Title: Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street (2019)
Directors: Roman Chimienti, Tyler Jensen
Runtime: 99 minutes

In 1984, the world was introduced to Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street. The film was a smashing success, and instantly had a sequel green-lit and released in 1985. This sequel was drastically different from the original, and would focus on a male lead, something that is still rare in the slasher genre. Wes Craven did not direct or write the script, but he did suggest to the film’s writer, David Chaskin, to place more focus on Lisa, the female neighbor and possible love interest for Jesse. Chaskin did, but Mark Patton’s Jesse is still the main character, and Chaskin blames Patton for giving the character – and film – its homosexual subtext.

Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street follows actor Mark Patton on the horror convention circuit, and meets up with former cast and crew. At its core, the documentary is about what Patton went through on set, and how the film effected his career, and his mental health.

Since Freddy’s Revenge released, the film has gained a cult following. As a kid I would literally rent the film every weekend, and even sent my mom back to the video store because my siblings once swapped my film for another one they wanted to see. I would constantly quote the movie, and still do to this day.

However, as a kid I never once picked up on any of the homosexual undertones. Hell, homosexuality wasn’t even something that was discussed at the time, and I was too young to witness the AIDS epidemic when it happened. Now Freddy’s Revenge is widely known as a queer classic, and I definitely see why whenever I revisit it.

A lot of blame fell on Mark Patton for how he played Jesse: he screamed like a girl, had a dance scene in his briefs, and he even went to a gay leather bar where there is some BDSM in a shower room! So here’s a budding actor, starring in the hottest new horror series, and he’s basically ruined because he’s gay. His agents told him he wouldn’t be able to play a straight character after Freddy’s Revenge. The writer also blames Mark for the film’s gay undertones when he had no intention for it to be that way.

After this film, Mark basically left the acting world. He ended up moving to Mexico, and owning an art store with his partner. He wouldn’t look up anything on the internet about himself, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 became just a part of his past that ruined whatever acting career that might have been.

And then, along comes the Never Sleep Again documentary, and Mark is found, and interviewed. This is how he ends up where he is today, touring the convention circuit and meeting fans. Here’s the thing, though: writer David Chaskin’s comments in interviews really hurt Patton’s feelings, and he’s even a bit angry about it. They’ve never sat down to talk about it, until this film.

While Scream, Queen! is half talking-heads interviews, it covers Mark dealing with this anger at the writer. The climax of the film is the two of them sitting down and talking about how the comments and blame affected Mark. I’ll admit that I actually found myself in tears as it all came to a head. The ‘80s were so different than the world we live in today, and for Mark to have carried this anger and hurt for so many years was heartbreaking.

I won’t ruin what happens in this confrontation, or try and paint my takeaways of both the actor and the writer. I was interested from the start of the film, and I was fully invested in Mark’s story until the credits rolled.

Fair warning: if you’ve seen Never Sleep Again, you won’t get a whole lot of new information on the making of Freddy’s Revenge. There’s very little about the making of the film as this is completely about Mark Patton, what he went through after the film’s release, and how he’s come to embrace the movie that essentially ruined any career he’d hoped for. It covers a time when homosexuality wasn’t openly accepted, and it’s a story that’s worth telling because we need to remember how far we’ve come as a society.

Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street is a solid documentary. I was invested from the start, through to its powerful conclusion. Fans of queer cinema, or the Elm Street series, should definitely check this one out.

A screener of Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street (2019) was provided to Cinefessions by co-director Tyler Jensen. The movie is currently making the rounds at film festivals, and as of the time of this review, has no wide release date. Please visit the film’s official website for a listing of the Fall 2019 Tour dates to find a showing near you.