Psycho Goreman, Steven Kostanki’s darkly comedic descent into space violence, is extremely fun and charming.
Over the years, there have been plenty of horror movies that reference, parody, and pay homage to staple 70s and 80s horror. Steven Kostanski’s Psycho Goreman may be another film to add to this list, but rather than using its influences to simply capitalize off the viewer’s nostalgia, it creatively uses its budget and unique concept to create a world that those both young and old audiences will be completely engrossed in.
Psycho Goreman tells the story of siblings Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre), who unknowingly resurrect an alien overlord one night when they are playing together outside. Upon realizing what they have done, the reactions between the two children vary. At first, Luke is quite horrified, while Mimi seems not at all phased by the creature standing right in front of her. It’s when she realizes that, by using a magical amulet that ends up her in possession, she can make him obey any of her wishes, that everything goes south. She soon decides to make him her personal pet, and even gives him the name Psycho Goreman (PG for short). This doesn’t go without punishment, though. Soon enough, PG grows tired of bending to her every childish whim, and the kids soon attract an entire group of alien assassins who are out to get them.
Of course, with a premise like this, Psycho Goreman is bound to have some childish humor. It certainly does, but it knows it and owns it, and simply doesn’t care. It’s a film that doesn’t want to hold back no matter what, which can be understandably off-putting for some viewers, but, for others, it will definitely work in its favor. The offbeat humor is very much reminiscent of the film’s influences, so those who go in with the expectations of expecting a goofy parody of old fashioned horror will be very much pleased with the result.
Despite a runtime of 95 minutes, the stories of these characters are all very well established. It’s never all that easy to create a compelling origin story with such a short time, but the tale of PG and his world are fully realized and not at all rushed. Another notable point of Psycho Goreman are the practical effects. The monsters all look wonderful, remindful of something out of a 90s kids’ show (think along the lines of VR Troopers). The gore effects are also amazing and a lot of fun to see, the over the top nature of them only adding to the film’s seemingly endless charm. It’s almost unbelievable how much passion is woven into this project, especially given the budget restrictions.
While, overall, Kostanski’s supervillain flick is packed to the brim with violence, it’s not without its heartfelt moments. Mimi and Luke are at odds due to their difference in personality, but, at the end of the day, they are each other’s best friends. Mimi loves to mock Luke’s sensitive nature, but as soon as she witnesses someone else trying to hurt him, she does what she can to stop it. The two do eventually find themselves at a head once Luke begins to grow tired of Mimi using her power over PG excessively, even sometimes at his expense, and Mimi, of course, feels betrayed to find that her brother just might not be on her side. They have an interesting dynamic due to how different they are, but they don’t hate each other, not in the slightest. If anything, they’re bratty, just as kids are, and this makes their relationship a high point, along with the monsters and gore.
Psycho Goreman may lack in high budget and shiny production, but makes up for it with its imaginative and ambitious vision. If anything can be said by the entirety of Kostanski’s filmography so far, it’s that he is a director to look out for, one that has a promising future ahead of him.
Psycho Goreman arrives on SHUDDER on 20 May 2021.
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