CU Denver professor provides expertise in Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street
If there’s anyone who knows anything about the queer subtext of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985, dir. Jack Sholder), it’s Dr. Andrew Scahill. The 2019 documentary Scream Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street (Dir. Roman Chimienti & Tyler Jensen) explores this subtext and how it affected the life of the film’s lead star, Mark Patton. CU Denver assistant professor Dr. Andrew Scahill was featured in this documentary as an academic expert on the subject.
Dr. Scahill teaches film studies classes at CU Denver, focusing mainly on the topics of genre and history. He teaches lectures about A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, with emphasis on the queer subtext of the film. One of these lectures was featured in the documentary after Dr. Scahill personally reached out to the filmmakers.
What Dr. Scahill finds interesting about A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 is that he doesn’t believe it’s a slasher, but rather a possession film. In regards to the queer subtext of the film, he states that in this installment, “falling asleep releases everything you’ve been repressing and it’s that queer monster that emerges.” Although he admits that the film is not very good, he still believes it is important to teach because it is “one of the better ways to talk about the queer as monster.”
Dr. Scahill is pleased with his portrayal in the overall film and appreciates that the filmmakers included his academic perspective. “I like that they’re interested in thinking about the theoretical side of this. I think it sets them apart from other movies about movies,” Dr. Scahill said.
The documentary has been shown at many festivals already, some of which Dr. Scahill was able to attend. He recalled a moment at one Q&A, the filmmakers told the audience about how Dr. Scahill’s initial reaction to a rough cut of the documentary led to them re-editing the film overnight. “I certainly didn’t mean to send them into a panic attack, but I do think the film’s much better for it,” Dr. Scahill said.
Dr. Scahill got to meet the focus of the documentary, Mark Patton, during these festival appearances. Patton was a closeted gay man at the time of Nightmare on Elm Street 2’s release and he retired from acting soon after due to various life hardships. “When you really sit down and talk with him (Patton) and you realize everything he’s been through, all the illnesses, that he’s been through, and the death of his lover, his career ending, it’s kind of incredible actually,” Dr. Scahill said.
As for what Dr. Scahill thinks of the documentary now, he thinks it turned out well. “What I really love about the documentary is that they took a small story and they made it into something larger,” Dr. Scahill said. He is impressed with how many topics the documentary covers and hopes it can get all audiences to empathize with Mark Patton’s situation.