Psycho Goreman is available now on VOD and scheduled to hit Blu-ray on March 16.
Steven Kostanski makes wild shit. I’m a big fan of some of his films, like his occult/Lovecraftian horror tale The Void, and more relevantly to this conversation, the wildly inventive/low-fi exteme sci-fi comedy Manborg.
His newest directorial work, Psycho Goreman, takes his signature love for gonzo splattery effects and mixes it with a family story that’s sort of a bizarre Hellraiser meets Beethoven (the St. Bernard movie, not the composer).
Trouble starts when two young siblings, nebbish Luke and his bullying sister Mimi, accidentally summon an ancient evil alien warlord whose outrageous cosmic-level power is bound to an amulet — a stone which the children found, and Mimi learns, now gives her complete control of her very own murderous extraterrestrial demon. And despite his curses and threats to bathe in their blood, PG is quite helpless but to obey his diminutive captors, who have him join them in their childish frolicking and misadventures.
True to its wonderful premise, Psycho Goreman (or PG: Psycho Goreman, as both the film title and character’s name are stylized) is an absolutely outrageous splatterfest of extreme gore and hilarious horror, not held back in the least on account of the film’s family aspects. (In other words: Don’t let the kids fool you, it’s super R rated).
Most of the violence is played for humor, with Psycho Goreman devouring enemies whole (in snakelike fashion by detaching his jaw), exploding their heads, or simply showing them visions of unfathomable cosmic horror so intense that their minds and bodies collapse into jelly. Hilariously, the guy pictured below sticks around for awhile as a moaning sidekick of sorts.
As word of PG’s return spreads through the cosmos, alien forces rise to challenge him. The film is huge on practical effects, some of which is charmingly hokey and some which looks pretty incredible. All of it is wonderful, and I was especially impressed by the council of aliens who meet to determine how to respond the threat of the ancient warlord — especially the brainy robot puppet whose facial expressions had me screaming with laughter.
Anyway, this new balance of power comes home with Mimi as she ruthlessly abuses her new authority to bully not only her brother, but her squabbly parents as well.
Which brings me to the one aspect of the film that I didn’t care for. Mimi is… awful. She’s just the worst.
That’s part of the point of course, her insufferable brattiness is the whole joke as she tortures both Psycho Goreman and her brother. And by the film’s end, she and her family will appreciate each other more after having survived an alien war that erupts in their neighborhood.
We all have our limits, and for me I very unexpectedly came up against one of mine when Mimi snatches and desecrates a crucifix and screams to heaven, “There’s a new god in town, and his name is Psycho Goreman, and he’s coming for you, buddy!”. This will elicit big laughs for a lot of viewers, but for me it’s one of those things that does really get under my skin — casual blasphemy wasn’t on my Bingo card when I pressed play on this one (strictly speaking, that’s not entirely true but I would’ve expected it from the ancient demon conquerer). But even chalking that incident up as a personal hangup, Mimi still sucks big time.
Bratty protagonist aside, Psycho Goreman is a scream, packed with great character designs and a hilarious, highly irreverent tone.
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