Ostensibly about the public progression of 1985’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” from a dead-on-arrival dud to a post-mortem reinterpretation as an impressively bold confrontation of the psychological effects of homophobia, it’s primarily interested in the career of “Nightmare 2” lead star Mark Patton, who left a promising career following the movie’s public rejection and Hollywood’s vicious homophobia to start over in Mexico. Patton himself is a charming, articulate screen presence who brings layered retroactive insight to the acting career he once pursued that ends up doubling as a history lesson about Hollywood’s aggressive homophobia during the 1980s as a result of the AIDS crisis, and it’s clear that the experience has left deep scars on him. Patton’s personal journey is central to the fabric of the movie, which leads to several uncomfortable moments including a late scene where Patton confronts “Nightmare 2” screenwriter David Chaskin (rather unfairly, in my opinion), and it adds an electrifying edge that’s unexpectedly poignant and often heartbreaking. Overall, if you’re looking for a fan-service puff-piece you’ll likely be unsatisfied, because this is more about the corrosive effect of homophobia and is all the more urgent because of it.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)