James Jay Edwards reviews Psycho Goreman, a science-fiction horror comedy film written and directed by Steven Kostanski. (Shudder)
In the early twenty-first century, a collective of filmmakers called Astron-6 formed in Winnipeg. Together, they’ve made movies with names like Manborg and Father’s Day. But the five members of the group also work separately. The special effects guru of the bunch, Steven Kostanski, is the writer/director of a crazy new movie call Psycho Goreman.
Psycho Goreman is about an ancient alien overlord (played by Matthew Ninaber and voiced by Steven Vlahos) who was entombed on Earth many years ago. He is freed when a girl named Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and her brother, Luke (Owen Myre), dig him up. The problem for the beast is that the kids hold a jeweled amulet that allows them to control him, so, as much as he’d like to rip their little hearts out, he is bound to be their servant. Mimi and Luke nickname him “Psycho Goreman,” or P.G. for short, and he becomes their “friend.”
(Psycho Goreman, theatrical release poster, RLJE Films, Shudder)
Meanwhile, the Gigax Council, an intergalactic panel of justice, learns that P.G. has escaped and sends an assassin named Pandora (Kristen MacCulloch, voiced by Anna Tuerney) to vanquish the evil foe. A gang of P.G.’s former allies known as the Paladins Obsidian, led by a monster named Darkscream (portrayed by the film’s fight choreographer Alex Chung), also has a score to settle with their old pal. But Mimi and Luke aren’t about to let any aliens take out their new friend, even if their new friend’s eventual plan is the destroy the world.
Steven Kostanski admits that Psycho Goreman is exactly the kind of movie he wanted to see when he was a kid, and that love for what he’s doing spills out all over the screen. Psycho Goreman has the heart of a children’s movie combined with the violence and gore of a schlock horror film—sort of like E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, only if E.T. was one of the Cenobites from the Hellraiser movies. The blood and guts are nicely balanced with plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor and a clever sense of wide-eyed innocence. And it’s a ridiculously fun movie.
(Psycho Goreman, RLJE Films, Shudder)
The central thread in Psycho Gorman is the power struggle between Mimi, who controls P.G.’s jewel most of the time, and P.G. himself, bent on galactic conquest but beholden to whoever holds power over him. It’s a fun tug-o-war to watch as P.G. has seemingly met his match in the form of a little girl, yet Mimi is a strong presence even without P.G. being at her beck and call. P.G. is obviously frustrated by Mimi’s authority over him, but, after a while, it seems as if the monster gains a genuine affection for his new friends. It’s wholesome in a really weird way.
Since creature effects are Steven Kostanski’s forte as a filmmaker, it’s no surprise that the aliens in Psycho Goreman are awesome. Between the members of the Gigax Council and the denizens of the Paladins Obsidian, there is no shortage of cool monsters in the movie. The style of the costuming falls somewhere between H.R. Pufnstuf and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, silly and ridiculous enough to be otherworldly, yet functional enough to allow for some serious kung-fu action. And there’s a little of everything in the mix, as characters range from Mars Attacks!-esque aliens to, well, a sentient bucket of guts. It’s not exactly a creature feature, but the creatures in Psycho Goreman do provide first-rate entertainment.
(Psycho Goreman, RLJE Films, Shudder)
Even though Psycho Goreman isn’t an official Astron-6 production, Kostanski still utilized the talents of his old pals. Three of his Astron-6 cohorts act in the film: Adam Brooks plays the father of Mimi and Like, Matt Kennedy shows up as a member of the Gigax Council, and Conor Sweeney pops in as one of the Paladins Obsidian. So, don’t stick a fork in Astron-6 just yet. But just know that, Astron-6 or not, Steven Kostanski can pump out fun and interesting movies like Psycho Goreman.