'Personally for me the movie was a nightmare, After it was released I was living in a world where homosexuality was a career killer. As my teacher once told me, I do not need to play vulnerable, I am.'
I had always heard and read that the follow up to A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1985's Freddy's Revenge had a gay sub-plot. Sub-plots however are supposed to be secondary to the main plot, subtle even, something the gay themes in the film certainly were not. (Just check out this scene of Mark being pants by hottie Robert Rusler) I just finally watched the film last month and could write a lot about it, instead will let the visuals from the film, and it's three male leads tell the story. I will say this was one of my favorites from the series, not the gay themes, but it was one of the better character driven stories from the franchise.
For the real story, I am looking forward to star Mark Patton's upcoming documentary Scream Queen, an upcoming film that Mark has been raising funds on Kickstarter for over the past while. If you do quick search on the film, there are already a few interviews with Mark describing his time on the set, dissatisfaction with some who worked on the film, and his struggle for roles after the films release.
'A documentary film focusing on the gay experience in Hollywood horror, Scream, Queen! My Nightmare On Elm Street explores how that experience has changed in the three decades since Mark Patton’s controversial portrayal of Jesse Walsh, the object of Freddy Krueger’s latent desire in Nightmare on Elm Street 2. Scream, Queen! examines the infamous homoerotic subtext and the special place the film holds in the Nightmare franchise as well as the gay film canon.'
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)
Craven Connection: Writer (Characters)
You have to wonder what then 43 year old actor Marshall Bell knew what he was getting into playing the lecherous Coach Schneider in Freddy's Revenge. Initially you didn't know for sure if Schneider was just an hard coach, or a coach just hard for his players. It turned out of course to be the latter.
Freddy's Revenge was on of Bell's first films but he went on to work steadily in film and television in many roles including one of his most famous roles playing resistance leader George / Kuato, along side Arnold Schwarzenegger, in 1990's Total Recall. Some of Bell's other roles included turns in' Legal Eagles, Stand By Me, Manhunter, Twins, Dick Tracey, Air America, Payback and Natural Born Killers
It has reported the gay themes throughout the movie were initially intended to be just a sub plot, but it turned out, especially for Bell's character to be the main focus. You have to wonder if the writers used Coach Schneider's naked and painful ending as punishment for his advancements towards his student, or as punishment for simply being gay.
Schneider's secret night life of leather and bondage pulled in more than a few stereotypes and but they can be forgiven being it was 1985. Having several male to male attractions as main components of a major motion picture was really quite amazing for that time period. This is even more incredible in hind sight given the Aids crisis was at the beginning stages of being well known to mainstream Americans.
'Five hours faced down, while the make-up artists were glueing on the rubber. This scene had to be correct at the first take. And it was!'
Marshall shares more behind the scenes info and images from the making of this scene on his website HERE:
'To be a part of one of the biggest horror franchises in the world is a gift. I am famous, but not. I have used my A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ST 2 fame for many purposes of which I am proud…HIV awareness, The Trevor Project, issues of bullying. When I put on the glove, people give me a few minutes to speak.' Mark Patton
As mentioned above, I look forward to actor Mark Patton's documentary next year Scream Queen. Given the quote above, I hope Mark has gotten to a point where his experience on the film was not such a literal nightmare for his acting career. After a promising start to his career, Mark's work in Hollywood pretty much dried up the year after the film's release. After a small guest shot on Hotel in 1986, Mark has zero credits on his IMDB after until this year when he has a credit 'Hospital Orderly' in a horror film still in pre-production entitled William Froste.
Freddy's Revenge tops a long list of films, (movies like Showgirls near the top) which landed in theatres with a thud, then... developed a following years after their release. The delayed acclaim may be rewarding, but doesn't help the years of not being able to land a job. Sad, as you if you were able to separate the story, and the performance, Mark's turn as Jesse was truly ahead of it's time, a tortured teen struggling with accepting his sexuality.
This was difficult for all of the cast and crew of Freddy's Revenge, but especially for Mark who was the face, and seemed to become the scapegoat for the films failure. It took almost 25 years later before audiences began to appreciate the films unique qualities and embrace the films gay themes instead of ridiculing them, as they did for so many years
Below: First cap from The Nightmare Series Encyclopedia
Every horror movie hero needs two things, a good friend, and someone to lust for. In Freddy's Revenge, that character was Ron Grady. Ron was played by actor Robert Rusler, who has become one of horror's most memorable hunks. Ron and Mark Patton's Jesse weren't friends right away, nor was Jesse's lust for Ron played out directly, but both grew quietly over the course of the film.
Ron's death was fill with drama, lust and 'not so subtle' intend. It was Ron who Jesse turns to in his time of need, heading to his bed room only to watch as Freddy literally comes out of him, ending the life of the sweaty and shirtless Ron. Rusler is so damned sexy in this flick, 80's hottness, shaggy hair and all, at it's best. Rusler's appeal was obviously not lost on the producers who made the most of the characters death.
Other producers and directors also took note. After Freddy's Revenge, Rusler went on to star in Vamp, Shag and a series of movies and television shows. Rusler is still a busy working actor having recently completed two new thrillers due out next year. I hope Mark Patton is able to get Rusler's take on the flick in his upcoming documentary as I would love to more about his time on the set and his thoughts on his bloody ending.
Robert's poster from the 1989 film Shag.
Rusler getting devoured by Grace Jones in 1986's Vamp.
Rusler, along with Robert Downey Jr, Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith in his first motion picture Weird Science.
Final Embrace (1992)
I believe Final Embrace contains Rusler's only nude scene and despite my best attempts, these were the best caps I could make. I believe the film has only been released on VHS so clear copies of the 1992 film would be difficult find.