In a recent development at the Mayhem Film Festival in Nottingham, a new independent horror movie titled “Where the Devil Roams” has stirred controversy by facing allegations of “monstering” transgender women. Viewers were left divided as the film took an unexpected twist, revealing its villain as a “trans feminine Frankenstein.” While the filmmakers, John and Zelda Adams and Toby Poser of Wonder Wheel Productions, expressed deep sadness over the accusations, some viewers found the film’s portrayal offensive.
The film, according to IMDb, explores the journey of a family of murderous sideshow performers as they embark on a gruesome quest for eternal life in a dying carnival circuit. However, the final scene in the movie, where two characters are revealed to have been sewn together to create a “transfeminine Frankenstein,” sparked outrage among some viewers. They took to social media to express their disappointment, with one viewer noting, “It’s transfemininity played for laughs, and the laughter of the audience at the reveal…will stay with me a long time.”
In response to the controversy, the creators of the film issued a statement, emphasizing that their artistic choices were never intended to cause harm within the trans community. They explained that the final shot was meant to convey a “celebration of ultimate togetherness,” emphasizing love and family bonds rather than villainizing anyone. The creators reiterated their support for the trans community and their willingness to engage in open conversations to learn and grow.
Mayhem Film Festival, in collaboration with Broadway Cinema, apologized to the upset viewer and affirmed their commitment to being safe and inclusive spaces for all communities. This incident comes in the wake of a GLAAD report indicating that LGBTQ+ representation in film reached its highest point in 11 years in 2022. Despite progress, controversies like these highlight the ongoing need for sensitivity and awareness in the portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters in cinema.