Examines the infamous homoerotic subtext and the special place the film holds in the Nightmare franchise as well as the gay film canon. Partly in thanks to evolving social mores, Nightmare on Elm Street 2 - which was considered controversial at the time of its release - is now being looked back upon with a new appreciation and fondness by horror aficionados and fans of the series.
Starring: Mark Patton, Cecil Baldwin, and Marshall Bell
Directed by: Roman Chimienti, and Tyler Jensen
First off, much credit to Mark Patton for doing a documentary so focused on his personal life. Yes, there’s talk about the movie, but this really dives deep into his life before, during, and after “Nightmare on Elm Street 2.” The experiences he went through weren’t easy, and must have been hard to revisit. On the other hand, it seems like he’s gotten some relief from this documentary, and now has found his way back into the Nightmare fandom.
Depending on where this movie falls in your Nightmare rankings, and even when you first watched it might have an effect on how you view this documentary. As the documentary points out, there’s a lot of hate for this film because some people saw the main character, Jesse (Mark Patton) as gay. It gives examples of scenes like when Jesse screams, does the dance in his room, and even brings up the bar in the movie being a gay bar. This didn’t seem to go over well with audiences’ in the 1980’s, a time when people were becoming more aware of HIV/AIDS. Basically people weren’t ready for a male scream queen.
Right when Mark seemed to get his big break in Nightmare on Elm St 2, his career was about to come to an end. His agents were ready to change the approach for him to get jobs, and Mark went from being an up-and-coming actor to being a gay actor. It would be tough for him to get jobs, especially a leading role. Instead of trying to fight it, Mark disappeared from public life. He might have left Hollywood behind, but he still went through may personal battles.
One of the reasons he did this documentary was to change the narrative on Nightmare 2. He felt like part of the reason for the film’s hate was unfairly blamed on him. It wasn’t until the Never Sleep Again documentary came about that Mark would find his way back into the spotlight. He started doing conventions in support of the film’s 30th anniversary, and soon had a big panel with the cast, and director. This gave them all a chance to talk about what happened, and how Mark felt.
However to get ultimate closure, Mark would have to face his own personal Freddy, writer David Chaskin. Mark felt David put the movie’s failures on him, and wanted to clear this up with him. Mark and David have a very interesting talk, each giving their side of the story. David talks about how he wrote the story, while Mark talked about some of the things that happened on set. This conversation could have gone in many directions, but might finally put an end to what happened.
One of the points of watching a documentary is to learn something, and boy did I do a lot of it with “Scream Queen My Nightmare on Elm Street.” Admittedly, this is my least favorite Nightmare movie, but not for many of the reasons mentioned here. I just hated the idea of Freddy trying to come out of Jesse, and couldn’t tell you when the last time I saw this movie. So as this documentary unfolds, I wondered if I watched the same movie because I never watched it thinking anything about it having a gay undertone. I don’t think I was old enough to know about those things, or what to look for.
Also, as much of a horror fan as I am, I didn’t know anything about what happened behind the scenes of this movie, nor did I ever view a guy as a scream queen. Definitely a fascinating concept in its own right, and something we will probably see more of in the future. The documentary really opened my eyes on many things involving the movie, and makes me actually want to give it another try. If you love Nightmare 2, then you should definitely check this out. If you hated it, then don’t be afraid to check this out, and see if it changes your opinion, or at least gives you a different view point. Learn something about Mark, the Nightmare franchise, and even life in the movie business back in the 80’s. I give the documentary 3.5 pools of blood, and a big thank you to Mark for bringing his story to us!