Written by Elizabeth Bishop
2015 marked the 30th anniversary of horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddys Revenge.
Scream, Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street is a documentary following Mark Patton as he embarks on a year long tour of fan conventions, and a journey of self healing as he comes face to face with David Chaskin to finally set the record straight about the intended sexual agenda of the film which publicly outed him and ended his acting career before it even began.
Mark has been dubbed the male Greta Garbo after his role in Freddys Revenge resulted in him quitting his acting career and essentially going into hiding. Starring as the lead in what has since been called ‘the gayest horror movie ever’ made him an overnight sensation, however, with the release of the film and Marks concurrent outing timed with the breakout of the aids pandemic, his career and personal life quickly disintegrated into fear, loneliness and depression.
Scream, Queen gives us a fascinating insight into what it was like for Mark to be a part of one of the biggest horror franchises in history, and how his subsequent outing resulted in him being typecast as gay characters only, whilst his agents encouraged him to ‘act straight’. It’s also a depressing look at the state of the world at that time, where homophobia and ignorance ran rife. The release of Freddy’s Revenge coincided with the break out of the HIV pandemic, a virus which was unknown then. Cue the miseducation of the masses who were fearmongered into believing that gay men were to be feared, and that simply being around them could result in catching HIV yourself.
Mark discusses how young actors were being blood-tested on set of movies and turned away for roles if they were suspected as being gay. Actresses were refusing to kiss men for roles who hadn’t been tested, for fear that they would contract the virus.
He also shares his experiences of being in the public eye when loving and losing a partner to HIV, and then finding out that, he too, was HIV positive. He shares a gut wrenchingly open and honest account about what that was like then, how it resulted in him also suffering severe depression, and how the treatments and quality of life with both illnesses has improved in the time since, whilst making a poignant point that the stigma around these still remains.
But it isn’t all doom and gloom, Scream, Queen also shows us Mark at his very best – interacting with his fans at conventions all across the USA. There are tonnes of interviews with long time fans of Mark and of Freddy’s Revenge with them sharing stories about how Jesse was their first crush, how it was their unintentional introduction to gay cinema, and their first experience of seeing a man on screen who they could relate to – someone who wasn’t uber-masculine, someone who wasn’t ashamed to be scared, and someone who was fighting a fear inside him that no one else could understand or relate to.
“All his energy is for his fans”– Hector Morales Mondragon, Mark’s Husband of 16 years.
Scream, Queen also has interviews with cast, crew and creators of Freddy’s Revenge, and allows Mark to finally come face to face with them to discuss how and why the movie affected his life so much. It’s satisfying, yet frustrating how some of the interactions proceed, but it’s certainly interesting to hear the two sides to the story.
Mark is now a gay activist, and spends a lot of his time making appearances and using his platform to educate the public on bullying, homophobia and HIV. In a time where the number of hate crimes committed against LGBTQ+ people in America is rising year by year, with the majority targeted at gay men, what he is doing for the community is really important and unfortunately, necessary.
Mark is a real inspiration, his story is one of struggle and loss and rising above it all to embrace who you really are and what really matters. Everyone should see this documentary, even if you are not a fan of horror or the NOES franchise (but if you are – it’s a real bonus).
“I wanted to save Jesse, and I saved him”– Mark Patton.
Rating: 4 out of 5