Horror movie makers ‘extremely saddened’ by accusation of ‘monstering’ trans women

Where The Devil Roams

A group of independent filmmakers have said they are extremely saddened by claims that a new horror movie, recently screened at a film festival, has been accused of “monstering” transgender women.

It is claimed that the plot contains a twist in which the film’s villain is revealed as a “trans feminine Frankenstein”.

The makers said they didn’t intend to cause hurt anyone with their “artistic choices”.

Where the Devil Roams was screened on 14 October, during the Mayhem Film Festival at Broadway Cinema, in Nottingham.

According to IMDb, the independent film follows a family of murderous sideshow performers as they travel around the world on the dying carnival circuit in a bloody search for eternal life.

But some viewers took offence to the film, with one claiming that the final scene showed the “monstering of a trans woman”.

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Writing on Twitter/X, they said: “I’ll spoil for you by saying the film ends on a reveal that two characters have been sewn together to form a transfeminine Frankenstein. This reveal forms the finale of a literal freak show.” 

They added that they left the screening angry and criticised the cinema, where they claim to have been going for a decade.

“It’s transfemininity played for laughs, and the laughter of the audience at the reveal and the sound of the audience heckling my friend will stay with me a long time.” 

The viewer says they have since spoken to the Broadway directly to make amends. 

The film’s creators, John and Zelda Adams and Toby Poser – from Wonder Wheel Productions – who also star in the production, told PinkNews that they were “extremely saddened [that the movie] “has hurt anyone in the trans community”. 

‘We would never intend for our artistic choices to cause hurt in others’

They went on to say: “Our family works hard to examine our place in the world as humans and as filmmakers,” adding that the film was made with “love and integrity”. 

The final shot referred to by the upset viewer is supposed to show a “celebration, of a beautiful and ultimate togetherness perceived and constructed by a daughter who does not want to lose her parents, her family”, they explained.

“We do not see a villain. We see resurrection, transcendence and pure beauty.  

“The word monster never entered our minds or the dialogue.  We respect that viewers may perceive this film in unique and differing ways, but we would never intend for our artistic choices to cause hurt in others.” 

They added that their support for the trans community remains steadfast and they welcome “every opportunity and honest conversation to learn and grow”. 

Mayhem told PinkNews that it and Broadway Cinema, “are safe and inclusive spaces for all communities”. They also apologised to the upset viewer. 

“We strive to be as inclusive as possible with our programming and while we know genre cinema can push boundaries, please know that we would never seek to intentionally cause distress to any community, including the trans community.”

The backlash follows research conducted by the GLAAD advocacy group revealing that, in 2022, LGBTQ+ representation in film reached its highest point in 11 years.