REVIEW: SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET

Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street (2019)

Featuring

Mark Patton (Amityville IV)
Cecil Baldwin (Gravity Falls)
Robert Englund (Freddy vs Jason)
Robert Rusler (Babylon 5)
Marshall Bell (Starship Troopers)
Kim Myers (Hellraiser: Bloodlines)
Clu Gulager (Feast)
JoAnn Willette (Real Genius)
Linnea Quigley (Graduation Day)
Jeffrey Marcus (Frozen)
Joshua Grannell (The Diary of a Teenage Girl)
Heather Langenkamp (New Nightmare)

Mark Patton in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)While there have been a few lengthy explorations of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series, “Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street” doesn’t have much interest in the screen wrath and pop culture influence of Freddy Krueger. Instead, filmmakers Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen quest to spotlight the life of Mark Patton, the star of 1985’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge,” who was set to hit the big time with his turn as Jesse, the boy tormented by the razor-fingered menace, only to find himself crucified by viewers for the gay overtones of the movie created by screenwriter David Chaskin. Patton was destroyed by the experience, erasing his desire to continue acting, but “Freddy’s Revenge” wouldn’t go away, growing in popularity and analysis as the years passed, giving the feature a second life, while Patton was singled out as the first male scream queen, complicating his relationship with a despised horror sequel he thought would rocket him to the big time.Mark Patton in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)Patton labels “Scream, Queen!” as a “testimony,” not journalism, permitting cameras to follow him as he embarks on a 2015 tour of horror conventions. Going around the country, Patton engages with fans, but these are people he never knew existed, as the actor elected to keep away from his grim reality in Hollywood, moving to Mexico to set up shop on a dusty road, finding peace far away from his past life. The Patton on display in the documentary is eager to be of service, taking the responsibility of these paid interactions seriously, greeting all sorts of “Fred Heads” who are quick to share their fandom and, most importantly, their gratitude. Amazingly, over the decades since the release of “Freddy’s Revenge,” Jesse has become a gay icon, with the saga of the meek, feminine boy possessed by the rage of a movie maniac becoming a beacon for LGBTQ viewers, with some experiencing the first stirrings of something special within while watching the feature.Kim Myers and Mark Patton in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)While film nerds and horror hounds have been aware of this resurgence of interest in “Freddy’s Revenge,” the news comes as a surprise to Patton, who experienced hellacious mockery and bullying for his portrayal of Jesse, exposed to the worst criticism and, later in life, the full blast of online ugliness, with fans singling him out as the element that ruined the hotly anticipated follow-up to “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” “Scream, Queen!” explores his reunion with “Freddy’s Revenge,” but Chimienti and Jensen aren’t making a movie documentary, instead using the event to dig deeper into Patton’s life, which was filled with promise before participation in the sequel. “Scream, Queen!” tracks Patton’s upbringing with his troubled family and his initial move to New York City, using his naivety to land an agent, soon embarking on a career in commercials and eventually scoring a role on Broadway, working with Cher on “Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean,” where he received his first taste of the fame he craved.Mark Patton in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)Patton was primed for the big time, but he was also a gay man in an industry that didn’t want to acknowledge such a thing, forcing him to lead two lives in a way. “Scream, Queen!” inspects his private life, falling in love with “Dallas” actor Timothy Patrick Murphy, and it also details the experience of AIDS in the 1980s, with the disease destroying the gay community, forcing professionals to experience agony in secret, including Patton, who couldn’t bear the extraordinary homophobia of the era. A surprising amount of screen time is devoted to an understanding of the AIDS crisis and Patton’s own battles during the decade, which turned him into an advocate while taking on his own health issues. While “Scream, Queen!” deals with “Freddy’s Revenge,” Chimienti and Jensen also have something to share about the personal struggles of gay men facing a dire future of illness and condemnation, with Patton emotionally recalling his survival during a harrowing time.Robert Englund and Mark Patton in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)“Scream, Queen!” returns to “Freddy’s Revenge,” highlighting its resurgence of popularity and critical examination, with the filmmakers visiting a college classroom and revival screenings to capture this newfound excitement over what’s now proudly considered to be classic by gay audiences, appreciated for its camp appeal (including Jesse’s awkward bedroom dance) and dark fantasies. If there’s a villain to be found in the documentary, it’s Chaskin, who for years blamed Patton for the erasure of his “subtext,” only to claim ownership of the material when the movie returned to prominence. Patton wants to confront the screenwriter, making the feature one long trip to this uneasy sit-down, which permits the actor a chance to share his complex feelings on the matter, purging himself of anger (director Jack Sholder coldly tells Patton to “get over it”). “Elm Street” fans are sure to enjoy this arc of the picture, which reunites Patton with his friendly co-stars (including Kim Myers and Robert Rusler), getting to the heart of issues surrounding “Freddy’s Revenge,” though curiously missing is Patton’s own assessment of the sequel. “Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street” packs a lot of material into its run time, following extreme highs and lows, but the helmers never lose sight of Patton and his intimate journey, with the actor coming to terms with his position as Jesse the Scream Queen, finding closure as he finally deals with the role that forever changed his life.

REVIEW: NEVER SLEEP AGAIN: THE ELM STREET LEGACY

 

CAST

Robert Englund (Wishmaster)
Heather Langenkamp (Hellraiser: Judgement)
Wes Craven (Scream 4)
Robert Shaye (New Nightmare)
Amanda Wyss (Highlander: THe Series)
Jsu Garcia (Along Came Polly)
John Saxon (From Dusk Till Dawn)
Leslie Hoffman (Star Trek: DS9)
Robert Rusler (Weird Science)
Kim Myers (Hellraiser 4)
Clu Gulager (The Virginian)
Marshall Bell (Total Recall)
Ken Sagoes (Intolerable Cruelty)
Rodney Eastman (I Spit On Your Grave)
Penelope Dudrow (After Midnight)
Jennifer Rubin (Screamers)
Ira Heiden (Alias)
Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Priscilla Pointer (The Flash)
Brooke Bundy (General Hospital)
Lisa Wilcox (Watchers Reborn)
Tuesday Knight (The Fan)
Lisa Zane (Bad Influence)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
Kane Hodder (Jaxon X)
Breendan Fletcher (Bloodrayne 3)
Zack Ward (Transformers)
Marshall Bell (Starship Troopers)
Erika Anderson (October 22)
Alice Cooper (Dark Shadows)
Miko Hughes (Roswell)
Whit Hertford (Jurassic Park)
Monica Keena (Aftermath)
Jason Mewes (Jay & Silent Bob Reboot)
Kelly Jo Minter (The Lost Boys)
Mark Patton (Amityville: Evil Never Dies)
Lin Shaye (Insideous)
Brooke Theiss (Catwoman)

The documentary itself lasts just under 4 hours, each film gets at least 25 minutes dedicated to it, and Freddy’s Nightmares and New Line Cinema get a brief discussion as well. Asides from Johnny Depp and Patricia Arquette more or less everyone from the 8 films is interviewed. I watched the whole documentary in one sitting, at no point does it drag. It isn’t just talking heads there are interesting behind the scenes photos and videos, some of which feature unused special effects and deleted scenes – including a replacement for Robert Englund if he had wanted to much of a pay rise for the second film, I’ll say this, thankfully the two parties came to agreement! The interviewees don’t just pander to one another and pat each other on the back, they are quick to point out flaws in their own performances and disappointment with others.537b56a81cd15eae281b892a881f5538Highly recommended. It is the perfect companion to the films.