Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street Review – SQIFF 2020


A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge seemed like the perfect movie to propel up and coming leading actor Mark Patton into Hollywood stardom.

However, the sequel to Wes Craven’s much loved classic slasher did the exact opposite, bringing his promising career hopes to a standstill.

The horror sequel was poorly received by fans and critics compared to its famous predecessor but it has gained a cult following in subsequent years, with its highly debated gay subtext often at the forefront of any discussions and celebrations.

Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street is an eye-opening documentary produced by Patton himself that tells the story of his experiences on the 1985 horror flick and the effects that his leading turn as Jesse Walsh have had on his life and career.

The Dream before the Nightmare


Credit: Virgil Films

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Scream, Queen! allows Patton the chance to tell his side of the story, to share his thoughts and feelings on the much-debated subtext in the film and to confront the demons from his past that still haunts him, and I’m not talking about Freddy Kruger.

The film begins with Patton charting his journey to Hollywood and his early work experiences on stage and screen, including his time on Broadway with none other than showbiz sensation Cher, seriously how gay can you get?

He also delves into the more personal details of his life around the time of Freddy’s Revenge, and he comments on how the release of the movie coincided with the peak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the culture of outing actors affected his experience.

It’s a fascinating watch as the audience listens to Patton reflect on his time in Hollywood and the specific circumstances which shaped it into the experience he had, however in this early segment the narration can feel a tad overdramatic even despite the campness of it all.

Queer Joy in Horror Hell


Credit: Virgil Films

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The documentary goes on to study the films cult success and Patton’s interaction with fans as well as the cast and crew of the film in the subsequent years following its release.

This part of the documentary really highlights Patton’s character well as we see how he interacts with fans and how he conducts himself on panels and at screenings.

It’s really lovely to see him receive love from fans years after the barrage of homophobic abuse and negative reviews that came as a result of his performance.

There’s a particular sequence in the documentary that remembers the infamous dance scene that takes place in Jesse’s bedroom, one of the scenes most heavily cited when discussing the gay undertones of the film.

This might be the most joyous section of Scream, Queen! as it rightfully celebrates this classic moment of cult cinema, showing just how much fans have grown to love this scene from the film.

One, Two, Jesse’s Coming for You


Credit: Virgil Films

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The film builds towards an emotionally fraught confrontation between Patton and the screenwriter of Freddy’s Revenge, David Chaskin.

Leading up to this final faceoff the film looks at the relationship between the screenplay and Patton’s performance, debating the reason for audiences interpreting the film as homoerotic.

The film collects the opinions of the cast and crew, as well as fans on whether or not they think that Chaskin deliberately wrote the film with queer subtext and it charts the ongoing friction between Chaskin and Patton that has arisen from this debate.

This final confrontation between the pair feels like a fitting finale for the documentary and offers a satisfying conclusion for viewers, actually tackling the main subject of the film head-on.

This makes Scream, Queen! a must-see for fans of the Elm Street series as it provides fascinating insights from almost all of the major cast and crew from the film.

With such vast access to those who created the film, this documentary offers a rich conversation about its queerness, lead by Patton who the majority of the debate focuses on.

However, whilst fans of Elm Street should thoroughly enjoy this it’s possibly even more important and appealing for queer horror fans.

The documentary highlights the importance of Freddy’s Revenge for many queer individuals growing up and the positive effects it has had for them, giving an interesting commentary on gay content in films at the time.

Ultimately Scream, Queen! Is one of those rare examples of when the documentary is better than the original film it’s about, providing closure for Patton and a serving as a celebration for fans.

There’s certainly no nightmare here as fans now have a dream double bill for any Halloween fright night.

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