A new trailer has recently been released for the movie “Welcome to Marwen” starring Steve Carrel. This movie is based on a true story of Mark Hogancamp who was beaten severely by several men in 2000 to the point of memory loss. His beating came after Hogancamp told the group of men late at a bar that he was a cross-dresser. In order to cope with all this Hogancamp made realistic photos of World War 2 scenes using 1:6 models. Such as the photo below.
The movie trailer however, has deviated largely from what actually happened to Hogancamp for political purposes. Take a look at the picture of how the trailer portrays Hogancamp’s attackers.
Lets just ignore the discrepancy of 5 people in the first scene and 6 in the second and focus on the race. In the movie they are all portrayed as white. We even get a look at this weird Swastika tattoo that one of the attacker is shown as having.
The narrative the movie is trying to push about this event is that a bunch of neo-nazi’s beat up Hogancamp because he told them he liked to dress up as a woman. No matter who beat him up it’s wrong and they should be tried with legal and due process. However, this movie takes ‘artistic license’ to the very extreme. The trailer advertisers that this movie is “based on a true story”, but that’s like saying you put hubcaps on a car made entirely in Mexico and labeling it “Made in the USA”.
First we can look at news reports of the time the attack actually happened and afterwards about the attackers. In Collectors Weekly there is no mention of the attackers being Nazi’s at all. Nor did the New York Times despite them reporting at the time the documentary came out 16 years after the attack. None of the reports say anything about the attackers having anything to do with Nazism, or having any Swastika tattoos.
In the book written by Hogancamp and his wife Chris Shellen called Welcome to Marwencol we can see who the attackers were better. On page 36 the books says the following
Purcell later claimed that Hommel [one of the attackers] was taunting Mark [Hogancamp], trying to get him to say something offensive, something about hating black people, like Black Freddy [one of the attackers]. But Mark didn’t take the bait … While Mead and Rand kicked at Mark’s legs, Black Freddy later told detectives that he, Hommel, and Purcell stomped repeatedly on Mark’s head and chest with their boots.
Oh, so one of the attackers was black. Interesting that the movie didn’t show that at all. Maybe because that wouldn’t go too well with the narrative that a bunch of Nazis attacked him. The reason why they call him ‘Black Freddy’ is because he was 16,a minor, at the time and another of the attackers first name’s is Freddy.
They portrayal of Hogancamp is that he saw the German’s as absolutely evil and the Allies as the good guys. There’s a scene in the trailer where Hogancamp is showing a model he made of German soldiers whipping another doll named ‘Hogie’ ‘…because he’s different’. However, that’s not how Hogancamp saw the war.
His wife is quoted in Collectors Weekly saying,
“When Mark was growing up, he was fascinated by Papi’s amputated leg and World War II stories, which gave him a unique view of the conflict that isn’t just about good versus evil,” Shellen says. “To him, it’s more of a gray story.”
This movie could’ve been made into a movie about someone who has to deal with his trauma of being beaten so badly he had to relearn how to do basic things like to eat. Instead we get a politicized movie about “Nazi’s and the Axis morally evil and everyone else good”. We get not the slightest humanization of German soldiers despite that being Hogancamp’s real belief.
I try not to trash movies too much because I realize that a lot of work goes into these things, however this appears to be just a butchering of the truth to push a political agenda.