A Prosthetic Tongue Caused Behind-The-Scenes Problems For A Nightmare On Elm Street 2

Horror movie sets can be the happiest places on earth, where air-powered cannons paint fake blood murals and human torsos can bite. At other times, a setback in the VFX department can cause delays and tension on the set. That's how a prosthetic tongue threatened to derail a scene in Jack Sholder's 1985 slasher sequel, "A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge."

"Freddy's Revenge" picks up half a decade after the events of "A Nightmare on Elm Street," with new occupants in Nancy Thompson's old home. Among the incoming Walsh family are patriarch Ken (Clu Gulager, who would star in "Return of the Living Dead" the same year), wife Cheryl (Hope Lange, who catalyzed Charles Bronson into vigilante vengeance in "Death Wish"), daughter Angela (a decades-long fixture on "Days of Our Lives"), and teenage son Jesse, played by Mark Patton. 

Naturally, the sequel also brought back dream manipulator Freddy Krueger, with Robert Englund reprising the role of the kid-killer. Freddy has a habit of ruining any good moment, and he does so in "Nightmare 2" by interrupting a makeout scene and adding a little more tongue than is accepted.

Jack Sholder took the helm on the "Nightmare" sequel after Wes Craven turned the project down. Speaking with Horror News, the director looked back on "Freddy's Revenge" and recalled how a ten-inch fake tongue nearly wrecked a makeout scene because it was simply too funny to behold. The plan, Sholder explains, was to first shoot this giant tongue (an effect courtesy of Mark Shostrom) that comes out of Jesse's mouth, since that took up the most prep time. But once the tongue was attached to Mark Patton's mouth, delays had the star waiting for hours with the prosthetic attached, unable to eat or drink. 

One slip of the tongue and the scene is ruined

Within its taut 87-minute runtime, "A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge" contains a number of eyebrow-raising moments; it is the gayest Elm Street film after all. Effects maestro Mark Shostrom crafted effects to enable the usual slices and dices from Freddy's bladed glove, as well as the image of Freddy popping out of Jesse's body like a daisy, and the repulsive, highly phallic tongue that spoils Jesse's romantic efforts. As Sholder told Horror News:

So I walk into his trailer and there is a ten inch green tongue with warts on it sticking out of Mark [Patton's] mouth and I burst out laughing — it had been a very long night and I was a little punchy. Mark couldn't talk, so he wrote on a pad IT'S NOT FUNNY! Which of course it was. I left quickly. We set up the shot with a stand-in and brought Mark in at the last moment.

"When I saw him I struggled not to laugh and figured if Mark saw that he'd get pissed and walk off — not that he would have done that since he was very professional — but at least he'd have more trouble with the scene that he needed and he'd feel bad. So I stood outside the pool house, told the assistant director what to tell Mark, and watched the scene through a crack in the door. I didn't even call 'Action' and 'Cut' because I was afraid if I opened my mouth I'd burst out laughing and used hand signals instead. Once the tongue was off I went back in and finished directing the scene.

In Sholder's defense, there's no rule that says a horror movie set has to be scary.