An interesting little tidbit about me: years ago, when A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge star Mark Patton had come in to be interviewed for the Never Sleep Again documentary, I was one of the first two reporters to interview him upon his reemergence. I knew at the time it was a big deal, but now after viewing Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street, I realize just how monumental that moment was, especially for Patton, who had left Hollywood behind in the mid-’80s, and hadn’t looked back until that very moment when he came in to talk about his involvement in the sequel.
Directed by Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen, Scream, Queen! is centered around Mark Patton’s life now, as he makes appearances around the world, as well as what his life and career were like early on until he starred in Freddy’s Revenge, and how that film, as well as other circumstances, derailed Patton’s thriving career, with him deciding to relocate to Mexico so that he could live out his days in anonymity, running a storefront in Puerto Vallarta. What many may not realize is that while it was Patton’s decision to move away and lead a new life, it wasn’t wholly by his own design either, with the industry making things incredibly difficult for him after the release of the highly controversial Nightmare on Elm Street sequel, which would end up being known by many as “the gay Nightmare on Elm Street.” And in 1985, that wasn’t something that was welcomed openly in society, and especially in the business of making movies.
Ever since Never Sleep Again, Mark has reclaimed his place amongst all the great genre actors who have made their indelible impact on the landscape of horror, appearing at conventions and special screenings all over the world for the last decade, educating and entertaining fans about his life and more. While it is truly a shame that Patton had to walk away from his successful career in the first place, I think the journey that he’s been on over the last decade is a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit, and one man’s determination to change the narrative in regards to his own life as well as the long-running conversation surrounding Freddy’s Revenge.
One of the biggest driving forces in Scream, Queen! is Mark’s desire to get some closure in terms of how A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 was initially received upon its release, and how the sequel, and Mark’s role in the film, had been mocked by many nearly 35 years ago, with writer David Chaskin throwing Patton under the proverbial bus time and time again, blaming the actor for turning Freddy’s Revenge into a “gay movie.” The reality, though, is that Patton wasn’t responsible for how NOES 2 turned out, as many of Mark’s fellow cast members—including Robert Englund and Robert Rusler—discuss in this documentary how they recognized early on the subtext rippling throughout Chaskin’s script. Scream, Queen! culminates with Patton meeting with David Chaskin in an effort to get some closure, and while he doesn’t quite get the apology that he deserves here, Mark does get to say his piece to Chaskin, and that’s worth something at the very least.
Beyond Mark’s desire to meet with Chaskin, Scream, Queen! does a great job of going into his life prior to Freddy’s Revenge, and truthfully, I didn’t know much about his career outside of his involvement in the Nightmare series, so I found that stuff extremely compelling, especially as Patton recounted his experiences working with the likes of Robert Altman and Cher, his experiences as he launched his career in New York City before heading west in search of more opportunities as an actor, and how after finding great success in Hollywood, the AIDS crisis, coupled with having to keep his own sexuality hidden, really took a toll on him, with Mark almost dying at one point when he was battling tuberculosis while being HIV positive.
As expected, it’s Mark’s own words that drive most of My Nightmare on Elm Street, but we also get appearances from a slew of notable folks, including the aforementioned Englund and Rusler, as well as Jack Sholder (who directed Freddy’s Revenge), Kim Myers, Peaches Christ, and more who also add their own insights into the sequel and share their stories about Mark and what the sequel means to them, too.
2019 has been an exceptional year for genre-related documentaries, and Scream, Queen! is yet another stellar exploration of the power of horror movies and how they not only impact the lives of fans everywhere, but the people involved with them as well. Mark has done an incredible job of becoming an advocate for LGBT issues and charities, and it’s great to see Patton and his fighting spirit being celebrated in Jensen and Chimienti’s riveting documentary.
Movie Score: 4/5
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