Murder on the dancefloor, eye-popping club tracks and hypersexual encounters: these are the parties we want to be at
You don’t need a multi-million dollar Hollywood budget to throw the craziest party ever seen in New York, Berlin or your no-one-gets-out-alive suburban hell. Sometimes it’s just shoving people in a small room with some rollies and teenage hypersexuality, or you can go the whole hog with an interesting dress code like the 90s club kids of Party Monster (2003) or Bowie’s terrifying hair/leggings combo in Labyrinth (1986).
Eden is the latest film by Mia Hansen-Løve, which follows French DJ Paul, who pioneered the French house underground genre. The film traces the coke-addled, bass-jumping highs and dark, lonely come downs of the rave-dominated era – as well as the huge parties. In honour of its release, we look at some of our favourite party scenes on film.
THE MOON TOWER PARTY IN DAZED AND CONFUSED (1993)
Ah, the coming of age story named after that really great Led Zeppelin song. Dazed and Confused follows different cliques on their last day of school in Texas, on the eve of summer 1976, and there’s a party at the moon tower. Follow a heavily moustached Matthew McConaughey into the woods and up the hill to the coolest high school keg party ever. Choose to do a keg stand with the jocks or smoke a joint with the stoners. With a soundtrack including The Runaways, ZZ Top, Deep Purple and KISS, it’s an Americana extravaganza. It’s all about the living man, “L-I-V-I-N”.
THE HOSPITAL PARTY IN PARTY MONSTER (2003)
If anyone knows how to throw a good party, it’s the K-holing, glitter encrusted – sometimes murderous – socialites that haunt New York’s Limelight and Palladium, known as the club kids. Party Monster traces Macaulay Culkin as Michael Alig, sliding down a slippery slope from fabulousness physically manifested and bass-thumping dancefloors, to world notoriety for the murder of a drug dealer. Despite, you know, the murder and all, the hospital-themed party attended by all the club kids worth knowing is incredible. And Michael’s the hospital’s top doctor, lording around the party in his interesting take on scrubs. Syringe shots, anyone?
AFTER PARTIES AND THE GOOD OLD DAYS OF RAVE IN HUMAN TRAFFIC (1999)
Emulating the second summer of love and some serious party vibes, Human Traffic is the indie film that did away with the demonisation of the 90s rave scene, bringing the chemical generation and infectious dance tunes to the forefront of its era. The film traces the ups and (come) downs of a party weekend in Cardiff for local young people disillusioned with what’s outside of their culture bubble. Hit the sticky-floored local and come alive in the clubs booming with Artmesia and Frankie Knuckles, and maybe share a heart-to-heart in a toilet cubicle with a young Danny Dyer before you’re out again doing 'big fish little fish'.
THE BALLROOM IN LABYRINTH (1986)
Who doesn’t want to dance with Bowie? Well, maybe not when he’s playing Jareth the Goblin King and threatening your baby brother, but look at that hair. For many of us as young teenagers, Labyrinth was a sexual awakening, and one hell of a party that we sure would have stuck around at. As Sarah goes on a quest to solve the Labyrinth in 13 hours to save her brother, she encounters weird muppet creatures and lands herself in a seriously trippy masquerade ball. It’s got all the right levels of hedonism, fantasy and a tinge of fear and doom that every party needs.
THE CAPULET’S HOUSE PARTY IN ROMEO + JULIET (1996)
Featuring a young Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes (who apparently hated each other, because hey, everyone loves a good drama at a party), Romeo + Juliet is the Baz Luhrmann adaptation of Shakespeare, set in Verona Beach, California. It’s at the Capulet’s boozy fancy dress party that Romeo first lays eyes on Juliet. Soundtracked by Garbage and The Wannadies among others, pop really does go well with Shakespeare, enough to get you grooving anyway. Great party, too bad it’s this particular chance meeting that causes the couple's tragic deaths.
THE TEENAGER’S HOUSE PARTY IN ALMOST FAMOUS (2000)
“I AM A GOLDEN GOD." a feeling everyone should experience at the party of their life at least once. In this scene, 15-year-old wannabe rock journalist William is acting as chaperone to Russell, the lead singer of Stillwater who’s been pushed out by the rest of the band – and who’s really high on LSD. Besides the fact he’s reached deity status in his own head, there’s a huge pool, lots of kegs and legions of adoring fans to fawn over Russell. And it’s the 70s.
THE DRUG DEALER’S BIRTHDAY PARTY IN DOPE (2015)
The soundtrack is made up of roof-banging greatness, and the protagonist Malcolm, a supposed geek, potential dealer and old school hip hop lover is into Public Enemy and Awreeoh. With an ensemble cast including Zoe Kravitz, A$AP Rocky and Tyga, you know the best songs are going to be spun all night long. This crime comedy is a movie that’s reinventing the hood film, plus, you see the geeks get to have a good time too.
THE UNDERGROUND BERLIN CLUBS IN VICTORIA (2015)
This film makes us want to head to Berghain right now. Spanish waitress Victoria spends her nights partying in the strobe-lighted, bass-reverberating haunts of Berlin. A few hours before her early shift in a café, she finds herself roped into a bank heist, tagging along with the charming Sonne and his ex-con crew. Shot in a continuous take, the gang run around Berlin like the cool, party central, urban playground that it is.
THE ENTIRETY OF SPRING BREAKERS (2013)
Spring break. Spring breeaaak. Spring breeeak, forever! A group of female college students are as devoted to this sentiment as anyone could ever be, robbing a local shop to secure a few weeks getting pissed with every other American teenager in Florida. After getting arrested and then bailed out by the grilled-up, gangster rapper Alien played by James Franco (who he apparently based off of rapper RIFF RAFF), the women swap overpriced student nights and coursework for guns, bongs and seats in private strip clubs. Going pro comes with a lot of the party benefits, if you can evade the law.
THE NASA CLUB IN KIDS (1995)
Kids was the Larry Clark film that immortalised youth culture in New York with no attempt to demonise what was going on. What was going on? Drugs, sex and drama. Jenny and Fidget (played by a young Chloë Sevigny and Harmony Korine) are two teenagers who venture into the NASA club, ogling at the technicolour drugs, alcohol and pierced tongues poking out of the foursomes happening around them. "Don't you know tricks are for kids?" says Korine. Yeah, we know.