I must have watched this documentary at least twenty five times (give or take a viewing here or there) and still don't know if I should feel sorry for Mark Patton. It's a toss up everytime I sit down to watch it.
One of the reasons why I couldn't wait to watch this, is that after he starred as Jesse Walsh in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge he disappeared into thin air and no one knew where he was for twenty years.
A budding star who mysteriously disappears? Now that's a movie.
I had never really been a horror fan so I don't think that I saw the second installment until sometime in the early '90's and had been told that this was the worst installment and I think one of my friends had said that it was really gay. Obviously, I forgotten about it and when I watched it, I didn't really see anything to it until people started talking about it later on, thanks to the Internet.
Even then I was still pretty clueless.
I was aware though of his disappearance while I was looking for celebrities to interview and I couldn't find any information on him, so I left it at that and went on with other interviews. Then his name came up and I was intrigued with his story and that there was a documentary.
I had to know what happened.
As the documentary begins, Patton is getting ready for a horror convention and an interview. During the interview he's open about the label of being a "Scream Queen" and then we get into his past.
There's a little bit about his childhood and home life and one of his teachers tells him that he really needs to get out of Kansas City and pursue his dreams elsewhere. He says that if he had stayed in Kansas City, he could have ended up dead due to homophobia.
With $132 in his pocket and a one way plane ticket to New York City, he arrived on February 18, 1977 and he gave himself five years to make it. He found work in commercials and on February 18, 1982, with half an hour to go, he opened in the play Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (which was also filmed into a movie with the original cast).
He then made it out to Los Angeles for pilot season and met Timothy Patrick Murphy and the two became lovers immediately (though he says that it was a rocky relationship) and they had to keep it a secret since Murphy was already a well known actor.
After getting the role of Jesse, Patton claims that he didn't catch any gay subtext in the movie, but actors Robert Englund and Robert Rusler were aware. Englund noticed homoerotica in one scene, where Rusler states he knew right from the get go.
The only thing that I ever picked up on was the very strong chemistry between Kim Myers (who plays Jesse's girlfriend Lisa) and Patton. The two are like peas in the pod, and sadly, this documentary doesn't bring up how well the two worked together. Once filming was over, they went their separate ways and even being reunited, you can still pick up on their chemistry when they reunite. It almost makes me cry because these two have that chemistry and I don't think they were ever in touch with one another following filming.
We do get a little bit of behind the scenes filming stories (which I always love) but the main event is when a meeting is arranged between Patton and screenwriter David Chaskin. Patton tells him how his career was ruined by him and there aren't the fireworks that we're led to believe is about to happen and I don't think their meeting ever gives the other closure.
Although Patton seems to accept closure while talking with the other castmates who have assembled, I still think that he's carrying a grudge and to me, Chaskin does come off as someone I wouldn't want to know.
Since Patton has come to embrace his label as a Scream Queen, he also talks about his activism and is open about his HIV positive status. He does admit that the fans have turned their negative energy into something more positive and also notes that "the Jesse" dance seems to be something that straight male fans seem to appreciate more.
As he's been rediscovered, he has returned to acting as of 2016 with a few roles under his belt, but one of the other questions I have is, while a private investigator found him in Mexico for the documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy where were his residual checks going?
I think that's the biggest mystery to his disappearance!