“Scream, Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street” – Movie Review

Following up their insightful and inclusive 2019 documentary, Horror Noire, Shudder just released another original documentary, dealing with a very real issue in both our world, as well as the horror genre.

Coinciding with the beginning of Pride Month, Scream, Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street not only address the “infamous” gay subtext of Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, it also tells an emotional and compelling story of the struggles that lead actor Mark Patton faced, both on screen and off.

The Most “Controversial” Nightmare Movie
Ever since its release 35 years ago, Freddy’s Revenge has often been referred to as the “gayest horror movie ever made”.

Film scholars have studied it for sociological reasons, and fans have had very mixed reactions, ranging from indifference to outright homophobia, claiming they want nothing to do with it.

The documentary features a great deal of footage from conventions, where we see that even now, some fans (and it is only some) still make gay jokes and show a lack of interest in Freddy’s Revenge due to its subtext.

Due to his seemingly feminine mannerisms, many labeled Mark Patton as the first male “scream queen”, something which began as a bit of an insult, but now wears as a badge of pride.

But at the same time, the film has been fully embraced by the LGBTQ+ community, as for many of them, this movie hits close to home.

We see footage of Mark Patton attending screenings, and now using his experiences for social activism and celebration.

The film means a great deal to a great many fans.

The Tragic Effects on Its Star
Following Freddy’s Revenge, Mark Patton virtually dropped off the face of the Earth. The documentary reveals that when they were making 2010’s Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, Patton was the hardest actor to track down.

They even had to hire a private investigator who found him running an art shop in Puerto Vallarte, Mexico.

The subsequent 25 years had been filled with personal tragedy with the death of Patton’s lover, Timothy Patrick Murphy of AIDS in 1988, as well as Patton’s attempt to escape from it all.

Murphy was best known for his role on Dallas. RIP (1959-1988)

And while he had carved a new life for himself, the scars of his experience from working on Freddy’s Revenge never fully healed. And he was still carrying a great burden, until producing this current documentary.

Accepting the Past to Change the Future
At its core, Scream, Queen is really about Mark Patton coming to terms with his past, and letting go of the demons that had long haunted him.

There is nothing that could make up for the barrage of homophobia and hateful comments said about him, but letting go of one grudge in particular certainly proved cathartic.

We see him, along with the other stars and director of Freddy’s Revenge at a convention for its 30th anniversary back in 2015. Patton noted that screenwriter David Chaskin was noticeably absent.

Granted, it is a lot of fun to see the rest of the cast and crew reuinute for the anniversary.

For years, the entire “gay subtext” was denied by Chaskin, claiming that it wasn’t intentional and that it was largely Patton’s performance that infused this hidden meaning.

Naturally, Patton took offense, as he was the one who endured the endless slew of slurs, when in reality, he was just acting out what was written in the script.

In recent years, Chaskin has admitted to the subtext, stating that it was more fun to toy with journalists by denying it, but all while he was having this fun, Patton was suffering for it.

Their confrontation serves as the documentary’s emotional climax, and while it’s incredibly awkward and tense at the beginning (Chaskin chuckles very frequently, while Patton does not), it ends with a genuinely heart-warming reconciliation that we can tell means the world to Patton.

The camerawork and editing in this interview is brilliant. starting off cold and distant and each of them is seen only in closeup, then as the conversation gets deeper and more emotional, we see them both together.

Freddy’s Revenge made waves in both the horror and gay communities, but this documentary is very much Mark Patton’s story. And it’s one worth telling.

Scream, Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street is streaming exclusively on Shudder

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