Mark Patton certainly never aspired to be a cult film star. He began his career on Broadway among the likes of Cher, Karen Black and Sandy Dennis. Soon he was turning heads and found his way into a number of national commercials and bit film roles. With his star in ascendance, the closeted actor found himself cast in the leading role of Jesse Walsh in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, the sequel to one of the most profitable horror franchises of the ’80s.
A Big Break. A Wrong Turn
What was supposed to be a launchpad for a long-lasting career became universally reviled by critics and audiences alike, sending Patton into a tailspin. He began to recognize the underlying homosexual subtext of the film that not only failed to resonate with homophobic audiences, but actually fed into the hysteria of the swelling tsunami of AIDS.
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As his personal life became affected by seemingly endless tragedy, he opted for a life of solitude, escaping to Mexico and disappearing entirely from the spotlight. He married his husband, opened a business, and found a level of happiness he’d not known before.
Facing His Demons
Eventually, a new generation of LGBTQ fans began to identify with the underlying homosexual themes within the sequel that had torpedoed his career. Patton brought out of his self-imposed bubble and welcomed onto the horror convention circuit. It was there he discovered just how much appreciation and respect his fans had for him and his performance. Scores of fans would line up for hours hoping for a brief moment to share a few words with Patton on what his bravery had meant to them in their coming out process and how it had affected their own lives.
Though this development was a delightful surprise to Patton, he slowly understood that he hadn’t fully dealt with his own issues making the film. So he and the filmmakers (Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jense) began pursuing the film’s writer, David Chaskin, to discuss the affect his script had on Patton’s life. While Patton is clearly anticipating a satisfying resolution, it readily becomes apparent that not everyone is capable of making amends for the choices they’ve made.
Loss. Self-Discovery. Legacy.
Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street is not to be missed. It’s infused with ample humor, sincerity, sadness and hope. It’s also an exceptional documentary that delivers a profound and historically significant time capsule of ’80s Hollywood. The palpable heart of its story glows, despite the unexpected tale of bigotry within the horror genre. Ultimately, the film gives Mark Patton the spotlight he finally deserves.
Metrosource rating: 4 out of 4 snaps.
Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street was directed by Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen
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Last modified: October 29, 2019