The 1985 film Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge became one of the queerest horror movies of all time for its homoerotic overtones and its young male lead, a then-closeted actor named Mark Patton.
Patton’s character in the film has a high-pitched scream, goes to a leather bar, dreams of his P.E. coach showering, and speaks of his interior battle against the film’s murderous bogey man with the double-entendre line, “He’s inside me and he wants to take me again!” Patton’s character gets scared and runs away while making out with his gal pal and he prefers sleeping over at his male friend’s house.
At the time, Patton thought that playing the male lead in a successful horror franchise would launch his career, but the homophobia he faced afterwards effectively ended it. Not only would people come up to him at horror conventions and tell him how much they hated his film, but Hollywood rumors about his sexuality amid the rising HIV epidemic made life (in his words) “a nightmare.”
In a trailer for Scream, Queen! a 2019 documentary about Patton’s experience with the film, Patton says, “I wasn’t an out gay actor. I was a gay person and I was living in terror. My lover was dying, people went through our trash, and my agents are waiting to see if I can play straight.”
The documentary explores the effects homophobia had on his prematurely ended acting career, how the sequel was eventually taken up by gay fans as a cult classic and Patton’s confrontation with its creators to understand whether it was intentionally created as homoerotic and its legacy and effect on him more than 30 years later.
Here is a trailer for the documentary Scream, Queen!:
The film isn’t out yet but is currently making it way through the film festival circuit.