Was Freddy’s Revenge About Gay Equality?
Gay Rights and Gay Subtext In A Nightmare On Elm Street 2 (1985)
The Nightmare On Elm Street franchise is one of the most well-known horror brands of all time. Freddy Krueger is infamous for slashing his way through his victims starting in the famous house on Elm Street, leaving some of the most gruesome trails behind. But there is an anomaly present within the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. The second movie in the series, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985), seems much different than the rest of the films…much much different indeed! As fans have pointed out, the gay subtext throughout the second film in the franchise is absolutely undeniable!
Obviously this has left many fans wondering…did the creators of the second Nightmare On Elm Street movie purposely lace the script and movie with gay subtext to help combat or exploit the widespread homophobia of the era?
Often Dubbed One of the Gayest Horror Movies Ever Made
There is no question that the second Nightmare On Elm Street movie is filled with gay subtext. Here are some of the most well known gay inclusions that created the most “homoerotic” horror movie of all time!
A Closeted Protagonist
Mark Patton played Jesse Walsh, the main male protagonist in the story. Patton is openly gay today, but was still ‘in the closet’ at the time the Nightmare movie was filmed. Many of the creators of the film have suggested it could have played a part in the film harboring some ‘repressed homosexuality coming out.’
A Little Male On Male Bonding
During a gym class scene, Grady decides to “depants” Jesse. Jesse chooses to cope with his embarrassment by remaining bare-assed while he tackles and wrestles with Grady on the ground. Jesse is obviously trying to remove Grady’s clothes in this scene for whatever reason.
“Probe” Board Game
The board game “Probe” was placed in Jesse’s closet. Literally in his closet. Ultimately, sadly, it could have been making fun of Patton, who at the time was choosing to remain ‘in the closet’ regarding his homosexuality during the production of the film.
He’d Rather Sleep With Grady
At one point, Jesse is getting it on with his ‘girlfriend’ Lisa, who seems to want to sleep with Jesse. Jesse panics, runs to Grady’s house, where he wishes to sleep instead. Grady himself indicates that it is strange that Jesse does not want to sleep with Lisa, but instead with him.
Attack of the Balls
Balls, that’s right, actual balls attack Coach Schneider in his office…flying out of their containers and respective bins seemingly on their own. Tennis balls, basketballs, soccer balls, all kinds of balls. Balls, everywhere. Some fans have suggested this was a reference to testicles and count it as gay subtext.
A Gay Conspiracy
Rumors had surfaced nearly instantly about a conspiracy to riddle the plot with gay subtext that would be acknowledged by the audience, but still be deniable. David Chaskin is a Freddy’s Revenge screenwriter who denied including planned gay subtext throughout the film for a really long time (decades of denial). Chaskin finally began to admit that the gay subtext was planned only in recent years. When questioned as to why he remained silent, he revealed that it felt like his film was being “outed” and he was unsure how he felt, and so he kept quiet. Ultimately Chaskin admitted to having long thoughts about the homophobia stigma at the time and how he could work a script that would cause the cast, and ultimately the audience, to question their sexuality.
Similarly, the director of the box office hit, Jack Sholder, claimed he had no knowledge of planned gay subtext for a really long time. Still there were many rumors floating around about Sholder very well understanding the movie was fostering some gay themes. In modern days, Sholder absolutely acknowledges the gay subtext throughout the film, but still denies having realized it during production. Sholder also claims to not have known Mark Patton was gay at the time of production (Patton was indeed still in the closet).
“No Chicks” Allowed
A sign posted on the outside of Jesse’s room at the Walsh residence upstairs basically reads “NO CHICKS.” Whether this was done intentionally or not, it is hard to miss and hard not to associate with gay subtext. What senior high school boy isn’t interested in chicks being in his room…besides a gay one? Try to remember: in the 80s, there was a ton of homophobia, and it was really hard to come out, so this type of sign meant a lot more back then!
A Man Is Trying to Get Inside Of Me!
All throughout the film, Jesse is concerned with a man that is “trying to get inside” of him. While this may be innocent in scripting sense, one cannot deny how closely it mimics some of society’s most popular dirty talk.
A Sexually Confused Protagonist
Although the actual real life actor who played Jesse is gay, the character Jesse also seems to be troubled as far as his sexual orientation is concerned. Jesse seems reserved when it comes to his ‘girlfriend’ and almost unwilling to participate in their relationship. He seems more eager to hang out with his bully/friend and sports jock, Ron Grady. Jesse seems to be struggling with his sexuality throughout the entire film.
Penis Shaped Wall Art
Seriously, check it out, in the kitchen of the Walsh residence there is a strange penis shaped wall art object. This has been admitted to be a joke by the crew of the set…but still, no doubt gay subtext.
Don’s Place, The Gay Bar
Jesse Walsh is seen in one part of the movie showing up to a gay bar called “Don’s Place” in the middle of the night. He orders a drink and is approached by Coach Schneider, who is outfitted in some pretty extreme leather, definitely S&M attire. The coach seems super excited to see Jesse, smiling nonstop and the scene crosses over to the high school gymnasium, where the coach has Jesse running laps presumably as punishment for being caught drinking underage (though probably to get him in the showers – where Jesse ends up having to go when he’s done jogging).
Coach Schneider’s Shower Room Whipping
Typically, all victims die in spectacular fashion within the Nightmare films. However, there was one truly disturbing death in Freddy’s Revenge, that being the death scene of Coach Schneider. And although many of Freddy’s attacks and kill scenes in a lot of his films can be a little ‘adult’ in nature, it is arguable Coach Schneider’s death is on the more extreme end of the scale.
Freddy uses gymnasium equipment to drag Coach Schneider into the shower room and tie him up, leaving him bound and helpless. Jesse, the main protagonist is onlooking as Freddy (invisible at the time and working through the mind and body of Jesse), strips the coach naked and begins whipping him to death with a towel. Most of the whipping seems to be focused on his butt. Oh, and the showers are on.
Final Analysis of Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
Many of the creators of the film will deny the gay subtext being intentional, insisting there was nothing in the script directly to support such a claim. Still, anyone who watches A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) cannot deny the very obvious homoerotic vibe present flamboyantly in nearly every other scene. The film’s gradual progression into becoming the gayest horror movie of all time, was probably a combination of the main protagonist himself being a closeted gay in real life, as well as the cast, crew and creators dealing with the homophobia of the time. No doubt though that it all adds up making the second Nightmare On Elm Street, Freddy’s Revenge, full of obvious gay subtext.
Tritone’s love of horror and mystery began at a young age. Growing up in the 80’s he got to see some of the greatest horror movies play out in the best of venues, the drive-in theater. That’s when his obsession with the genre really began—but it wasn’t just the movies, it was the games, the books, the comics, and the lore behind it all that really ignited his obsession. Tritone is a published author and continues to write and write about horror whenever possible.