2021, R, 89 mins
Matthew Ninaber as Psycho Goreman (PG) / Reece Presley as Chad / Rick Amsbury as Dennis / Kristen MacCulloch as Pandora / Matthew Kennedy as Kortex / Owen Myre as Luke / Timothy Paul McCarthy as Father / Conor Sweeney as Maddox/Cassius 3000 / Robert Homer as Vince/Zombie Cop / Nita-Josee Hanna as Mimi / Anna Tierney as Pandora / Adam Brooks as GregWritten and directed by Steven Kostanski
I'll be frank
right upfront in this review:
You'll either be
willing and game to take the plunge into the insanely madcap and schlocky
rabbit hole that is PSYCHO GOREMAN...or...you simply won't.
It's just that simple.
I took the leap,
and I'm glad I did so.
made indie is a ludicrous cocktail of a weird B-grade horror fantasy and a
family/coming of age comedy, and it's all made by writer/director Steven
Kostanski with maximum cheesy, retrograde exuberance and a never-look-back
cheeky audacity. PSYCHO
GOREMAN contains a preposterously engaging premise to boot: A young girl
is able to control the titular ancient alien monster after it has been
awakened from its centuries old entombment on Earth.
Just think of all of the limitless possibilities of a child being
granted full ownership of a demonic monster and, yup, this film does a
deliriously entertaining job of covering most of them.
There's a free-wheeling spirit of unique craziness and visual
mischief that's on chief display here, and once you succumb to the film's
eccentric charms then it becomes hard yank yourself out of its vortex.
As far as low budget intergalactic sci-fi/horror/comedies go,
PSYCHO GOREMAN is fairly unmatched on a level of pure silly showmanship,
not to mention its desire to go just about anywhere for a macabre laugh.
And I laughed a lot and heartily during this film's 80-plus
So who (or what)
is P.G., you might ask? Well,
the self proclaimed "Archduke of Nightmares" (his preferred
title, of course) comes from the extraterrestrial world of Gigax (sly
geeky nod to DUNGEONS & DRAGONS creator Gary Gygax) that found himself
left for nearly dead and buried on Earth centuries ago after a failed
attempt to decimate the known universe (he's physically played by Matthew
Ninaber and voiced with maximum straight laced and deadpan freakiness by
Steven Vlahos). With a deep
bassy voice that would put Optimus Prime to shame and covered in horns and
creepy purple tinted skin, P.G. is most definitely a hulkingly
intimidating presence that takes great relish in insta-killing anyone in
his path (beheadings seem to be his favorite method).
Anhoo', this gargantuan gargoyle-like beast finds himself
accidentally awakened by a couple of kids, Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and
Luke (Owen Myre), who are both shown early in the film playing a
make-believe game of Crazy Ball that culminates with them digging up a
mysterious and powerful gem in their backyard.
Gee, I wonder if
this mystical rock is what causes P.G. to be resurrected and, in turn, be
controlled by one of these kids that wield it?
Of course, the
young kids are initially alarmed at their massive find, and all P.G. wants
to do is re-start his murder-death-killing of the human race and everyone
and everything in his path...but...he can't.
It seems the holder of that aforementioned stone grants them
unlimited control over P.G., and all against his will.
Predictably, this greatly annoys the monster, and it certainly
becomes debasing for this architect of pain and suffering to be bossed
around by a little earthling who seems to be far too hyper caffeinated for
her own good and takes a near zealot-like stranglehold on that rock.
While P.G. tries to hilariously acclimate to becoming Mimi and
Luke's new plaything, another Gigax-residing entity called Pandora (played
by Kristen MacCulloch and voiced by Anna Tierney) ventures to Earth (along
with some colleagues) to confront P.G. and stop him from ever committing
any more insane rampages in the known universe, leaving Mimi and Luke
stick in the middle of the conflict.
Okay...so much to
established as a haunting figure of pure nightmare fuel early on, which is
shown during an early altercation he has with a pair of petty thieves (the
gore and violence on display in this film throughout is of the definitive
in-your-face variety and easily earns its R-rating).
The creature is almost narcissistic in his self-anointed
awesomeness, which makes his later plight of being completely submissive
to every one of Mimi's ridiculous commands all the more uproarious.
Because he's reduced to being a living action figure toy for the
kids, P.G. is forced to lower himself to things as trivial as, for
example, donning hipster clothes and performing in Mimi and Luke's rock
band or going on routine errands around town.
One of the most hysterical running gags in PSYCHO GOREMAN is how
the children - and pretty much everyone else around them - seem to take
the sudden appearance of this horrendous looking and dangerous freak in
relative stride. Even when
P.G. breaks out into many (and I do mean many) monologues that elaborates
in boastful detail about his universe hopping exploits, these kids seem
altogether unfazed and unafraid. This
adds to P.G.'s growing sense of futility with his predicament.
All he wants to do is destroy, and all these kids want is a new
friend to warp and mould as they see fit.
up scene after scene of wicked campiness and inanely over the top
bloodshed (one inspired and darkly funny moment involves P.G. confronting
some aggressive, but frightened police officers, and with a wave of his
mighty hand he instantly reduces one of them to disgusting goo, but
without killing him...his living agony is his real punishment, in P.G.'s
mind). There's another
preposterous scene that has the enslaved marauder zap one of Mimi's
friends (who also happens to have a crush on her) and turns him into a
large gelatinous blob with eyes. Kostanski
also displays ample, wide-eyed fun and some solid visual innovation (all
done on the absolute cheap) in showcasing planet Gigax and all of its
fantastic scenery and equally outlandish looking denizens.
You gain a pretty immediate sense very early on in PSYCHO GOREMAN
that this filmmaker is most assuredly throwing every nickel of his scant
budget on screen to make his retro-vision come through, and, yes, this
isn't a slick and polished looking genre mishmash akin to a studio
blockbuster with ample resources. No,
PSYCHO GOREMAN's unique aesthetic appeal is in how it all looks made up
from discarded scrap pieces of other films from yesteryear and all being
held together by the smallest of loose threads.
There's a consummate amount of vivid, eccentric energy to all of
the costumes, set pieces, and art design here even while the whole endeavor
looks - for lack of a better word - cheap.
I appreciated how Kostanski lets his childlike imagination run
freely wild here and all while under the most miniscule of micro budgets.