Prepare for giant brains, Jurassic Park cosplay, and hunky boys, in the freshest cinematic offering – Psycho Goreman by Steve Kostanski, creator of The Void. Packed full of everything weird, wild, and wacky, Psycho Goreman takes the viewer on a nostalgia-tinged journey of mayhem and humour. Taking place on Earth, Psycho Goreman joins siblings Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) as they accidentally uncover a dangerous cosmic being from the planet Gigax. Luckily for them, they also discover a special stone that has the power to control the creature. Seeing the opportunity for a LOT of fun, Mimi becomes the master of the lifeform and, after naming him Psycho Goreman – PG (played by a combination of Matthew Ninaber and Steven Vlahos) for short – sets out to engage in chaotic fun. The games can’t last forever though as PG’s awakening sets in motion a team of intergalactic bounty hunters. As war begins on Earth, Mimi and Luke must decide which side of the battle they are on.
There’s something quintessentially joyful about Psycho Goreman. From the opening moments featuring a text scrawl that contextualises our titular character, to its high stakes ending, Kostanski keeps the viewer riveted. This is a film clearly made by a team with a passion for old-school effects and zany stories; Kostanski and co expertly replicate the viewing experience of their inspirations, ensuring a fantastic time for those that share their enthusiasm. Imagine if you will, that children’s films such as Masters of the Universe and Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie had been created for grown-ups. The same happy-go-lucky attitude, just with way more swearing and violence. Well that’s exactly what Psycho Goreman feels like. Kostanski plugs into that same special brand of awesome that made Turbo Kid such a magnetic watch, but dials the fun and gore factor up to eleven.
Although led by the make-up and effects (we’ll get to that later), Psycho Goreman also has plenty of narrative flair. Structured as a wild action-adventure, the film also takes the time to probe into the dynamic between Mimi and Luke. Mimi is the younger of the pair, but also the leader and more aggressive of the two. In fact, she’s a borderline sociopath who would get on very well with Toy Story’s Sid. Luke is the older, quieter, and more reserved sibling, who finds himself conflicted about Mimi’s destructive behaviour, but unsure of how to handle it. Their relationship unravels as though being told through a dark Amblin filter. It poses some interesting moral quandaries for the viewer too, as it’s not often that we are confronted with children acting in such a way.
The humour screams off of the screen and is guaranteed to leave you with aching sides. There’s barely a scene that goes by that doesn’t have something to bring out a chuckle or two, and Psycho Goreman really is the perfect pick-me-up movie. A lot of the comedy comes from the character of Psycho Goreman himself. Played on-screen by Matthew Ninaber, and voiced by Steven Vlahos, the character is an instant cult icon. His imposing look, combined with his dead-pan delivery of lines, makes him a true anti-hero that the masses can get behind. Part Drax innocence, part Lord Zedd frustrated evil villain, Psycho Goreman is the perfect vessel for the film’s comedy. One instance involving a reference to some hunky boys is hard to top and still remains one of my funniest cinematic moments of the year. Then there’s the ill-fated friend of Mimi and Luke, Alasdair, who injects some of the darker pathos-drenched humour. With so many different types of comedy covered, there’s bound to be something for everyone.
Attention now turns to that of the special effect and make-up work. Kostanski has a solid history within the work of creature design and prosthetics, and he utilises all of the experience he has gleaned to produce one heck of a visual feast. The team he has selected here have produced some tremendous creations that should have easily earned them some sort of nomination on the awards circuit. This is especially relevant when you consider that Psycho Goreman would have had a budget that was a tiny fraction of other effects-heavy projects. The talent and skill displayed is a true marvel and you’ll need at least a second watch-through to fully spot everything that they have created. The work on PG is obviously stunning, but the team didn’t stop with just this character; there’s a whole galaxy of strange beings, each with their own unique appearance. Oh, and there’s also a giant brain that almost steals the film from under everyone else. A sequel or spin-off based upon this character is very much needed.
From the opening scrawl and Power Rangers-esque guitar riffs, to the end credits rap recap, Psycho Goreman spews forth psychedelic mayhem that opens up that latent vein of nostalgia residing in those that grew up many moons ago. Fun, hip, wow, and very in keeping with the nostalgia driven films of now, Psycho Goreman is the perfect Friday or Saturday night beer and pizza movie.
With make-up and FX that are out of this galaxy, Psycho Goreman is a gleefully gory gem that adds a very adult spin on children’s fantasy films of the late eighties and early nineties.
Psycho Goreman is available on Shudder now and arrives on Blu-ray form Monday 4th October 2021.
This review first appeared on THN.