“Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street,” now available for streaming on Shudder, is a documentary concerning “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” star Mark Patton and how the horror sequel affected his life and career.
Patton has lived A LOT of life. Prior to his “Freddy’s Revenge” gig he was directed by Robert Altman on Broadway and in the big screen adaptation of “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.” Patton is now openly gay, but was in the closet during the filming of “Freddy’s Revenge.” “Scream, Queen!” hammers the point home that it wasn’t feasible for a working actor to be out in the mid-‘80s because of the AIDS panic plaguing Hollywood following Rock Hudson’s passing from the disease. Patton was in a longtime, live-in, on-again, off-again relationship with another closeted actor Timothy Patrick Murphy (“Dallas”) prior to Murphy succumbing to AIDS in 1988. Patton himself was diagnosed with HIV on his 40th birthday. He subsequently moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and married a man named Hector Morales Mondragon. The couple own and operate an art store. Patton was entirely out of showbiz prior to appearing in directors Dan Farrands and Andrew Kasch’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” documentary “Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy.” He now tours horror conventions as cinema’s first male “scream queen” (There’s even footage taken from Indianapolis’ HorrorHound!) and donates most of his appearance fees to HIV treatment groups and charities benefitting LGBTQ youth.
“Scream, Queen!” deals much more directly with gay culture from the ’80s and Patton’s own life than it does with the making of “Freddy’s Revenge” itself. “Freddy’s Revenge” and Patton have received much scorn for how gay they are. By the same token, “Freddy’s Revenge” and Patton have gained cult status and appreciation for how gay they are. Screenwriter David Chaskin asserts that the sub-textual became textual thanks to Patton’s performance. Director Jack Sholder (“The Hidden”) claims to have been oblivious to the homoerotic themes present in “Freddy’s Revenge” due to stressors during filming – this despite a scene taking place in a gay bar and an S&M-inspired death sequence set in a gym shower replete with bare-assed towel spanking. Patton blames his collaborators for not reining him in more during his infamous bedroom dance or “girlish scream.”
Patton serves as a producer on “Scream, Queen!,” which was directed capably but unspectacularly by Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen. The project veers from vanity to vendetta when Patton all but demands an apology from Chaskin. “Scream, Queen!” is not as solid as the aforementioned “Never Sleep Again” nor “Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror” (another socially-conscious horror doc available for streaming on Shudder), but Patton makes an interesting enough subject that genre fans could do worse during Pride Month even if he’s more drama queen than scream queen.