Documentary Spotlight: Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street

The Claws Are Out

by robotGEEK

We all know the story by now. While technically a hit, Freddy's Revenge ultimately became the film in the franchise that fans considered their least favorite, which honestly surprises the shit out of me because I can't and have never sat all the way through Part 5: The Dream Child. It's just so awful. But I've always enjoyed Part 2: Freddy's Revenge, even when none of my friends did. I've always felt it was made surprisingly well, considering it was coming off the heels of one of the biggest horror films in history. But I was usually alone in those feelings. And I was made all the more aware of those feelings when I showed it to my wife and she just did not care for it at all.

But we all know what ultimately happened. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge would gain notoriety as the "gayest horror film ever made", something I was completely unaware of until recently. Whether intentional or not (depending on who you ask), it was loaded with subtle and not so subtle gay subtext and has since become something of an "experience" in the LGBT community, who feverishly embraced it in the same way so many have embraced The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Mark Patton played the lead in Freddy's Revenge, and while it was supposed to be his big Hollywood break, it instead derailed it completely and because of the fallout, he vanished from the film business, and well from society as a whole. In fact, when they made the excellent documentary on the Elm Street franchise, Never Sleep Again, the filmmakers found it almost impossible to find him, having to resort to a private investigator who found him in the most unlikeliest of places on the planet, completely unaware of the cult status that his ill-timed and ill-fated breakout role had gained since that release all those years ago in 1985.

With the release of that documentary, there was new and massive interest in just what the hell the filmmakers were really thinking when they made that film. Was the gay stuff on purpose? Was it even really there, or was it just something people wanted to see? Again, that all depends on who you ask, as every single person from the actors to the filmmakers behind the camera will give you a different answer. Mark Patton suddenly found himself famous all over again, but this time he was going to take advantage of it and use his newfound celebrity to bring a spotlight to something that has haunted him for decades, and changed the course of his life forever.

Filmmakers Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen have created a completely engrossing and thought-provoking documentary around Mark Patton, his life as an up and coming actor, his big breakout role that was supposed to launch his career in Hollywood, to his life as a closeted gay man in an industry that was not very accepting of that at the time, to his walking away from Hollywood and the spotlight forever. That is until Never Sleep Again revived it, only to a much different degree.

While Scream, Queen! does primarily focus on Patton's experience making that cult classic film, it also puts a lot of focus on the industry as a whole in the mid 80's, where AIDS and HIV was at it's peak and fast becoming an epidemic. If you were gay and an actor, you couldn't simply live as a gay man. You had to pretend and fool the public into thinking you were straight, or else you weren't getting cast in anything. Not to mention the naive and downright ugly side of peoples prejudices towards the subject back then. I mean, it was bad, and studios, actors and companies would impose ludicrous rules that will leave your jaw dropped to the floor when you hear about them in this documentary. To think that that was a world we lived in once upon a time seems shocking to me today, but for so many people in the industry, it was such a sad and tragic reality.

What I loved so much about this was that they tackle all of that prejudice and hate and make us all face it in such a way that it's almost a sympathetic hour and a half crash course on the film industry, and how far we've come since then. Of course, that's not all it's about, just one of many layers Scream, Queen! presents to us. Another one is Mark Patton's ability to take something that caused him so much pain, and use it as a teaching tool to others, where he tours the world using his newfound celebrity status teaching people about HIV and AIDS in an entertaining and fundamental way who's goal is to help people rather than be preachy about it.

Throughout the documentary, there is a villain, and it's not Freddy Krueger, but rather the writer of Freddy's Revenge, David Chaskin (The Curse, I, Madman). Chaskin has never been 100% truthful about his role, however big or small, that the gay subtext played in the film was intentional or accidental. In some interviews he says it was intentional, and in others he claims it wasn't. There was even an ill attempt at a humorous quote that only made it so much worse when taken out of context. Patton has always blamed Chaskin, more than anyone else, for his downfall, for his exile from Hollywood, and he uses the documentary as an opportunity to get the truth, to hear the words from David Chaskin himself.

To say this is an important documentary is an understatement, not only for horror fans, or fans of Freddy's Revenge, but also for the LGBT community, who wholeheartedly embraced the film and all of it's gayness to such a degree that it's more popular now than it ever was. It's also an important and quite eye-opening documentary about prejudices against the LGBT community, not only within the film industry, but in everyday life. It's an eye-opening film experience and one I won't soon forget.

Ultimately Mark Patton has gained newfound success as a motivational speaker and activist and travels the horror convention circuit regularly meeting and greeting eager fans who get to embrace in person, for some, their first gay role model.

Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street is currently available to rent on Amazon, YouTube, Google Play and Vudu. You can also purchase it on DVD from any number of your favorite online retailers.


80's Action Attack!: Instant Justice (1986)

by robotGEEK

This is a film I've been trying to get my hands on for what seems like ages....just because I'm such a fan of old school under the radar action films of the 80's and 90's. Released in 1986, Instant Justice AKA Marine Issue is a film that stars Michael Pare and Tawny Kitaen about a marine (Pare), who's sister goes missing in Madrid, Spain. After receiving a harrowing phone call from her, he sets out for Madrid in trying to locate her, only to discover he's too late and she's been murdered. With the help of a prostitute (Kitaen), he sets out in trying to find her killers.

Man, this was such a letdown. The best way I can describe this was that it's an incompetent action film. Now don't get me wrong. I love that shit. I thrive on it. Some of my favorite movies ever are incompetent action films. You know the ones, the So Bad, They're Good? A few that come to mind were actually all released the following year; Steele Justice, Mankillers and Deadly Prey, and they're glorious. But sadly, this does not fall into that category. It's an action film that doesn't seem to know how to actually make an action film properly, because everything just feels off in the area's that matter the most in this genre; choreography in the fights and action sequences, editing and even down to the acting. Trust me, it feels weird commenting on the acting of all things in an action film, but jesus it's awful. Even Pare seems to be phoning it in. And he'd already appeared in several high profile films before this; Streets of Fire, The Philadelphia Experiment and Eddie and the Cruisers. Sure he's never been the most versatile actor, but even I couldn't help but notice his lack of......character here.

Of course after having finally seen this and had some time to process and digest it, the fault clearly lies on French director Denis Amar. Here's a guy who'd never directed an action film before, or since from what I can gather, and it shows. Oh it shows all over the screen and it's so painful to watch because I can't help but feel there's a good movie in here. The production value is there. It doesn't look or feel low-budget in the slightest. There's actors, there's action, there's exotic locations. But it's just put together so clumsily that instead of getting a good laugh out of the entire experience, you walk away annoyed.

To date this has never gotten even a DVD release here in the states. VHS seems to be the only physical form of media it's available on, which is why it made my pursuit of this so difficult. I do believe it's been released on DVD in the UK. The VHS here routinely goes for over $10, and it being a film I've never seen before, I didn't want to take that gamble. It felt like years, but I was finally able to find it for $6 total, which was what I was comfortable with. Needless to say I'll be throwing it back on eBay because I'm sure I will never watch it ever again.


The Toy Corner: The Iron Giant Walmart Exclusive

The Toy Market Has Been Pretty Good To Us Collector's Lately

by robotGEEK

I'm a huge toy collector, but seem to go in and out of it here and there. I primarily stick to vintage toys, or toys that I actually had as a kid in the 80's. I'll randomly dip into some new stuff if it's based on properties, or films that I love and that may not have gotten released as a toy previously. And while there have been toys, usually collectibles, based on The Iron Giant before, they've always been way too expensive for my taste. I mean, I love the movie. It's one of my all-time favorite animated movies ever, but not enough to shell out several hundred dollars for a statue like Mondo recently did. Sheesh!

With that being said, let's thank Walmart for this exclusive that stands an impressive 14". Beautifully
detailed, with motorized walking motion, lights and sounds and impressive packaging. And the best part is that it is ONLY $19.95. Yes, just $20 for this beauty if you can find it. Being a Walmart exclusive means that as far as finding it in-store, your local Walmart is your only option. But I'm sure you can find it on the secondhand market as well for probably a higher price.

I'm not sure how long these will be available, but using Google to look up this item told me exactly how many of them were in stock locally. I'm honestly surprised at it's low price point, especially considering how big and great it looks. I'm also surprised I hadn't heard of this release. The only reason I knew about it was because a friend of mine posted a picture of it and I was stunned. That night I immediately ran to my local Walmart to find 3 of them on the shelf. So you may get lucky!

With the recent releases of They Live figures by NECA, and the Walgreen's exclusive Tron figures, 2020 is shaping up to be a highlight for collectors like myself.

Review: The Invisible Man (2020)

Writer/Director/Producer Leigh Whannell Delivers One Of The Best Interpretations Of Universal's Classic Monsters In Decades

by robotGEEK

If you ever wondered how good a film could be without relying on CGI or jump scares, or a star studded cast, instead utilizing old fashioned filmmaking like clever writing, impeccable performances and solid no-frills direction, then look no further than Leigh Whannell’s take on The Invisible Man, a masterclass of suspenseful filmmaking. Elizabeth Moss carries the entire film effortlessly on her shoulders, and while this would have been a perfect opportunity for a filmmaker and an effects team to go all out with some fancy CGI, Whannell goes the complete opposite direction and it’s bloody brilliant. Understated in every aspect, yet so goddamn tense and taut as it’s slow burn approach becomes more and more riveting after its tension-filled opening. This is how you make a great film on a low budget (by Hollywood standards) with insane talent.

Generally I don't really review new films, as this site was intended to focus more on cult classics, but I can't help but feel that this is exactly what Leigh Whannell's Invisible Man will be; a classic that will set the bar with what you can accomplish with the right team behind and in front of the camera, on a small budget no less. With that being said, I rarely, if ever, go to the cinema anymore. It's too expensive and those sitting next to me always seem to ruin the experience, which is almost what happened with an annoying lady who felt the need to comment on every goddamn thing she saw, even if it was trivial. But anyway, I knew right as soon as I heard Whannell was going to be behind this that this was a film I would just have to make an exception for, and I was right. Ultimately, between the cost of the Sunday tickets and snacks, my wife and I spent a good $50, and honestly, I'm glad I did. I feel it's my tiny contribution to the films financial success and if this helps Universal see the potential in smaller, more character driven interpretations rather than overbloated CGI-fests, then I'm happy to help. 

That's about it. Saying anymore would spoil any potential surprises. I will say I was sad to see 2 scenes shown in the trailer cut from the final edit, but maybe we'll see them back in the Directors Cut someday. Go see this film. Support it. Support the immense talent of Leigh Whannell (Upgrade, Saw, CootiesInsidious) and support the possible kickstart of a more subdued take on Universal's monster catalog.