By DEIRDRE CRIMMINS
SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
Starring Mark Patton, Robert Englund, and Robert Rusler
Directed by Roman Chimienti Tyler Jensen
The End Productions
Queerness and horror have always had a long connection whether you were aware of it or not. The entire concept of “the other” and living among those who have secrets has been a reality for many who did not dare emerge from the closet into an unkind world. SCREAM, QUEEN! takes a good, long look at one of the biggest slasher films to bring attention to the homoerotic tension in the genre and how that display of gay themes affected the film’s young star.
After starring in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE up and coming star Mark Patton all but disappeared from the public eye. When this documentary catches up with him in his sleepy Mexican town, he has plenty to say about the film’s impact on his life as both an actor and as a gay man, and it is clear that much of that is still fresh emotional wounds from being seen as the reason the film was no initially embraced by fans. Patton is open and vulnerable about his history within the horror genre and is able to articulate well precisely where this has left him.
In addition to plenty of time looking directly at Patton and his complicated relationship with NIGHTMARE 2, SCREAM, QUEEN! also contextualizes itself within the world of both 1908s horror and queer cinema in general. This was in the era of the beginning AIDS crisis, when gay men were not invisible nor were they able to largely be the ones to tell their own stories. Interviews with filmmakers and fans set the stage for the 1985 followup to Wes Craven’s now classic first Freddy film, and we also get to hear why fans are divided on their affection towards it.
While it is clear to see that Patton is still struggling with certain elements of his past, and SCREAM, QUEEN! never glosses over that hardship, it is also satisfying to see the comradery he has found both in the horror world and in the queer community. These two lots are not mutually exclusive, and know all too well what it is like to operate just outside of the mainstream. I am by no means arguing that their “otherness” is comparable, but is heartwarming to see Patton find various versions of feeling home when he is with people who love him for everything he is.
SCREAM, QUEEN! never claims to set out to solve any worldwide problems or solve eternal mysteries. It is a tight, straightforward documentary about one corner of the horror world that has been under appreciated for so long, and it is a love letter to those who have always loved it.