Scream, Queen! Never Sleep Again... Part III?

Man, this one's been a long time coming.  Scream, Queen! My Nightmare On Elm Street is the story of Mark Patton, star of 1985's A Nightmare On Elm St. 2: Freddy's Revenge, who left acting after the sequel developed a reputation for its not-so-subtle homosexual themes.  This documentary was announced on Kickstarter in 2015, with the finished film predicted for December 2016.  It had already been shot, and the additional funds were to go to "the last leg of our journey," licensing footage and clearing the rights.  Never the less, 12/16 turned out to be a tad optimistic.  But I'm not interested in griping about the wait, I'm just happy that March 2020 has arrived and we can finally see this thing!

Update 3/5/20 - 3/20/22: I did a lot of kvetching in this post about how we only got a barebones DVD.  Well, two years later, and we've gotten the special edition blu-ray that we should've had two years ago.
I was a little worried in the very beginning.  Scream, Queen starts out with kind of a lame opening explaining what horror and slasher films are, sort of like in the 80s, when before a news reporter could talk about something Public Enemy did, they had to start out by explaining, "rap is a type of poetic, rhythmical talking set to music."  And you're like, yeah yeah, all of us in the audience already know way more about this than you - get to the point!  And then it jumps right into that stupid documentary trend where they play pull-quotes from the rest of the upcoming film, as if the first ten minutes were the trailer.   So you get to hear an interesting line and say, "oh boy, an hour later I'll get to see that same clip of that guy saying that line, but I'll finally have the context to know who he is and what he's talking about!"  But once you get past the intro, and some occasionally clunky narration, this film takes off and never slows down again.
If I Am Nancy is Never Sleep Again Part II, then this is unquestionably Part III.  In this case, Never Sleep Again is the jumping off point.  Patton had taken himself well out of the public eye for decades, never doing Nightmare interviews or anything else in the media, until Never's filmmakers tracked him down for their doc.  In fact, we learn in Scream that they had to hire private investigators who found him living in Mexico.  And so that film talked a lot about the hidden and overt coding in Freddy's Revenge that made it read so gay.  Therefor, this film kind of breezes through that part, which is fine for all of us long-term fans who would've certainly seen it, but might leave new comer viewers who just stumble on this doc a little short-changed in that department.
I was prepared for this film to play a lot like I Am Nancy, in that we'd ostensibly follow the main theme, but most of it would be devoted to lighthearted convention footage of our star interacting with beaming fans and admiring their Freddy tattoos.  And that would be fine; I enjoyed I Am Nancy for what it was.  But there's only a small taste of that here.  Instead this film really digs first into Patton's biography, from his youth to his time in New York and Hollywood and to his time in hiding out of the country.  This man suffered a lot at the hands of the AIDS virus, and they don't shy away from it.  Then, the final and most exciting act isn't just Patton's decision to embrace his role as a minor icon, but his quest to confront the filmmakers - especially screenwriter David Chastin - for whom he bears a serious grudge.
And though at times it seems like the film might not quite get there, yes, we do finally see that confrontation.  Just about everyone from Nightmare 2 appears here, including the director and most of the cast, but some of them, like Clu Gulager, are a little too blink-and-you'll-miss-them.  I would've liked to hear a little more about the conception and filming (we learn that the leather bar scene was filmed in LA's most famous gay bar, and yet the director still claims he never saw anything queer in any of the proceedings) and a little less celebratory theme music extolling what a hero Patton is for telling his story.  But that always happens when the subject of a doc is allowed to be a producer on it (for example, see my review of Harmontown); and if the worst thing about a movie is that it leaves us wanting more, that's a pretty good movie.
So Virgil Films initially released this film as a barebones DVD in 2020, and it kinda felt like that might've been the whole story with this flick on home video.  This is an indie doc, after all, not a Disney Marvel movie.  But now in 2022, Vinegar Syndrome partner label ETR (short for "Enjoy the Ride") Media has come along with a proper special edition blu.
2020 US Virgil Films DVD; 2022 US ETR Media BD.

Both discs are presented in 1.78:1 and are presumably sourced from the same digital master.  But you can definitely see the boost in crispness and clarity in the new blu.  I'm so glad to be rid of the soft fuzziness that plagued the SD transfer (which, to be fair, is the nature of SD, not anything Virgil did wrong mastering the DVD).  Of course, as a doc, a lot of the source material's PQ varies, but when you look at the HD footage they shot for this movie, the HD difference really stands out.  Look at Englund's eyes, for example, above.  Flip between the screenshots, and it's like he's going in and out of focus.

The blu-ray has the same 5.1 remix as the DVD, but now it's in DTS-HD, and both discs offer optional English subtitles.  ETR has one additional nice touch: they've added a second subtitle track for the audio commentary.
Not that the DVD even had a commentary.  Virgil's DVD is completely barebones.  You'd think they could've at least slapped on a couple of the crowd funding videos and the trailer as an easy minimum, but nope.  There isn't even a menu.  Apparently, the filmmakers did record an audio commentary at the time, but they made it a digital Kickstarter exclusive.

ETR's blu-ray, though, comes equipped.  First of all, we get the commentary.  It's the two directors and Mark Patton, and it starts a little dry.  But eventually Mark opens up and the dialogue really gets interesting.  The second best feature is an expansion of the Freddy's Revenge reunion panel we saw clips of in the film.  It's about twelve minutes, and I wish it could've even been longer, but it's good stuff.  After that, though, it starts to feel like filler.  There's a short poem about Freddy's Revenge, read by Patton, a brief montage of behind-the-scenes footage, and an alternate opening.  There's an interview with one of the film studies prof from the doc, which is alright, but then there's also a longer Zoom-style online "panel discussion," which is honestly a chore.  Drink whenever they say, "I definitely agree with that!" to each other and you might just get through it.  There's also a music video, an eight-page booklet, an ad for the soundtrack, and yes, the trailer.  This release comes with reversible cover artwork and the first 1,500 copies come in a limited edition slipcover.
They sold it relatively cheap, so you couldn't be too mad at Virgil.  But I'm so glad to be replacing their DVD now.  ETR has really done it right.

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