, to bring down Peter Gatien, as well as other characters that were involved in the ecstasy trade in its height during the 90's. Back then, little was known about the drug, these cases were the first ever and, opened a door into drug trafficking not known prior.
One chilling detail that the book reveals is when agents, Gagne and Germanowski, confronted Alig with a picture of an unrecognizable torso, Alig immediately laughed and said, "That's not Angel." With his cockiness and knowing look, it was at that point the agents knew Alig killed Melendez. If Alig had nothing to do with Angel’s death, how could he confidentially say a torso, was not Angel's?
The book tells yet another rendition of Angel’s killing but, first I want to mention that the book affirms the difficulty behind the DEA trying to work a deal with Alig. It was NEVER the state's intention to let Michael walk. The state did not want Michael to give a confession because they needed him to be a reputable witness for the jury in the trial against Gatien. This is why they didn’t push him. They just asked him a few light questions, originally. They knew Riggs’s testimony could be disregarded because an addict will say anything to get methadone and he’d been detoxing before he finally wrote out his confession.
The DEA agents knew there would be problems but, Alig wanted to confess; they also felt that Angel’s family deserved some kind of justice, not for Alig to walk around like he got away with murder. They decided to allow Alig to confess, against the advisement of the state.
Now, what did Alig tell Germanowski and Gagne? I will try to summarize for you. A lot of what he said is consistent. It’s mostly the events that occurred afterward that are quite shocking.
First, Alig and Freeze had come home after being drugged all night. A few hours later, Melendez had come over asking Alig for his money, the money that Gatien had promised to pay Melendez for dealing drugs at his clubs. Apparently, he would get paid through Alig. Alig tries to explain to him that the more he bothers Gatien, the longer it will take to get his money. Melendez takes a nap.
Alig and Freeze take some cocaine from Melendez while he’s sleeping. They were also cooking special K. Freeze goes in his room. Melendez wakes up, Alig calls Gatien and Gatien’s wife tells Alig she will not put Gatien on the phone. Melendez becomes enraged, pushes Alig through a glass cabinet and Alig bites Melendez in the chest, grabs a t-shirt and stuffs it in Angel’s mouth. Freeze comes out of his room and grabs a hammer that was in the kitchen, smashes Angel’s head 3 times, then Alig chokes Angel with his hands.
Not knowing if he’s dead, they take a spoon and place it under Angel’s nose, nothing, no breathing. Michael says that he poured Drano or air freshener down Angel’s throat, he can’t be sure but, he wanted to cover the smell of decay. They stripped Melendez down to his underwear and placed him in the bathroom tub and added ice.
This is consistent with some of the other stories. Yet, there is no mention of Daniel Auster. Where is the part where his friend OD'd and they revived him with Angel's cocaine?
After they locked the bathroom door, they left the apartment and got high. They returned, Alig calls Gatein again and is met with the same resistance as before. Gatien's wife tells him to “handle whatever problem” there is. Alig later went to see Gatien at Tunnel and told him that he had a problem with Angel. Gatien acted weird, like he didn’t know who Angel was (this makes sense because Gatein was paranoid and knew he was being watched so, it’s possible he thought Michael was bugging him). Gatien gave Alig 160 dollars and told him to take care of his problem. Alig bought drugs with the money.
Alig had been planning to have a party at the apartment for weeks. He had decided to just put more ice on the body, keep the door locked and, have his party.
On the 8th day after Melendez had died, Alig returns to Gatein crying and confesses his crime. According to Alig, he told Gatien he wanted to go to the police, to which Gatien advised him not to, telling him that it would be the worst thing he could do. Gatien funneled $4000 to Michael over that week and, instructed him to leave town.
On the 10th day, Michael appointed Freeze to buy a tv and knives. Both of them went into the bathroom and cut off the legs from Melendez’s corpse. (It was not just Michael). They placed the legs in garbage bags and walked down to the Hudson and threw the bags in. They then got high again and stayed out all night. The following day, they stuffed the torso in a bag, placed it in the television box and walked out of the front lobby to catch a cab. They threw the box with the rest of Melendez inside over the railing and into the Hudson. The box was so tightly sealed, it floated.
After this confession, Germanowski wanted to know what Alig did with Melendez’s testicles. It is confirmed in this book that the testicles were indeed cut off – surgically removed. Alig insisted that he didn’t know what they were talking about. They didn’t press him because; they felt that maybe whatever he did was too dark for Michael to discuss with them.
That’s just a highlight of what is in this book. It’s a quick page-turner and is filled with some amazing characters. There are a few parts that are actually funny but, it shows a dark side of drugs and, just how involved these DEA agents were with the people they were trying to help.
Gagne and Germanowski actually seemed to like Alig and felt bad that Gatien had let him down. Oh, and there’s much more with Gatien and his attorney. The book is explosive.
Some Recent Activity
I decided to come back to this article and add a few new details and some extra information. Some of these tidbits are a bit random.
Peter Gatien's daughter did an interview with Michael just prior to his release. She made the documentary titled, Limelight. For a fee of ten bucks, you can watch the full length feature. If you're someone who is interested in learning a bit more about the club life in New York and the story of Gatien, you will likely enjoy it.
Michael was released on May 5, 2014. Riggs was released on March 30, 2010. There is little information on Robert Riggs. He appears to be staying out of any spotlight. One update states he's been accepted into the NYU's Ph.D. program in Sociology.
In 2014, Alig tried a hand in music with a new song called "What's In" with Greg Tanoose (feat. DJ Keoki).
August 31st, 2014 - Alig and fellow club kid Ernie Glam started their YouTube Channel with a show they titled, Peeew! The pair can be found typically posted up directly in front of the camera as they partake in the gossip of their past, prime days. Many videos discuss trends in New York culture, issues that involve the LGBTQQIP2LMFAO... (whatever we're calling it these days), community. Occasionally, they provide updates concerning all our favorite club kids.
To be fair, I haven't religiously watched their shows. I have binged watched several episodes over the past few years. They can be funny. Many people seem to suspect Alig is back on drugs. During each episode, they offer their own commercials where Michael is trying to shill his art and some copy of a Shampoo movie he did years ago.
Initially, this show was fairly consistent with uploads. In early 2016, the pair called it quits but later returned after an 11-month hiatus. As of writing this (7/27/18), their schedule is still fairly sporadic and their last episode was 2 weeks ago.
February 2, 2017 - Michael Alig was arrested again. This time, for possession of crystal meth. Eventually, the charge was dropped. Initially, Michael tried telling people that he did not have crystal meth but instead healing crystals. Later, he tells his YouTube audience that he was carrying drugs back to someone else, and denies using anything for himself. He admits he was wrong but, only time will tell if he will ever get his act fully together.