Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street is a 2019 documentary following the journey of actor Mark Patton who was driven out of Hollywood after the backlash of his portrayal of a gay leading man in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. One part dissection of the homoerotic elements of the film and one part testimonial, the documentary is a deeply personal account from the first gay horror icon. The Blu-ray from ETR Media and Vinegar Syndrome offers a solid A/V package and a wealth of special features. Worth A Look.
“That’s what movies do, they manipulate people.”
Following the cultural and critical backlash of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge for its assumed portrayal of a closeted gay main character, lead actor Mark Patton was outed in 1980’s Hollywood during the AIDS epidemic. He fled the film industry to suffer in silence as the film that was destined to make him a star made him the laughing stock of the horror genre for decades until progressive audiences began to embrace it as the first gay horror film.
The documentary Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street by directors Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen follows Mark after he was tracked down for the film Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy in which the actor revealed his troubled history. Now Mark is willing to embrace a new generation of fans discovering his work and leaving behind decades of hateful comments and an industry that never supported his lifestyle. While focused on telling Mark’s story the documentary looks at gay horror criticism, the AIDS epidemic, and the ability for Mark to now become a voice for those who saw his turn as Jesse as a beacon for their sexual identity.
The bulk of the film shows Mark touring various conventions culminating in the first-ever Freddy’s Revenge cast reunion in 2015 to celebrate the film’s 30th Anniversary. This journey is filled with interviews with cast members, horror critics, and fans who’ve grown to love the film. Chimienti and Jensen keep the feature lean while giving Patton plenty of breathing room throughout to let us into his life.
For Mark, his journey won’t be complete until he can face screenwriter David Chaskin who he blames for ruining his career. Patton admits that his fury with Chaskin is that when it was unacceptable to be gay (or make gay films) the blame for the film’s failure went to Patton, but now that the film is receiving attention Chaskin takes credit for the gay subtext. Patton is essentially left out to dry as the weak actor who couldn’t handle the scrutiny of the time.
Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street is Mark Patton’s confrontation with his legacy as the first gay horror icon but also serves to develop the conversation about homophobia in Hollywood and the gay audiences who’ve embraced horror. The film focuses on Mark more than on Freddy’s Revenge making the experience personal rather than analytical. While everything seemingly leads toward the tense conversation between Chaskin and Patton, this documentary is more about the journey rather than the final destination.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street arrives on Blu-ray thanks to ETR Media and Vinegar Syndrome. Packaged in a transparent keepcase the Region A Blu-ray is accompanied by an insert booklet and reversible artwork. Loading the disc you’re treated to the ETR Media logo before landing on the Main Menu screen with scenes from the documentary playing above typical navigation options.
ETR Media brings Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street to Blu-ray with a pleasing AVC encoded 1080p image in the film’s original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Interview segments offer plenty of fine detail in facial features and costuming though shots with writer David Chaskin are very dark and lacking detail. Primaries pop nicely when featured with reds and blues showing real confidence. The use of archival footage from films and interviews is frequent with those pieces appearing in their original source quality. Chimienti and Jensen utilize handheld cameras for most segments of the film when following Patton around conventions which can be a bit jarring at times.
Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street arrives on Blu-ray with a well defined 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix that handles the proceedings confidently. This dialogue heavy film occupies the center and front channels for interview segments while the surrounds and LFE channels are given plenty of atmospherics and music cues creating an inviting atmosphere for horror fans. Dialogue is clear and cleanly presented.
ETR provides plenty of bonus material for casual fans of the documentary and those looking to take a deeper dive into horror criticism and fandom. Start with the commentary track!
Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street succeeds in bringing to light the impact of Freddy’s Revenge on gay audiences as well as giving Mark Patton time to tell his story and confront his devils. The film never relents giving Patton a platform and showing his journey however difficult it may be for him. ETR and Vinegar Syndrome offer the film with a solid A/V presentation and a wealth of special features for those interested in horror criticism. This may only appeal to the biggest horror hounds and Elm Street fans, but it's a doc that's certainly Worth A Look.