Documentary Week: Scream, Queen – My Nightmare on Elm Street (2020)

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This documentary of what many consider the 1st gay horror film and its star, the first male scream queen, is riveting in its depiction of the film’s subject, former actor Mark Patton.

In 1985, after the success of A Nightmare of Elm Street, a sequel was written by David Chaskin that would change the game. Instead of the typical tropes involving a final girl, A Nightmare of Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge would have a final boy in Jesse Walsh, a young man whose family moves into the old Thompson house from the original. Loaded with homoerotic tones, the film was released at a time where the AIDS epidemic was at an all-time high. This, along with the tone of the film, resulted in its lead actor Mark Patton leaving Hollywood.

In 2010, Patton was invited to talk about his experiences on the sequel for the documentary Never Sleep Again. Hearing many things over the years, he agreed on the condition that Chaskin admit he purposely added the homoerotic tones. This film takes us on Patton’s journey as he comes out of the spotlight, learning a new generation of fans have appreciated his work on the film. He comes to conventions, has reunited with the director and fellow cast members. Now an openly gay man who is HIV-positive, Patton wants to put the final stamp on the pain he had endured involving the film for over 30 years. And to do so, he will find himself finally face to face with the one who he has blamed all these years with the hopes of finding peace once again.

Before I talk about this documentary, I want to say when I first saw Nightmare on Elm Street 2, I didn’t think much of the tone of the film. I saw it as a just a simple horror film and it was my official 1st introduction to Freddy Krueger. Now that that’s off my chest, I have to say this is a documentary that is well worth watching. The reason, like some recent documentaries, there’s no sugarcoating things. Mark Patton takes the viewer on his personal journey, from his humble beginnings and realization that he was a gay man, his male modeling, how he had to hide being in the closet because of the backlash involving the AIDS epidemic and Hollywood, making Nightmare 2, his decision to ditch Hollywood and his current life in Mexico.

We get to know Patton not only as a former actor, but as a gay man who is in fact HIV-positive and how in today’s society, it’s changed to where it’s accepted. We even get to meet Patton’s husband and see a glimpse of his life at home. However, while Patton is now reveling in the acceptance of both himself and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, we also see he still has this bit of a grudge against screenwriter David Chaskin. For years, Chaskin had put the blame on Patton’s acting for the film having these homoerotic tones and whatnot. When Chaskin finally admitted to the tonal shift in the 2010 documentary on Elm Street’s legacy, Patton felt like there needed to be more to just admitting it. Seeing Patton and Chaskin face to face to finally talk and bury the hatchet seemed like an exhilarating moment that finally gives Patton his peace.

What’s also great here is not just the level of acceptance in the recent years and seeing Patton reunite with fellow cast members from Nightmare 2 such as Robert Rusler, Kim Myers, and Freddy himself, Robert Englund. While it may seem like Mark Patton would be nowhere to be found, this documentary just shows that not only is he back and has re-emerged from the depths of hell (no pun intended), but he is now in a place where he feels more welcome than ever before.

Scream, Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street is an intimate look at both the life and career of Mark Patton as we go on his journey to find peace with everything involved with A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 in terms of both a professional and personal level. It is great to see that him return to the limelight and find acceptance everywhere around him.

WFG RATING: A+

A The End Productions film. Directors: Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen. Producers: Mark Patton and Roman Chimienti. Cinematography: Julian Bernstein, Amber Gray, Tyler Jensen, Sasha Landskov, Eavvon O’Neal, Mark Zemel. Editing: Tyler Jensen.

Cast: Mark Patton, Hector Morales, Jack Sholder, Robert Englund, Kim Myers, Robert Rusler, David Chaskin, Clu Gulager, JoAnn Willette, Linnea Quigley, Bill Nugent, Peaches Christ, Cecil Baldwin.

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