Movies & TV / Reviews

Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street Review

June 5, 2020 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Scream, Queen! My Nightmare On Elm Street
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street Review  

Directed By: Roman Chimienti, Tyler Jensen

Written by: Michael Beard, Clint Catalyst, Leo Herrera, Justin Lockwood

Story: Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street sets the records straight about the controversial sequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street, which ended Mark Patton’s acting career, just as it was about to begin. Scream Queen follows Patton as he travels to horror conventions across the U.S. Each new city unwraps a chapter from his life that is met with equal parts joyful and bittersweet detail, as he attempts to make peace with his past and embrace his legacy as cinema’s first male “scream queen.” Scream Queen also finds Patton confronting Freddy’s Revenge cast and crew for the first time, including co-stars Robert Rusler, Kim Myers and Clu Gulager, as well as Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund.

If you’re a long-time fan of A Nightmare on Elm Street, you are well aware of the talk surrounding the second entry, Freddy’s Revenge. The reactions to the movie have been varied, from those who enjoy the change in direction to others who prefer the series as it would later become. The film is definitely an odd one in the series, although time has been kinder to it than, say, the very 80s-feeling The Dream Master.

However, all anyone seems to want to talk about anymore is the fact that there’s a gay subtext in the movie. Horror fans have debated several things about it, including whether it was intentional and whether it was necessary. I’ve written in the past wondering why they didn’t just make the film’s hero Jesse gay and the themes overt, being incredibly naive about a mainstream horror film doing that in the 1980s. Needless to say, it’s obvious why they wouldn’t do that during that time, as even having it as subtext proved controversial.

Some people just simply dismiss it for that reason, as easily as they would dismiss Halloween 3 for not having Michael Myers. Others mock it and, more importantly, mocked its star, Mark Patton, for his involvement. As a result of that, Patton, who is actually gay, suffered irreparable damage to his acting career. That’s what the new documentary Scream Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street is all about.

This is a movie that has been in development for years, as Patton was presenting trailers for it at conventions way back in 2015. As it turns out, he was still shooting at those conventions to showcase footage of him meeting fans for the 30th anniversary of Nightmare 2. That’s just only one facet of the story, which covers Patton’s entire life and career, as well as his coming to terms with the movie that caused him so much pain over the years.

The movie goes into some very deep territory, mainly to set the stage for why Freddy’s Revenge was so controversial when it came out, and to show Patton’s state of mind at the time. It was due to a combination of things, including open homophobia in Hollywood (a montage helpfully shows just how many of your favorites used slurs) and the panic over the AIDS epidemic. This led to a movie with a gay subtext (or maybe just text, depending on who you ask) and reviews notice. As the documentary points out, screenwriter David Chaskin blamed Patton, as he claimed he didn’t write the movie that way.

The movie goes in several different directions but they all come back to the star and how he dealt with what was going on. For example, it reveals that Patton nearly died as a result of a multitude of diseases while in Mexico, thanks to being HIV positive. It comments on why he went off the grid and what finally made him decide to come out of hiding. It paints the tale of a man who went through more than he should have, all because of the prejudice of others.

And yet, even while discussing the clear hurt the events caused him, Patton never comes off as bitter. It’s actually the opposite. He’s very likable and seems to have a good outlook on things now. All he really wanted is someone to be held accountable and to apologize for what happened to him, and that results in a climax of sorts as he confronts Chaskin. And yet, even if Chaskin wronged him, the movie doesn’t paint him in a negative light. Even Patton admits he doesn’t want anyone to have the wrong idea about the screenwriter.

Scream, Queen is ultimately a very powerful watch, and a documentary with a lot to say. It also manages to go in several different directions, covering a variety of topics, without losing focus. You wouldn’t think a movie about a slasher sequel could cover cyberbullying, the AIDS epidemic and the film’s newfound cult fanbase while still being about one man’s story, but it does so with ease. It’s available everywhere for purchase or rent, or Shudder for streaming, so give it a shot.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Scream Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street is a powerful documentary that shows just how one film can change an actor's life, even if that isn't always for the better. The story of Mark Patton is ultimately not a sad one, though, as he managed to persevere and come out stronger on the other side. If you're a fan of the Nightmare franchise at all, this is a must watch.