Scream Queens are a huge part of the horror genre. They are our final girls who at the end defeat the “evil” or the bad guy. They are victorious, they come out on top and they become stronger. They become the face of power in horror. We cheer for them, we root for them, we support them. But what happens when the role is reversed and instead of a female protagonist that we focus on, we get a male protagonist?
The film A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge does exactly that. We are introduced to a male lead, Jesse Walsh, played by Mark Patton, and to be honest, no one was truly ready for that. Even though ANOES 2 did great at the box office with $$$, it didn’t really occur to me that it was a big deal to have a male protagonist or a male scream queen when I first watched it YEARS ago. I distinctly remember thinking “well this is different”.
On Shudder, this documentary is about the impact of ANOES 2 but more so on the impact on actor Mark Patton.
So we’re gonna talk about Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street.
Going into this, I only knew of a few things: we’re gonna talk about Freddy’s Revenge, we’re going to talk about the “subtext” but blatantly obvious text of this movie and Mark Patton. What I wasn’t expecting was the overall energy around this film that really haunted Patton. I’m saying past tense because I am hopeful that he has found some kind of peace with this film and its writer and possibly director. There was more aggression towards the writer so we’re gonna stick with that.
Anywho, the documentary is overall about Mark Patton’s life as a child through his commercial career to eventual starring role in the nightmare franchise. It was eye opening to see his big highs and then the lowest of lows during the 80s and I wasn’t around then, well, 87, but the fact that he managed to survive the turmoils of the 80s as a then closeted gay man is remarkable. I hope that we are all aware and not ignorant to how the aids/hiv epidemic was towards the gay community and sometimes we forget. We forget how fucking scary that time period was. The amount of hate and aggression and fear was at a very high tense point. And the personal backstory of what Patton was dealing with at the time, there was a definite pit in my stomach. You’d think that out of all this darkness there would be some kind of saving grace and even the saving grace turned out to be hell as well. That happened to be the film coming out at the most interesting time.
We know about Freddy’s Revenge, what people have said and thought about this movie. I talked about this film maybe a year ago about the cinematography than the actual plot though I still wish the movie was more like the house itself was being haunted by the events of the first film, plus Freddy’s energy through the house. I re-read this film’s post and I criticized the story and some of the directing but I really like the visuals and special effects. I also said that it’s a movie that has grown on me and that there are some redeeming qualities about the film. I remembered the subtext more than the actual plot. I definitely wished there was more to the story, to his story and I never got it and I think that’s the disappointment I had with the film itself. It could have been bigger and go beyond what the script was and never got it. Now rethinking about the film along with the documentary, I can see the resentment and unhappiness that lingered around Patton. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 was supposed to be a jumping off point for him and instead, it’s like the film turned its back on him all because articles were picking up on things in the film. Some of the fans as well. Some actors saw it in the script, some didn’t, but the writer clearly knew what he was doing yet lied (and thankfully owned up to it). I remember watching the documentary Never Sleep Again which is about the franchise overall and even then, I was thinking, hmm, I don’t believe the writer on what he says about the film (then).
So the documentary is the redemption of Patton’s life and career. He carried a heavy weight on his shoulder that followed him up til perhaps when this documentary was done. To walk away from Hollywood and basically seclude yourself in a whole other country for decades is telling. He was dealt with a horrible set of cards and what I got from the film is just redemption. I have to say it again because it’s true. Patton is now an advocate for the gay community and accepted his role as a scream queen. He also makes some really cool art with his husband in Mexico and honestly, I want some of the art.
ANOES 2 is similar to how Halloween 3 is in the way it’s treated. It’s the black sheep of the franchises that get hated on because it “doesn’t fit in with the narrative of the franchise” or “it’s too different.” I think we all fall in that category of we like our films a certain way, we follow the bandwagon and that’s it. The love for Halloween 3, in my opinion, has shifted to more positive because of its uniqueness. It’s the most Halloween-feeling and the most dangerous because the villain does not give a damn about endangering childrens’ lives. And I’ve seen the same for Freddy’s Revenge.
I’d recommend Scream, Queen if you’re a lover of the genre, of the nightmare franchise or documentaries. It is available through Shudder as an exclusive.
I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.