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Review: An ‘Elm Street’ actor’s nightmare may finally be over

Mark Patton, subject of the documentary ‘Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street,’ in the 1985 movie ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge’
Mark Patton, subject of the documentary “Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street,” shown in the 1985 movie “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge.”
(New Line Cinema)

Horror movies usually end with the hero facing down the big, bad demon that has haunted him or her for the previous 90 minutes. For “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” star Mark Patton, it took 30 years, but that catharsis finally happened in real life. The new documentary “Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street,” directed by Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen, was there.

The 1985 sequel to Wes Craven’s horror classic made money but was slashed by critics. Fans were similarly unforgiving on first assessment. Over the years, though, the critiques — and appreciation — came to center on the movie’s homoerotic aspects. That made it a cult favorite … and, in Patton’s view, a career-ender.

Mark Patton confronts David Chaskin, writer of the 1985 film that was supposed to be Patton’s big break, ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge’
Mark Patton, right, confronts David Chaskin, writer of the 1985 film that was supposed to be Patton’s big break, “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge.”
(Virgil Films)

The documentary finds a now-out Patton emerging from self-imposed exile in Mexico to participate in 30th-anniversary festivities. He has been through extremely hard times but come out whole. While he enthusiastically embraces his new fame as a gay horror icon, he has an agenda as he hits the convention circuit: to confront the film’s writer, David Chaskin, who seemed to blame him for the film’s failings — and even its gayness.

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“Scream, Queen!” enjoys Patton’s full participation; he is a producer on the film. He recounts growing up in a conservative Midwestern town, escaping to New York to pursue acting, falling in love with another closeted actor in Hollywood, and suffering mightily through the AIDS crisis of the ’80s. Perhaps the slickly made documentary overstates the cultural impact of a little-seen and widely disliked film. However, it earns points for scraping at the surface of something rarely discussed in film fandom — homosexuality in horror.

‘Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street’
Not rated

Running time: 1 hours, 39 minutes

Playing: Starts Feb. 27, Laemmle Glendale; Q&A with subject Mark Patton following the 7:10 p.m. show, Feb. 27, and the 9:55 p.m. shows, Feb. 28-29; available March 3 on VOD


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Trailer for “Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street.”


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