I have always been a fan of B movies, horror, and Saturday morning shows like Power Rangers. They are all guilty pleasures that — even now, being in my mid-thirties — I still have a deep fondness for and will even revisit on occasion. So when I heard the pitch for Steven Kostanski’s new movie Psycho Goreman, I was excited to see what nonsense could be brought to the screen. Mixing various genres and bringing a sense of fun to the proceedings, Psycho Goreman is B-horror schlock that will have you grinning from ear to ear.
Psycho Goreman wastes no time drawing the audience into its nonsense world, using the convention of a text crawl to quickly give the backstory. While most movies would be happy to focus on the heroes of the universe, Steven Kostanski instead tells the tale of the “Archduke of Nightmares”, a villain who reigns over planet Gigax with an iron fist and chaotic powers. When a group of “good” heroes band together, they manage to defeat him and finally free everyone from his evil grip, banishing him to the far away planet known as “Earth.”
It is here the story starts, and where brother and sister duo Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) discover an ancient amulet while playing a game of Crazyball (think Dodgeball with chaotic rules). When they accidentally resurrect the Archduke (Matthew Ninaber), Mimi thinks this is the perfect addition to their family, despite the numerous red flags, and the misgivings of her brother. As the duo try to integrate the Archduke — who they dub Psycho Goreman (PG for short) — the story proper takes shape, with childish hijinks, family bonds tightening, and enough gore and blood to paint their small town red many times over.
What makes Psycho Goreman so fun is the mix of disparaging elements that on paper should not work, but through the magic of practical effects — and a dash of great characters — all come together in an absurdist mesh of shock and joy. It takes the best elements of a family film — and the camp cinema we all know and love — and builds something memorable.
Psycho Goreman works to not only poke fun at the core elements, such as suburbia, selfish children and lazy adults and blends it with the self serious world of science fiction epics. From the character designs to the way the town is thrown into total chaos by the antics of these children and their intergalactic overlord, it is wondrous to watch. It pushes the limits on what can be expected, and shows the talents of everyone involved — especially director and writer Steven Kostanski. This being his third solo feature film, the talents on display are staggering, especially for the budget they all had to work with.
Besides the great performances by the full cast — especially the wonderfully deranged portrayal of Mimi by Nita-Josee Hanna — the real centerpiece of Psycho Goreman has to be the effects. Calling back to shows like Power Rangers, the rubber suit style monsters manage a fun balance of shock, gore and pure amazement with the practical work making the shenanigans feel more grounded, at the same time bringing the feeling of schlock cinema we all know and love. While The Void demonstrated the terror that could be brought out with the creations Steven Kostanski designed, Psycho Goreman proves just how fun these sorts of effects can be in the right hands, with the right story.
The story of Psycho Goreman felt fresh, if not a bit disjointed at times. While the basic concept of the world was laid out well, the focus got a bit confused as the film moved into the final act. It was often hard to know who to root for, especially in the epic final battle between PG and the forces of “good”. It felt fun and enjoyable, but there was no clear direction on what would happen if either won in the end. But thanks to the dry humour of Psycho Goreman, mixed with the chaos of Mimi and her view on the world, these minor gripes take little away from the overall experience.
Psycho Goreman is a wonderful journey into a blood soaked Saturday morning I never knew I needed. What could have been a mess in lesser hands, Steven Kostanski has managed to craft a B-Horror film masterpiece that is as heartfelt as it is blood soaked. For anyone that loves the classic schlock horror that used to play during late night movie marathons, jump on your favourite VOD provider and give Psycho Goreman a try, you won’t be disappointed.