It’s the early 90’s (I assume) in a small middleclass suburbia where the siblings Mimi (Nita-Josée Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) are out in the backyard playing Crazy Ball. Yes, would you even imagine that there was a time when kids could have fun without a smartphone? My oh my. Luke is the the quiet and reserved one while Mimi is a fearless sociopath with some strong Tiny Tina demeanours (that crazy girl from Borderlands). She’s mean, sassy, demanding, animated and loves to pick on her brother. Later that evening they decide to dig a big hole in the yard, because that is what kids did back in the day when they couldn’t sleep. After a few feet down they find some pink/purple-glowing mystical artifact that’s clearly not from this planet. Another thing from space is an alien, played by Matthew Ninaber, covered in a full latex costume from toe to top. He’s from the planet Gigax and has telekinesis powers, the ability to throw big fireballs from his hands, and looks like a mishmash of all B-movie monsters from the 80s and maybe early 90s. For my part he reminded me more of Wishmaster.
Mimi and Luke encounter the alien in some abandoned shoe factory where they also stumble upon his first victims, a group of hobos with their bodyparts placed on the wall like a morbid David Fincher crime scene (the most graphic moments where the grittyness is concerned). They don’t seem that scared, though, but more thrilled. We get a whole flashback scene that tells us his origin story and how he came to Earth, but the most important thing to know is that he’s here to kill all mankind. Why? Because why not. The one and only thing that could hold him back is the glowing artifact (also called The Gem of Praxidike) we saw earlier, which Mimi luckily have in her pocket. When the alien gets the sight of it, he freezes. Because you see, those who holds the artifact can command the alien to do what they want, like John Connor did with Arnie in Terminator 2, so to speak. As the kids they are they see him as a big new toy and gives him the catchy name “Psycho Goreman”, PG for short just to play ironically with the title in case the film would end up with a PG-rating, which instead got unrated. Oh, well.
So, where does the plot go from here? A lot of shit happens, but not in the way you’d probably imagine it. Since Mimi outshines the entire cast with her energetic and manic presence and seems to be as psycho as Goreman himself, it would be easy to picture these two as a deadly duo going on an epic genocide crusade-mayhem while being chased by tanks, choppers and the military. Hopefully in a sequel. Mimi and Luke doesn’t know much about what to do with him other than first disguise him in some clothes, like in Frankenstein: The College years (for the few that have seen that film) and hope he gets accepted by their mum and dad. They forgot to cover his face though, but no one would notice such minor details, lol emoji. I couldn’t care much for the scenes with the parents. They’re just there with their own marriage issues to make us know that the kids aren’t orphans. Their goofy deadbeat dad (played by Adam Brooks) has some comedic nuggets here and there, and yeah, he alone got some chuckles out of me. His best scene is where he gets a mental breakdown while taking a dump. Meanwhile when Luke and Mimi gets along with PG as they start a garage band together with PG on drums, play videogames and what kids would do with a huge toy as PG, the council from his homeplanet sends the galactic warrior Pandora, an angelic creature with small wings as eyes, to save us Earthlings from PG’s destruction.
Psycho Goreman is written and directed by Steven Kostanski, a young man from Canada who seems to dedicate his film career with his production company Astron-6, by producing a pastiche of low-budget, 80’s-centric films with titles such as Manborg, The Void, Father’s Day, Leprechaun Returns to name some. With his latest feature he takes inspiration from the early 90s with films like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, Transformers, Star Wars, the epic intros from the Saturday-morning cartoons from the 80s, martial arts, some spices of Troma and everything from the obscure corners from the 80s, puts it all in a grinder and out comes Psycho Goreman. So, how does it taste? Hmm..
There’s not as much blood and gore as the title would make you believe, though. If there was some malfunction with the grinder, I don’t know, but the result is more sweet, more innocent and light-hearted that you’d expect. The film relies more on slapstick, goofy fight scenes, and overall a showcase of impressive, if not charming, make-up effects/costume designs and a handful of references. There’s something for everyone to like here, I personally have a weak spot for Death Trapper, a walking meatgrinder filled with body parts. And then we have a giant, wobbling brain with some terrified eyes. The miniatures seen in PG’s flashback scene were nothing but gorgeous which also gave some Mad God vibes. The musical trio Blitz/Berlin adds a fitting retro soundtrack to enhance that fuzzy feel of nostalgia. And then there’s probably a drinking game of references. The most notable are the scenes with the council on PG’s homeplanet which clearly mocks the political nonsense we had to sit through in A Phantom Menace that still seems to haunt us. We also have a reference to Steven Kostanski’s favourite film Phantasm with an extended dream sequence. So, yeah, there’s a lot to chew on here and get inspired by, and with its colorful cartoonish and over-the-top silly, naive tone, Psycho Goreman suits perfectly for the the whole family to enjoy with pizza, coke and root beer on a Friday night.
Psycho Goreman is available on DVD/Blu-ray on Cd Universe and can be watched on various streaming sites.
Writer and director: Steven Kostanski
Country & year: Canada, 2020
Actors: Nita-Josée Hanna, Owen Myre, Matthew Ninaber, Steven Vlahos, Adam Brooks, Alexis Kara Hancey, Kristen MacCulloch, Anna Tierney, Roxine Latoya Plummer, Alex Chung, Scout Flint