Posts Tagged ‘scream’

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Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street (2019)

August 16, 2020

Director: Roman Chimienti & Tyler Jensen

Starring: Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Englund, Robert Rustler, Heather Langenkamp, Jack Sholder, David Chaskin

Anticipation Level: Medium-High

How Was It?

I’m not going to lie, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge has always been my least favorite entry in the ANOES series – and one of my least favorite in any of the biggest and long-running horror franchises. It just didn’t do anything for me. I’ve seen it multiple times and only a few scenes have stuck with me all these years: Freddy emerging from the lead character’s body and Freddy getting loose in the real world and terrorizing a pool party. Cool stuff. The rest of the movie? Not so much.

This documentary is about Mark Patton, lead actor in the movie and how the backlash from it ran him out of Hollywood and into self-isolation for the next several decades. This doc examines the homosexual “subtext” in the film – something that has come to light in a positive way in the last half decade or so – and how Patton, a closeted gay man in the 80s, was blamed for how the film was perceived after its released, with the writer even denying that any subtext existed and implying that it was the actor’s fault it came across that way.

I’m pretty interested in anything related to the major horror franchises (I’m also reading Taking Shape, a book about the Halloween movies, and a Wes Craven biography right now), so I was immediately intrigued when I saw this documentary pop up. I can’t act like I was never homophobic. I graduated from high school in 2000 and no one my age dared come out of the closet back then because questioning someone’s masculinity or sexuality was the ultimate insult. I can’t change the past, but I’ve definitely grown over the last 20 years – and I think a good portion of society has as well. Mark Patton starred in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 in 1985, over a decade before my high school years, back when being homosexual was seen as a certainty to get and spread HIV and AIDS. This documentary examines all of that and shows how brutal it was to be a gay man in the mid-80s, but also highlights how things have changed and how Nightmare 2 has become a very important movie to a lot of people.

This is definitely an interesting watch. If you’re any sort of fan of the Nightmare series, I’d recommend it, but you should definitely watch Nightmare 2 again first (which I did not). However, since watching this, I have re-watched every Nightmare movie except Freddy vs Jason (that’s next) and the shitty remake (which I actually re-watched earlier this year), so this doc made me revisit the entire series again for the first time in maybe 15+ years for most of the entries.

Replay Value: Not much, but if I ever decide to revisit the series again (as I’m doing right now), I’d probably watch it again.

Sequel Potential: N/A

Oscar Potential: No Best Doc nod for this one.

6/10 (Recommended)

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Scream 4 (2011)

April 25, 2011


Starring: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Alison Brie
Director: Wes Craven (A Nightmare On Elm Street, the Scream franchise, New Nightmare)

Quick Thoughts: After a refreshing, original film that changed the landscape of slasher films in the mid-90s the Scream franchise retired in quiet fashion after 2000’s disappointing Scream 3. 11 years later, it’s a new decade and slasher films have taken on a new trend of torture horror led by Eli Roth and the Saw franchise giving the Scream creators something new to talk about. Along with fresh material to reference, the advances in technology in the past decade are utilized heavily in the new film, with the killer taking things to the next level by filming the murders.

For a series that was legitimately intense and chilling when it first started, it doesn’t take long for Scream 4 to establish its tongue-in-cheek tone with back-to-back false openings. By the time you get to the real opening, you half expect the writers to pull the rug out from under you again and this feeling never left me throughout the film, which ultimately made it a lot less scary than it could have been.

Scream has always been noteworthy for its characters’ clever banter about horror films and that trait is still in tact. From Kristen Bell and Anna Paquing talking Saw at the beginning or Sidney Prescott’s cousin Jill and her friends discussing movies, there are enough references to the genre to make any horror fanatic happy.

Ultimately, despite a new decade of movies to reference, technological advances, and ten years of time off to come up with fresh material, Scream 4 feels like more of the same. You can systematically eliminate potential killers: the more likely someone is to be a suspect, the easier it is to cross them off the list. For instance, Jill’s ex-boyfriend, Trevor, is only on screen to point fingers at. There’s never any character development for him outside of being a potential suspect. The characters of Dewey and Sidney are mostly tired. For someone that has been the target of three mass murder sprees, Sidney Prescott seems ridiculously unprepared. Survivor or not, at some point, you’d think it’d be smart to carry a gun at all times. Like all Scream films, there’s a surprise ending where the killer is revealed and this film is no different. I saw a glimmer of hope that the writers were going to grow some balls and go a different, more interesting, risk-taking route, but once again, I found myself slightly disappointed, like I was with most of the movie.

Viewings: 1
Replay Value: I think the film’s faults will be more forgivable over multiple viewings. I’m guessing once you get past the initial disappointment, Scream 4 is a pretty decent slasher flick.
Sequel Potential: Rumors of a 5th and 6th installment are already out there.
Oscar Potential: None
Nudity: Never in a Scream unfortunately.
Grade: 5.5/10 (Worth A Watch/Recommended)
Recommendation: I was expecting director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson to bring their A-games and we didn’t get that, so I wound up being mostly disappointed. Still, the acting and dialogue in this movie are quality and Scream 4 is still a fun watch even if it’s not really bringing much new to the table. Fans of the previous films, or the genre in general, should definitely check it out.