Cleveland International Film Festival } March 25 – April 5, 2020 } Tower City Cinemas

Years in the Making: Co-directors Tell Gay Actor's Horror Story

April 05, 2019   |   posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers

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“I blame ‘Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge’ for my love of the horror genre,” says Roman Chimienti, co-director of “Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street.” When fellow co-director Tyler Jensen learned about the film that Chimienti was working on that was based on that cult classic, he says, “I knew I had to be a part of it.”

Their film, “Scream, Queen!,” follows the story of Mark Patton decades after he starred in “Nightmare 2” which is known for its blatant homoerotic undertones.

Patton was a gay actor in the ‘80s during the AIDS crisis and rampant homophobia, and he began to live his own nightmare. Back then, being gay in Hollywood could cost you your career. In the film’s trailer, Patton states, “I wake up in the middle of the first movie that I’m the lead actor in, and realize that there’s a gay subtext in it.” After the film, he fell into obscurity.

Respect for “Nightmare 2” has grown in recent years with the gay rights movement. Chimienti decided to track down Patton a few years ago. After some research and a few emails, Chimienti found more than he expected, and he was “quickly learning that there was a bigger story that had been kept secret for decades.”

The film fleshes out and discusses this bigger story and how it relates to today. “Today we have gay subculture exploding into mainstream and pop culture and it’s easy to take comfort in the victories we have made as a community,” remarks Jensen. “But in 2019 it’s still extremely important that we acknowledge and heal the wounds that were inflicted on us not very many years ago.”

The film captures broader relevance beyond Freddy Krueger and horror. It delves into how the struggles of homosexuals in 1985 relate to today. Jensen called these parallels, “too similar to ignore.” The story is more than interesting. “Mark’s Hollywood story is fascinating and unique--and, at the same time, it speaks for all of us,” Chimienti says.

Chimienti and Jensen had nothing but admiration for Patton. The co-directors followed the “scream queen” for more than a year with regular follow ups for a few more years. “Mark was incredibly generous with his time and his story and gave us full access into his life,” Chimienti comments.

Jensen continues the praise, “(Patton) maintains an upbeat and joyous energy when he's interacting with the fans, but isn't afraid to talk about the dark periods of his life and the obstacles he's had to face in order to be a survivor.”

The filmmakers conclude, “Sometimes it’s through our stories and experiences that we discover our similarities. “We hope that ‘Scream, Queen!’ can offer that rare glimpse of Hollywood, homophobia, and Freddy Krueger to all audiences.”

--W. Connor Drake

PHOTO: Roman Chimienti, left, a sound engineer based in NYC, initially contacted Mark Patton through Facebook. Tyler Jensen, right, is a director and editor based in NYC. He has a tattoo of the “Freddy Krueger telephone” on his arm.

PDF  Download Related PDF [1.3 MB]

Related Screenings:
04/05/19 @ 9:40 PM – Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street
04/06/19 @ 11:45 AM – Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street

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