If you’re a horror movie fan, and you love ‘80s-inspired films, then there is a very good chance you have already heard some buzz about Psycho Goreman (aka PG: Psycho Goreman). The movie – a sci-fi horror-comedy from writer/director Steven Kostanski – has started to gauge a lot of interest since playing at a couple of film festivals in 2020, and from May 20th 2021, it arrives in the UK courtesy of Shudder.
Psycho Goreman stars Matthew Ninaber, Steven Vlahos, Nita-Josee Hanna and Owen Myre, and tells the story of two children, Mimi and Luke, who accidentally resurrect an evil, extra-terrestrial warrior in their back garden. With the aid of a mystical gem, Mimi then gains power over the creature, and dubs him Psycho Goreman.
Under her power, Psycho Goreman is forced to do Mimi’s bidding, which largely amounts to following her around, befriending her family, and taking part in a ball game. This becomes a source of frustration for Goreman, who admits that as soon as he gains his freedom, he will kill Mimi and bathe in her blood.
But Goreman has other problems to worry about before he can get to that, because a group of aliens known as the Planetary Alliance, have learned about his resurrection and want him destroyed. And to achieve their goal, the Alliance send one of Goreman’s foes to Earth to finish him off, and ensure he is nothing but a distant memory.
Psycho Goreman is a fun little oddity, which mixes off-the-wall humour, with old-school practical effects, as well as lashings of blood and gore. It is a film designed for those who grew up on ‘80s and ‘90s horror movies which favoured in-camera effects, rather than computers to help tell their story.
The movie wears its influences on its sleeve, and it’s not difficult to see the likes of The Monster Squad (1987), Wishmaster (1997), various Troma movies, and even the Power Rangers thrown into the mix. This is pure, nostalgia-driven escapism, which wants the audience to have a blast, and harks back to an almost forgotten era of movie making.
Sure, there are a few CGI flourishes here and there, but the majority of the movie relies on good ol’ fashioned latex and prosthetics to bring some of its monstrous characters to life. And by doing this, Psycho Goreman becomes a very creative picture, which is as mad as a box of frogs, but is sure to become a cult favourite.
Is the movie perfect? No. There are a few pacing issues, and some of the acting is a little rough around the edges too. And while the film is humorous, I believe there was plenty of room for more gags.
I laughed a number of times watching this film, but at no point was I rolling around in my chair – it was mild tittering at best. I was ready to laugh more, so I did feel like this was a bit of a missed opportunity.
But I am confident that if Psycho Goreman ever gets a sequel, then it can build on its foundations and push the envelope even further, with more gags and more craziness. This movie certainly demonstrates the confidence required to take things up a level, should the opportunity arise, and I can only imagine the weird and wacky ideas that would be chucked at the screen the second time around.
But for this first outing this is a great call back to the past, and an inventive feature which really digs deep into its sci-fi and horror roots. It is the sort of movie your parents told you not to watch, but you stayed up late to watch it anyway.
If you adore movies such as WolfCop (2014) or Turbo Kid (2015), then you will find much to enjoy in Psycho Goreman. It’s not perfect, but it does bring something quirky to the screen, and the humorous tone, as well as the creative creature designs, help to paper over any cracks.