A Documentary on the Actor Whose Dream and Nightmare Came From the Same Movie
DIRECTED BY ROMAN CHIMIENTI, TYLER JENSEN/2019
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge is a movie that I barely remember watching as a child. For some reason it was never on the usual outlets for consuming horror (probably because of the reputation of the film). When I got a little bit older, and became a passionate fan of Wes Craven, I rebelled against the movie because it was the one he skipped over before returning for Dream Warriors, the best entry in the whole franchise (don’t @ me, please). But then when I got even a little bit older and really delved into my leftwing politics and became a big fan of queer cinema, someone told me I should watch Freddy’s Revenge again. And then I did a complete 180 and became a huge defender of the movie. This was further solidified by the documentary Never Sleep Again. And then along came the news of the documentary Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street, but with that came the news that lead actor Mark Patton had major beef with writer David Chaskin, and then I had no idea what to make of the reputation of the movie.
What I REALLY think of Freddy’s Revenge is, it is a flawed yet enjoyable movie- like pretty much every slasher movie of the 80’s. The hatred towards it and the ridiculous claim it’s any worse than some of the others, like say, Dream Child, is probably based in some homophobia. But going into this documentary, I wanted to clear my mind and take it in as a fan who knows nothing about the history of the franchise, as a good portion of its audience will not.
And even with that, Scream, Queen! will suck you in through Mark Patton. A sweet, caring, timid yet bold man who was at one time supposed to be the next rising star in Hollywood but instead had his career severely damaged by the movie that was supposed to propel him. He wears the pain in his face but does not let it break him. After leaving LA and moving to Mexico, he wanted to stay in a place that did not know his past. And it wasn’t until 2010 and the aforementioned Never Sleep Again documentary- in which he participated, but only after the filmmakers hired a private detective to track him down and agreeing to his terms- did he reemerge in the horror world. Freddy’s Revenge, he learned, took on a life of its own in his absence. Both with its defenders and with the deplorable scum who live on internet comment sections who attack the film, and him, with homophobic hatred.
Scream, Queen! is such a fascinating movie, tackling everything from the franchise itself, to the warm embracing family of horror conventions that Patton began appearing at, to who is responsible for how this movie is perceived and the pointing fingers between writer, director and actor. It also touches on toxic internet culture, living with HIV (which Patton received from someone he deeply cares for) to not living the life you planned, but the life that took you other places you couldn’t have imagined.
And, the movie gives you the showdown that is promised from the beginning, the showdown that Patton wanted the whole time: the confrontation with Chaskin. But this is no Michael Moore style ambush (not that a good ambush isn’t called for at times). Rather Patton is a sensitive person who wants answers and understanding. He wants a healthy gathering and a simple apology. That kindness paired with determination at the center of Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street is why it is such an interesting documentary.