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From Final Girls To The Final Boy
Cinema Junkie / June 20, 2020
This month and into July Shudder is hosting the Etheria Film Festival, a showcase of genre shorts by women filmmakers, and a Queer Horror Collection featuring the new documentary "Scream Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street." I will highlight the best of Etheria and then speak with filmmakers Tyler Jensen and Roman Chimienti about making "Scream Queen!" and finally speak with Mark Patton (Jesse in "Nightmare on Elm Street 2") about how being in a film labeled "the gayest horror film ever made" impacted the career of a young actor in 1985 Hollywood when the AIDS pandemic was at its height. So join me as we go from the final girls of Etheria to the final boy of Elm Street. WARNING: Contains explicit language.
Speaker 1: 00:01 Today we go from final girls. What would you say if I told you we could change the ending to a final boy and he wants to take me again and his nightmare on Elm street, all courtesy of shutter.
Speaker 2: 00:23 [inaudible]
Speaker 1: 00:23 Welcome back to another episode of listener supported KPBS cinema junkie podcast. I'm Beth echo Mondo
Speaker 2: 00:43 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:43 The coronavirus pandemic has closed cinemas and forced film festivals to cancel events. And even though some movie theaters are planning to reopen, many people remain hesitant to run out and see a film. The good news in all of this is that a film festival, such as a theory, used to take place at a single theater in Hollywood, the Egyptian, and could only accommodate the hundreds of attendees that could fit into the cinema. But because of this pandemic, a theory has going online and streaming through shutters, starting June 19th and will be available through July 20th, founded in 2014. A theory of film night has been a showcase of horror, scifi fantasy action, thriller and dark comedy directed by women. And for an audience that includes producers managers, showrunners distributors, and genre fans theory says its goal is to put women directors who want to make Shaundra films and TV in front of the people who want to hire them.
Speaker 1: 01:41 A theory has been hosted by American cinema tech, which runs the Egyptian theater, but this year, the theories program, two hours of short film that anyone with a shutter subscription can enjoy. So the audience can be far larger and broader than any of the previous festivals. And that's exciting. It means that even if you live on the opposite side of the continent, you can still see these movies. Also this month, shutter is showcasing a collection of queer horror for pride. That includes the new documentary scream queen my nightmare on Elm street, as well as other shorts and features the documentary looks to nightmare on Elm street too, which has been called the gayest horror film ever made and the impact that had on it. Star Mark Patton back in 1985, coming up, I speak with the filmmakers as well as Mark Patton. But first I want to provide a quick preview of the theory of film festival. The great thing about a festival of shorts is that there's usually diversity and something for everyone. Here were the highlights for me. My favorite short is Maggie Mae, a darkly comic tale that begins at a funeral. I think she fell when I was at man. I didn't know what to do. So I just didn't do anything.
Speaker 3: 02:55 Well,
Speaker 1: 02:56 Sometimes it's better to do nothing. Yeah. The notion of not doing anything leads to some horrific and deliciously disturbed humor in this well-executed Australian film by me, [inaudible] Russell. My other topic also uses humor, but with a gentler touch and to teach a lesson Yoko OCA Morrie's basic, which carries the subtitle, a short comedy about consent in this tale bully, which prepares a magic pumpkin spice latte that forces her date, Brian, to relive the previous night's events. But for me,
Speaker 4: 03:32 Her perspective, everything okay. Yeah. I just could have sworn that, that someone just, um, touched my shoulder and was really, that's a weird, that's a, I feel very nervous. Um, but also optimistic, you know, a little bit weak in the knees, but my face feels very hot and my lips feel very warm and wet. And I like it. It feels like kissing. Where am I going? What you are experiencing are all of the conflicting feelings and sensations that I was having last night.
Speaker 1: 04:22 The comedy is perfectly timed and definitely performed by the two leads. Olivia Costano and Chris O'Brien. Plus it delivers a message with sly and effective wit another pair of solid entries plays off of themes of how invasive or intermingled technology is in our lives. And even perhaps in our deaths. Hello Ava.
Speaker 5: 04:47 Who said that? I did. I am not as computer, but close friends. Refer to me as Bay.
Speaker 2: 04:57 Yeah.
Speaker 5: 04:57 So bright. You are inside me. What? In my heart drive. Oh, you are dead. Would you like some chocolate? Hi chocolate. You don't like chocolate. I was told you liked chocolate. Okay. Yeah. I like chocolate. Would you like some it's dark chocolate with bacon and it has no calories. How is that possible? Well, you are dead without a body and this chocolate is technically virtual. So it's just ones and zeros making it taste like chocolate with bacon
Speaker 1: 05:32 Ursula. Ellis' Ava in the end explores what death and virtual purgatory might be like and delivers a slick and entertaining. Saifai short while Taryn O'Neill's live offers another futuristic tale, but this one about an online live caster live morning.
Speaker 4: 05:51 There's the champions for the stash.
Speaker 6: 05:58 If you want 15% off your next order, you use my special code. So what did you think of the fucking fight? Yeah. Sensors. What a bitch never met a bitch. I didn't want to slap delete sensors. So how do you let them bruises? Yeah, I know you do. Yes. Sickos.
Speaker 1: 06:22 Oh, Neil also stars in the film and it delivers a nice punch Kelly Breslin's man in the corner offers horror without comedy. Although there is a wicked cleverness to her story of a hot hookup. That takes a weird turn. When the date becomes a threesome of sorts,
Speaker 2: 06:41 Michael Michael, no, we're going to pretend that it just happened.
Speaker 1: 06:57 The lineup of a theory is short is definitely worth checking out on shutter, starting today and running through July 20th. I need to take one quick break and then I'll be back with my trio of interviews from scream queen my nightmare on Elm street in 1984, Freddy Kruger with his razor fingered glove became a horror icon attacking teens in their sleep
Speaker 2: 07:23 Every year.
Speaker 1: 07:27 The box office success of West. Craven's a nightmare on Elm street prompted an immediate sequel in 1985 called the nightmare on Elm street to Freddie's revenge. Craven was not creatively involved in the project, but new line cinema was determined to turn his hit film into a horror franchise. The film attracted audiences, but instead of giving them a final girl facing Freddie, there was a final boy played by Mark patent and horror fans didn't know how to react. And they turned their frustration and anger at patent's character of Jesse who was accused of screaming like a girl That had a distinctly gay subtext. And here wants to take me again. But in 1985, the AIDS pandemic had caused a panic in Hollywood and being labeled as gay could make it difficult to get roles. So patent decided to retire from movies and now lives on a farm in Mexico, but the documentary scream queen my nightmare on Elm street looks back on that film to examine a point in history that could be
Speaker 4: 08:32 Forgotten when they talk about them. The sexuality of the film, the end of the sentence always be is Mark Patton, an out gay actor in Hollywood. I was not an out gay actor in Hollywood in 1985. I was a 25 year old young man working very hard to have a career. I'm now a 50 year old man who's out and I'm a gay activist. It's a big difference.
Speaker 7: 08:55 I speak with co-directors Tyler Jensen and Roman Kamia auntie about what Freddy's revenge meant to them and about making the documentary scream queen the interview began with Tyler clapping to give me a sync Mark for when I cut the video version of the interview. One, two, three. I can't believe you did that. That makes me so happy.
Speaker 8: 09:16 My name is Roman and this is Tyler, everybody where the co-directors of scream queen my nightmare on Elm street.
Speaker 7: 09:23 Your documentary deals with nightmare on Elm street too, which kind of has this a cult following and a bit of a, an interesting history to it. So before we get into your film, give us a little background on why nightmare on Elm street to kind of created a stir and a controversy
Speaker 8: 09:41 Burnham street too, was infamous. Even in, when it came out in the eighties, that was the first horror movie that I was brave enough to sit through and I loved it. But I do remember that all of my peers, all of their older brothers, everyone who was a big horror fan was not a fan of that movie, but no one could really say why, other than just, eh, you know, it was, it was, it had gained a reputation for being gay before people even had the terminology for that. So it has had a long history of being ridiculed being shunned, but at the same time. So being part of, one of the biggest franchises in horror, so people couldn't really get away from it. It's always been there. Um, but as the internet grew and as the horror community became more of a presence, there has been a lot of revisiting of that movie. And then Mark took the stage. Right? Right.
Speaker 7: 10:46 And Mark is Mark Patton, who is the actor in nightmare on Elm street too. And this was at a time when slasher films had the final girl and it was the female character who ended up like facing off the killer and surviving to the end. And in this film you had instead the final boy. So what about this whole film and about Mark Patton prompted you guys to want to make a documentary?
Speaker 8: 11:14 Well, I, I found that Mark Patton had come back into the spotlight and was starting to, you know, tease that he had a story to tell. And when I noticed him online, I was surprised at myself that I had forgotten about this fabulous actor who was in a movie that was very impactful for me. And I was just like floored by what I was reading. It was his story about what he experienced and the AIDS scare of the eighties and what happened to him and why he was missing. And as soon as I started to hear that, I thought this is really important. This is the kind of the kind of project I really want to be involved in. So I approached him. I just, we started speaking about it and it grew like wildfire. It was amazing. And Tyler came on board
Speaker 9: 12:04 At that point, we met on a, we're both independent freelance filmmakers and we met on a job and he, I overheard him talking to the producer on this other project about starting this project about night Reynold street, too, with Mark Patton. And without having spoken to him that day, my ears perked up. And I said, I don't know what you're about to start, but I'm going to be a part of it. And you can't get rid of me, so let's work together,
Speaker 8: 12:31 But we've always been more outspoken people and especially in about our community. And so I feel like being that we were both horror fans and that we were more outspoken. This seemed like the perfect thing to team up on. So at that point, the three of us just knew we hadn't, we had an agenda, we had something to say. There was a lot that our community needed to hear that wasn't being spoken about. And I just felt like this brought so many different, this would bring so many different people together.
Speaker 7: 13:03 Now from a perspective today, people looking at the film may not understand what it meant for Mark Patton to be in a film and deal with this sense of that. There's the gay subtext to this film, because this is, was at a time of the AIDS epidemic and being a gay actor in Hollywood was very different from what that means today. So what about that whole, what about Mark's story? Was it that interested you in that you kind of wanted to reveal to everyone?
Speaker 9: 13:35 The beautiful thing of our project is that Mark Roman and I all come from different generations as queer men. And it didn't resonate with me just how impossible this experience was when I started this project. And it wasn't, it wasn't until going through the process of researching and seeing how difficult it would have been to have this happen to you in your career, just starting off in the 1980s, right? It was, it didn't make sense to me. Why, you know, the typical Hollywood story that you hear of this Midwestern boy moving to New York and starting on Broadway and then becoming a feature film star, which is disappear after one stone, it didn't make sense. Why would you go into hiding? None of that made sense when we started this project. So talking to Mark, listening to his story, kind of brought all of that to the forefront
Speaker 8: 14:43 For me. I grew up in the eighties. I saw these movies when they came out and I know the landscape of that time and what it was like to a gay person. Um, and so for me, I did understand that not from Mark's perspective, I didn't lose a bunch of friends, but I had a bunch of friends grow up under the umbrella of that fear. So each of us had a different perspective on this, um, the entire story, but this became something that I had to do as my job, as a mentor now. So I think that was one thing we lost so many people during that time that a lot of mentorship was not happening for the younger generation. So it's kind of our job to pick up the mantle and run with it. So I feel like that's what we were trying to do with scream queen is re-introduce a point in history that was, could potentially get lost if we don't continue that
Speaker 7: 15:42 I did not know that much about Mark himself. And I did not really understand that full context of like why he kind of dropped out and right.
Speaker 9: 15:54 I feel like that's definitely the generational divide, especially for me, was not understanding that those two things were related. And we now love to celebrate this film as being the gayest horror film ever made. And people are really like hold onto it very dearly, but that's, that was not possible 30 years ago to have an out gay horror film and it'd be celebrated. And the beauty of nightmare on Elm street too for gay people is that it was their first gay movie that they could enjoy without everyone else, knowing that they are enjoying a gay film. And I remember being a closeted teen and just like seeking out these films that I could enjoy, that didn't have to explain to everybody else. If you were a 13 year old renting, call me by your name or Brooke back. Not everyone will know, but if you're a 13 year old renting Nick Reynolds street too, they just think you're watching a horror film. And that's, um, I think the beauty of why this movie is so important to people and why its legacy continues.
Speaker 7: 17:05 Yeah. We, like I said, we have a LGBT festival here, film out and they do these monthly screenings and they showed nightmare on Elm street too. And I got to see it with a mostly male gay crowd, which was, Oh my God. So that was a lot of fun experience
Speaker 9: 17:28 Of sitting in a theater of watching horror films with your friends when you're younger was so intoxicated to me in my formative years as being a young filmmaker that like, that's why I gravitated towards horror films. If they were good, you heard it from your audience, they were screaming and they were laughing. They were screaming again consistently. That's how you know, you're doing a good job. And yeah, that's why I love the horse.
Speaker 7: 17:56 Part of the story revolving around that nightmare on Elm street sequel was that both the director and the writer seem to deny the fact that there was any kind of gay subtext in the film. And that was part of, kind of, that was part of the problem that Mark had with the film and the aftermath.
Speaker 9: 18:14 Right. Um, there definitely was this kind of race to reclaim who gets to take ownership of the new queer cult classic metronome street too, for the longest time. Those in the creative helm didn't want to own up to the fact. And then once, you know, the tide started turning, being gay was more acceptable. They started to want to claim it as the round again. And I think Mark went on this journey to be like, um, you don't get to change your mind 30 years later and, and reap the rewards of what he had to suffer through.
Speaker 7: 18:55 And because this does focus on Mark there, you actually had to kind of like go and, and create some encounters or to set up some meetings where he got to confront some of the people that he worked with and find out if they understood what it was that he was going through at the time. So what was that process like? And, and how much did you know before you started the film that you were going to be able to get to these people? Or were you finding this out kind of as you went along,
Speaker 9: 19:26 We were definitely finding it as it was happening. There was no guarantee that anyone would talk to us or even want to be a part of this project. We kind of ambush our way into conventions, where we knew they would be. And we got lucky that everyone was willing to talk to us and gave us all their time and their energy because I feel interested, they were interested. Absolutely. Yeah. And even the confrontations that happened later in the film were not of our designing. They came organically from the people involved and we were there with the camera and we were lucky to capture it. All.
Speaker 8: 20:07 Some of it was like later on the, the main confrontation and the movie was definitely orchestrated, but it came later. It definitely was an evolution to that point. And everyone was it, wasn't hard to convince everybody to do it, which was surprising. I think it, after 30 years, people wanted to have their say and they want to delay things to rest, which is nice because a little bit of effort can go a long way, which is sort of the, one of the morals of the story. Um, Mark was very, it was cathartic for him to be able to go on this journey, but it's also very raw. So for him, he was working these things out as they were happening. It wasn't in hindsight, like a lot of documentaries are. So I commend him for being really brave and for trusting us with that, because that was a big one.
Speaker 8: 20:59 We could easily exploit the situation. That's filmmakers. I mean, you spend a lot of time with Mark. So how difficult was it to win that trust from him? It wasn't so much difficult as it was just spending the time and being honest, it was our personal time together that really like solidified the trust. And we spent a lot of time together. Um, and he is a very open person. He was open, he was already putting the wheels in motion for this film before I met, he is a fighter. He wanted to get this out. Um, and I think when I, when we all met each other, we met each other on a level that was like, okay, we can see eye to eye on this. So I think that the trust was we didn't move forward until it was already there. And I do have to, I do, I do think that for a lot of us, since it was, we never knew what was gonna happen. You kinda just have to believe in this project and in each other, as it's happening,
Speaker 9: 22:01 Mark definitely has a super power of being very open and very honest with people. And he had the right feeling about us from the start, which allowed this project to come together in a way that it did.
Speaker 8: 22:14 He was already on the cover of HIV magazine before we met him. And he said that it was actually quite surprising that he was only one of like a very small handful of celebrities who were out with HIV. And that if you think about it, it's surprising with the amount of people that are living with it today, that there would only be 50, 50 people, 50 celebrities That had claimed that that's, that's it guess it shows that there's still a lot of stigma and it takes a lot of courage. And how do you feel about having your film now on shutter and being part of this pride celebration?
Speaker 9: 22:58 It's amazing. It's wonderful. And from the beginning, we set out to make a film that would cross the divides that would connect horror fans with the queer community that would connect queers with the horror community and show. And we had a very unique position because our film heads, Freddy Krueger center, that a lot of non-gay people would watch a gay story.
Speaker 8: 23:26 Yeah, that was, that was, I was very excited about that because it's very difficult to be able to cry reach across the aisle like that with a topic like this. Um, but that's the beauty of horror is that it's always, it's been fueled by these sorts of scenarios in our society. It's unfortunately just been, not spoken about as much, but the plights of the oppressed are usually what make for
Speaker 9: 23:55 A good
Speaker 8: 23:56 Horror story, you know, and we're starting to see that more with the black community today. We've got great, great films that have been coming out lately that really are shining the light on that. And I feel like this is also a time for us to be a part of that. And then it also joins hands with different communities as, as we are fighting for inclusion. So the fact that shutter wants to be all inclusive is going to make a huge difference, not just for us as gay filmmakers,
Speaker 9: 24:27 But
Speaker 8: 24:28 Our allies that are willing to like learn what's happened and, and realize that there's a lot more that we can relate to each other on. So I'm really excited for it.
Speaker 7: 24:39 And with a documentary film, you're not going in with a script that you're filming. So how much of this narrative got formed in the editing room? And what kind of a challenge was that, that
Speaker 9: 24:52 We, it took five years since our first day of shooting to get to a completed state. And it was, we were constantly on the road with Mark going from convention to convention and documenting the story as it unfolded, because it wasn't just about, you know, nightmare on Elm street too. It was about the 30 years after and what it takes to reclaim your narratives. And that was, that's a hard thing to just script out and shoot, you have to be there as it happens with those conversations, meeting those people. And it wasn't, you know, we had a lot of failed starts trying to put all this together and it wasn't quite working cause we had not explained it so that our grandmothers could follow it. We had to really take out our fandom of nightmare on Elm street and kind of explain to anyone who's never seen a horror film, why this story is important
Speaker 7: 25:55 Here in San Diego, we have a LGBT festival film out, which showcases a lot of queer horror. And it seems like there's been a real uptick in the number of filmmakers that are making queer horror films and that they're going in a lot of very interesting directions. And I'm just not sure how much are you of that? How are you guys following as well? In addition to just this one film,
Speaker 9: 26:21 I love it. I want more of it. The downside of making this film for the last five years is that I've had to put all of my energy into this. And now that it's done, I get to kind of pick up what I've been missing the last five years. And I'm seeing some incredible stuff. I just saw killer unicorn the other night, a slasher film set in Brooklyn drag community,
Speaker 8: 26:44 Which is hilarious. And I love it. We have, we're working on one, that's coming out, right. Death drop gorgeous. And it's going to be a drag queen slasher film, which is absolutely phenomenal. Kiss midnight. Cancer's midnight kiss on Hulu is really good, too, like really well made and unapologetic with their characters. I just think that it's, we're kind of in the wild West right now of gay horror, um, because we are finding there's more people that do not feel the need to cuddle their audience with who their characters are. So that's now creating a new conversation. So I'm not, I'm excited for it. I'm not, I don't think we're far enough into it that I can really have anything else to say other than give it to me. Right. We're super excited to be part of shutters, pride celebration as well with other queer horror filmmakers. Um, I know that they also have knife plus heart, which came out of France last year, which is gorgeous and beautiful. Um, also my personal favorite. Hello, Mary Lou prom night. Two is on there, which I like to think is the lesbian sister to Freddy's for French. And you should all watch both of them back to back those goggles for sure.
Speaker 8: 28:09 All right. Drag queen slash or you had me right there. Yeah. It's it's ridiculous.
Speaker 1: 28:17 Well, I want to thank you both very much for talking about your film and, uh,
Speaker 8: 28:23 Congratulations. Thank you. Thank you so much for having a sighted.
Speaker 1: 28:26 That was Tyler Jensen and Roman Kimi, auntie co-directors of scream queen my nightmare on Elm street.
Speaker 4: 28:32 It was really gay though. Real lot of gay in that movie. There's a lot of subtext. It wasn't subtext. It was right there. A lot of gratuitous boards, which is always appreciated. And the gay bar scene that winds up in the showers towel, stopping and Mark Patton's, uh, I mean he's a scream queen, Mark Patton. He screams he's super nice guy and chokes you when you meet him, it's more like this, like gentle, it's a gentle Cho. I don't need to meet them to them. You don't, you don't need that.
Speaker 1: 29:17 After repeated attempts at a zoom meeting with Mark Patton in Mexico, I finally hooked up with him via Facebook messenger. I began the interview by asking him about getting the role of Jessie in nightmare on Elm street to Freddie's revenge.
Speaker 8: 29:31 Well, I, you know, I had moved, I was in New York after and I moved to California and you know, we, the thing you were supposed to do is see if I can television series
Speaker 10: 29:42 Or a lead in a movie, which is what I did with time or an Elm street. And I was very happy to get it. I liked the movie, I enjoyed doing it, but because of some circumstances in regards to the writing and the way that the movie was presented, it had a very strong homophobic backlash to it. So I just caught, got caught in that, that storm at that time. And you know, I was a young person, so, um, and insecure and it wasn't really great to be a gay actor in the 1980s, especially not 1985, which was really the epicenter of the AIDS, uh, uh, drama. And so basically I let it run me out a show for instance. And, um, and, and that was it. And then I was, I live on a farm in Mexico, in central Mexico from Missouri of Mexico sold it.
Speaker 10: 30:34 And, uh, I was here for quite some time, 15 years and I was, uh, invited to come back and do a documentary called never sleep again, which reintroduced me into show business after about I guess, 30 years. Yeah. So, and now we're here talking about this and scream queen, so it's kind of full circle. So how did you feel when Tyler and Roman approached you about doing this documentary? Yeah, well actually they didn't approach me about doing the documentary. I've already started a document called there is no Jesse. Yeah. And Roman originally came on as a music consultant and the people that I was cause I, I, uh, I began the, uh, the documentary myself and because I've been on the road for so long, I'm signing these autographs. And I felt I had made a little plan for myself, like a three year plan.
Speaker 10: 31:33 I thought, well, if I'm going to do this, um, I thought, well, I'll do a three prong thing. I'll do this for three years. And, um, and first year I'll talk about bullying and, you know, the bullying aspect of, of what happened to me. And the second year I will talk about, uh, hum phobia and I'll let these people really get to know me. And then in the third year also I have AIDS. And, um, and I thought, well, this is great because this is really a place where light doesn't get shine very much in these horror conventions. And as it became, you know, as the ball started rolling, um, they became, you know, really intense events where, you know, I, people would ask me if I scream, you know, cause I S supposedly screamed like a girl and I would say, well, yeah, I'll scream, but you have to give me a thousand dollars and, um, a dollar at a time.
Speaker 10: 32:29 So, and I would give the money to the pride Trevor project. Then I would make the people come and give me the dollar. So they would shake my hand and I could say things to them. Well, now, if you ever hear, you know, about a person with AIDS or whatnot, now, you know, somebody who has it that's me. Um, and it was, you know, wonderful. So we've got the idea to, to film it and, um, and to, you know, to film a documentary, but it wasn't, I mean, I kinda knew what I wanted to do, but I was working with some people and it just, all of them wanted to do the same, you know, I am Nancy or, you know, never sleep again. Again, I wasn't, it wasn't at all interested in that. And then Roman came on, as I said, as a music consultant and really, and was the one that tied it all together. You know, Tyler came as a second, um, uh, cameraman really basically. And that's when the three of us formed a partnership and that's how the movie got made because the three of us produced it and funded it completely, except for the Crowdfunder. I sometimes call this the father, son and the Holy ghost. I mean, it was just like, literally what one didn't have the other did. And when one person would get down, the other one would pull them through and it's just, I love them both Obama. And so that's how the movie got made.
Speaker 7: 33:52 And how far along in this kind of three year plan that you had, did they come on board as
Speaker 10: 33:58 The filmmakers on this project? After three and a half years? Yeah, just when I can, just, when I completed what I thought, because I had a very functioning life, you know, I mean, I owned our gallery in Mexico and I'm married and have a bunch of dogs and I had left show business quite willingly a long time ago. And I did, I sort of did, um, never sleep again for my sister-in-law because the guys that were producing that it took them two years to find me. So, um, and my sister, they worked so hard. You should at least do right. Cause I wouldn't do anything. I mean, I was offered films for years. I turned everything down and so I kind of did it for Cheryl. And then they said, Oh, well, you have that had two days notice to get there. They flew me to Los Angeles, myself and Hector.
Speaker 10: 34:52 And I signed a contract later that day to go on, uh, the Comicon thing. And I really didn't know what that was, uh, to be quite honest with you. And like three weeks later I was in Amsterdam signing autographs. And that's when the plan started formulating. And I just couldn't like I wrote a book, I wrote a book called there is no Jesse Jesse's lost journals because people have asked me the same questions over and over again. And I got bored of answering them. So, and, and you know, when you're meeting people like that, you don't want to disillusion them. Like, can I say in the movie, it's like, they're only going to meet once and it's a big deal to them. I mean, I, I quickly found out how big a deal this is to horror. So I wrote this book and it was so much fun.
Speaker 10: 35:40 I wrote it as status reports, you know, cause like in the morning I buy like, Oh, Jessie did this and it turned into a diary and I've sold 5,000 copies of it. Um, you know, and it's just, uh, and it's a great template for a television series. Cause it's what happens to Jesse during the movie. And then what happens after the movie ends and our lives parallel, each other, Mark and Jesse have become friends of a certain size in the book. And it was really, you know, that was really fun. So, uh, and everybody just sort of the situation with the film was very holistic. Right. Uh, and I said this to the boys all the time. It's like we would like be, we were moving forward in faith quite a bit. You know what I mean? Because you know, film business, and I don't think a lot of people, I, you know, I knew the film business very well.
Speaker 10: 36:35 I didn't make no making a documentary film and had I known what we were getting into. I would have never, never done it because I didn't, I, you know, I didn't know it was like climbing Mount Everest in the snow. I thought it was the easy thing to do, you know, because, and, um, you know, cause I'd never been involved with a real documentary before, so that was, you know, it took us five years to do it. So it was a commitment and um, I'm super proud of it, you know, I'm just really super, super proud of it.
Speaker 7: 37:12 And were you surprised that you were able to get the people that you wanted to talk to, to come on camera with you? And cause it feels like this is something you've wanted to talk through with them for quite some time. So how was that process for you?
Speaker 10: 37:28 Well, the cast I'm, you know, that the cast, as far as the cast goes, I'm, you know, by this time I'm very good friends with most of these people. Um, and I'm sure Roman and Tyler told you that, um, you know, when they came to Fort Lauderdale, we arranged, um, a convention. I arranged the convention for them all to come to so that we could film them. And we're all used to doing the nightmare on Elm street stick, you know what I mean? So we have our thing where we do it and um, and it's just by road and it's a job and it's fun and theatrical and everybody knows the part they're playing except for when they started shooting the documentary. I think probably they believed, um, you know, it's like, Oh, what's like to, by Jesse and all that kind of stuff. And it was, you know, they, Tyler and Roman just went totally off chart.
Speaker 10: 38:19 And it's like, what do you think about AIDS? You know, that was for this question. And, uh, did, you know, Mark has AIDS and this is love, you know, it's like, and some knew my story and some didn't, you know, and they were all like right in there. I mean, it was like, I worked with a phenomenal bunch of people and even, you know, Jack who comes off as, you know, the total tip and I'm ex he's my language, but he does. And he was, I mean, he was, but he's been traveling with me now for the last year and he's had quite an epiphany. He actually got, um, he got sent off to Amsterdam. I think it was Amsterdam or sweet or someplace to do. Or we were supposed to do a, uh, a film festival together. It was a trans dumped Festus. And I was like, you know, Jeff, don't go by yourself.
Speaker 10: 39:11 You know? And there's no, I think I'll, I think I'll be just fine, you know, so, and you know what he did and he was, and he, um, you know, I said to him, like if you get into trouble, just say, I don't understand the language. You'll have to help me, you know, like navigate the pronouns and all whatnot. And, but I mean, it's really been a growing experience. And he said to me, which of course we can't put this in the movie cause it's over with, but about a year ago we were out on the road. It was just really contentious. And I just wouldn't travel with him. I just, you know, he just put, he was a little Asper Grish emotionally. And I was like, I can't deal with this. I mean, I've been through this so many times and I just want to right now and, but I do love Jack.
Speaker 10: 39:57 And then he, his wife took him to a yoga retreat and Gualapa, or in Wahaca or someplace. And I don't know what happened. He got snapped on the head, I guess. Um, but you know, like last year he came to me and in tears, you know, Jack is 70 years old, 72 years old in tears and apologized to me and said, you know, I never knew I never saw you because we, he identified it through the boy on the bus and the movie he does, the boy on the bus was always me, you know? And I was like, and he was like, I didn't realize it was here. And I was like, thank you. Because I, you know, for the first time he saw, I was the face of this whole thing and that it wasn't a joke. And as he met people, you know, would, he would meet the boys on the road, would cry and, and, you know, begin to tell him their story.
Speaker 10: 40:51 And it's like, thanks. It's like, thank you, thank you for being advocates for gay people. And at first he go, I'm not, you know, it's not a gay movie, you know? And then finally I said to him, I said, you know, whether you like it or not, this is going to be identified as a gay film for history. This is what it is. And you can either get with it or get away from it. But if you're going to get, get away from it, stop doing interviews because you'll ruin your own reputation. And he was like, no, no, I can, I can grow. And he did and got less than he has really. And I wish we could put a little addendum at the back, you know, and maybe what we'll do when we have the extras. Jack's okay, David, on the other 10, I've never spoken to again and, um, you know, really have no desire to at all.
Speaker 10: 41:40 I have no animosity towards him, really. Honestly, I didn't then, I mean, that was a very tense situation in the film, but, uh, I, a lot of me, it had resolved a lot of that long, long time ago, but in the concept of, you know, making a film for five years and telling the story over a lot of it did know, begin to come forward. And when I was filming, I have to tell you, it was like, um, he seems so small to me, you know, like a little man. And, um, I realized that I I've given, given this little man so much power that I'd almost lived the store in my life. And, you know, I stood up to much more formidable people than him, you know? And, uh, and the minute I did, I got that transitioned into, and it's the real epiphany for me. That's when I got mad and who I got mad at was me. And, uh, I realized, you know, in that moment, what I had given away
Speaker 11: 42:48 [inaudible],
Speaker 10: 42:48 And it was, and anyway, it came down and be like a, a thousand pounds. Cause I thought I was okay with that. And then I realized that wasn't. So
Speaker 7: 43:00 Now in that time that you had stepped away from Hollywood and weren't making films, were you aware of how some people were embracing this film and how it was kind of, um, helping them? Or did you discover that more when you started to go to conventions and actually talk to fans?
Speaker 10: 43:25 Um, more that with the advent of the internet was really what it's social media, that's what blew this whole thing apart. Right? Cause social media is private. So people would come to me and say, you know, nobody likes this movie, but I like it. That's the thing I hear more than anybody. I know everybody thinks this is the worst thing would be that it's my favorite. I hear that a hundred times a day. But what was happening to me is I went to my inner light. You know, the, the way I supported myself was this an interior designer. And I worked, took the very, very, very highest end of interior design residential in that was based out of Palm, Palm beach, Florida. And you know, you see all about Palm beach right now with the trumps and whatnot, but I lived in that world and um, you know, and I dealt with a lot of very powerful, wealthy people.
Speaker 10: 44:15 And I was a, you know, project would take me like two or three years. Right. And dealing with millions of dollars. But at some point early on, the man would come to me generally. And he'd say, he'd have his hand behind his back. And he goes, Oh, is it, I heard that you were like, he used to be a movie star. Is that true? And he said, is this you? And then they pull out the DVD and I'd say yes. And he would ask me to sign it for his grandchildren, which I would do. And then the power dynamic completely shifted. I was no longer the employee. I was the boss because nobody could figure out how, why anybody would give up being a movie star. And so it was a very powerful thing. I mean the most men who ran fortune 500 companies would hand me the keys to their, their life because I've been in this movie.
Speaker 10: 45:06 So I knew it was really powerful. And I knew where I really got the power of it mostly was when I decided to, uh, you know, announce the HIV part of my life, my story. And then, you know, ended up on the cover of the advocate and in the CNN international news. And I looked and saw that, you know, that all the people that were identified as HIV positive are the same 20 people that had always been HIV positive. You know, it's like magic Johnson and I couldn't figure out why. And then I realized when I put that glove on and I speak because you know that the glove is in the Smithsonian, right. My glove is in the Smithsonian in Washington. I mean, this is genuine pop culture royalty, really, if you want to get down to it. Um, and, um, I thought I, if I, if I focused the light correctly and I stepped into it in the right way, uh, with that glove on people will listen to what I'm saying.
Speaker 10: 46:08 And since I had myself as the number one, Google search for my name, I thought, you know, you're in a really powerful position here. You can like do something with this, do it. And I really do feel like, you know, on it between you and I, and you've seen the film, it was a, it was a spiritual experience for me, the whole thing. And I do believe ultimately in the end, in reality that I made nightmare on Elm street, just so I could make screenplay. I feel like my destiny was to make string that nightmare on Elm street was just something that got put in my way, so they could facilitate this conversation. And so I'm really happy with that. I accept that. And how do you feel about the film being part of this shutter showcase for pride month? Oh, I'm thrilled. You know, I mean, I know this is a new thing for shutter, you know, so cause we've been talking to them for awhile and um, you know, I don't think when we started, when this first started getting shopped as a film, um, you know, I know I'm sure you've read some of the reviews, but it's like, we've only received one bad review.
Speaker 10: 47:18 Um, but when the people at shutter saw it, they knew what to do with it. And I, and they're behind this like a hundred percent and we're behind them a hundred percent. Do you want me, cause this is a great platform, you know, besides the fact that no monetarily we'd like to get our money back and all those kinds of things. Um, and we'd like to be successful. The whole mission was to get this in front of as many eyeballs as we possibly could in homes, you know, behind the bowl of popcorn and shutters, a great place to do that. You know, I mean, my phone is ringing off the hook today. It has been building up for a week, but by the end of the day, I'll have thousands of emails and um, you know, and some of them are quite personal and you feel like you have to answer them because, um, uh, I have somebody called me from Nigeria to two, three o'clock in the morning and I was like, I just couldn't answer the phone. I was like, no, I mean, but it's played in Nigeria. So there you go. You know,
Speaker 7: 48:18 Well, I want to thank you very much for taking some time from answering all those emails and those 3:00 AM phone calls too.
Speaker 10: 48:27 Oh, it's great. I could, I could have grace. I think I'm going to have to,
Speaker 7: 48:33 Do you have any plans after this to do any more films or, or kind of activism through film or are you going to just
Speaker 10: 48:42 Kind of
Speaker 7: 48:43 Continue your life in Mexico as you had been?
Speaker 10: 48:47 Well, I've learned that one of the biggest lessons I've learned from this experience is when the door opens walk through it. So I just, I've just shot a movie. I've taught three or four movies on the, on the download over the last couple of years. And they were just really to see if I could, you know, and inhabit this form on screen. You know, I'm not like a young boy anymore. I'm something totally different and it's a different car to drive. I didn't even really know if I could drive it, you know, that kind of acting thing. But I just did a movie called in Portland called one dead dog, which I'm really proud of. And I play a full on and grown up adult with children kind of situation. And I was really thrilled with it because it was so much fun. And so people are offering and I'm, you know, pretty at this point I'm pretty, you know, trying to be like, okay, well, I'll do that.
Speaker 10: 49:38 My ultimate goal is like I had a dream. I had a dream and, um, I dreamed, you know, I'll be honest with you. I dreamed I won the Academy award and actually had this dream a long time ago when I was in come back to the five and dime Jimmy Dean. I have a dream that all of us, everybody involved in that show won an Academy award and shared that was share. And Kathy Bates and Kathy Bates was unknown at the time and share with the laughing stock of the world. And, you know, everybody's wonder Academy award except for me. And I thought, Oh my God, wouldn't it be wild if I won an Academy award for a documentary, but I don't, I don't really see that in the future, but, um, maybe I'll maybe that dream is come as close to true as possible.
Speaker 10: 50:24 And know we like, we won a bunch of awards this year and we're actually eligible for an Academy award this season. So you never know, but, um, you know, I'll just keep saying, yeah. You know, cause I love, I, I love life. I love my life here. I love my dogs and I love my husband and I love, you know, I'm the only Guerra, I'm the only white person for 50 miles where I live. And, um, they had to finally, they showed my movie on a sheet in the park. Um, you know, and now they all want to see screen pointing. So, you know, and it's been translated into Spanish and we're actually gonna show it at the hospital, you know? Um, but that was a little too much for too many people. Uh, but for the HIV patients here and um, where I live, it's a great film, so they're going to do that.
Speaker 10: 51:16 And so I'm happy to have this like, but I'm also thrilled to step into New York city and, you know, spend $3,000 in a sweater too. Cause I got that side to my personality. But uh, with, uh, with the virus, it really, you know, I was getting ready to tour Europe, uh, right when this, I mean, when they, I was supposed to be in Berlin, Paris, blah, blah, blah, all the scream queen and it all shut down in two days a year's worth of work. So, and it's all been re booked, but I, you know, it's, this has given us all a lot of time to contemplate, you know, what's going on in the world. And also now, you know, for me, um, you know, the thing that's going on with black lives matter right now is, uh, you know, this is, this is it. This is the moment, you know, we're alive in a very special time because something's going to actually happen now.
Speaker 10: 52:10 And, um, you know, I, I want to participate in that. Like there's a girl named Tamika, Mallory, who I'm just in love with and she's like the Malcolm X of the, uh, black lives matter. She's like just a fabulous oratory. She's like Martin Luther King. And uh, you know, that's what I aspire to be. I aspire to be somebody that's filled with spirit that you can stand up and talk to people and you know, they're telling the truth and I have that ability and I'd like to use it just as much as I possibly can for anybody, but very specifically for gay and lesbian people. And especially, you know, kids that are going through that transition from say 13 to 20 where they just, they can't pull the geographic and get away from the things that are destroying them. I have a real burden on my heart for those people.
Speaker 10: 53:03 And so I will stay on the phone and I'll answer the phone at three o'clock in the morning. Um, if somebody sends me something that, you know, that brings my bow, you know, there are certain triggers for me that, that does those emails get answered. Those phone calls get answered, uh, because for Dave Brown who was a person I really love, uh, she always says, this thing is you got to dance with the one that brung ya. You know, that's the rule. And what brought me to this new fame is bullying shame and, you know, young people's lives being destroyed. So if I can step into the breach and help and I'm going to do it, cause that's what I'm supposed to do. So, and it's fun. It's of the 99% of the time. Now people tell me they love me. They don't call me bad names or anything anymore. That's that's all in the past. Well, I'm glad to hear that. And uh, thank you for taking the time to talk to me. Oh, it a pleasure. Thanks. I'm glad we hooked it up.
Speaker 2: 54:15 [inaudible]
Speaker 1: 54:15 That was Mark patent starved nightmare on Elm street too. And the subject as well as producer of the documentary scream queen my nightmare on Elm street, the documentary will run on shutter through at least the end of June and possibly into July. Also check out the rest of the queer horror collection on shutter during pride month. Thanks for listening to another episode of listener supported KPBS cinema junkie podcast. If you enjoy what you hear, please recommend it to a friend coming up soon zombies and black films that matter. And there might even be a point at which those two categories overlap till our next film fix on Becca Mondo, your residence, cinema junkie.
Satisfy your celluloid addiction with the Cinema Junkie podcast, where you can mainline film 24/7. This film and entertainment series is run by KPBS Film Critic Beth Accomando. So if you need a film fix, want to hear what filmmakers have to say about their work, or just want to know what's worth seeing this weekend, then you've come to the right place.