Despite delays due to the pandemic, the latest midnight-movie horror comedy Psycho Goreman screened at Beyond Fest, the Sitges Film Festival and Monster Fest earlier this year. Heading to horror streaming service Shudder later this week, this low-budget but high energy flick channels the campiness of 80s and 90s sci-fi for a uniquely bonkers but hilarious trip.
Directed by Steven Kostanski, PG: Psycho Goreman centres on siblings Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) as they unwittingly resurrect an ancient alien overlord following their nonsensical game of “Crazy Ball” in the backyard. After discovering the creature, along with the magical amulet which controls him, the duo nickname him Psycho Goreman (or PG for short) and set about forcing PG to do their childish bidding. However the reappearance of the Gygax alien draws the attention of intergalactic enemies and allegiances, and the two groups assemble in a battle for the fate of the galaxy.
PG: Psycho Goreman, the fifth flick from director Kostanski, is a hugely enjoyable, tongue-in-cheek horror-comedy. Packed full of 80s nostalgia vibes, this film is very much in a similar vein to Turbo Kid, documenting the chaotic events of a 12-year old controlling/befriending an ancient, all powerful alien. There’s a brilliant dynamic between the central trio, with a lot of humour resulting from brilliant comedic timing, usually in fish-out-water situations involving PG. The siblings hilariously dress him up, introduce him to glossy magazines (“I do not care for hunky boys”) and make him play their made up game “Crazy Ball” – with Mimi coming up with various ways of using her newfound pet for fun.
As the film progress, Kostanski introduces more sci-fi world building and backstory, delving into the battle between the enslaving alien race the Templars and PG’s army, The Paladins of Obsidian. As the group known as The Planetary Alliance discover PG has been awoken, they send Templar Pandora (Kristen MacCulloch) to recapture PG and the gem. As the two sides assemble ready for battle, what follows can only be described as a chaotic and bonkers melding of Power Rangers and Doctor Who. The enthralling third act ups the gore in a riot of hilarious bloody beat downs as the two sides battle for the fate of the galaxy – honestly, there’s so much fun to be had with this film.
The brother-sister duo of Mimi and Luke is wonderfully brought to life by Nita-Josee Hanna and Owen Myre. Hanna’s Mimi is brilliantly sassy but definitely somewhat of a spoilt brat, with the power of the gem going to her head as she commands PG to turn Luke’s friend Alastair into an affectionate playmate, but he instead transforms him into a weird giant brain. Their sibling relationship feels genuinely authentic, particularly with their own made language, bonkers ball game and rock band. Matthew Ninaber is completely unrecognisable in full prosthetics as PG, bringing a fantastic mix of evil overlord and begrudging affection to the role. There’s a really sweet family dynamic which evolves between the four characters, and PG almost becomes one of the family.
Along with the hilarious dynamics between the cast, Psycho Goreman truly excels with the fantastical creature designs and makeup effects. With Kostanski at the helm, who’s previously worked as a special makeup artist on IT, Suicide Squad and Hannibal, it’s clear to see the level of artistry involved – particularly when it comes to the brilliant makeup for PG. There’s an insane amount of blood splatter and gore, particularly in the hilarious fight between PG and The Paladins of Obsidian, complete with endearingly schlocky, low-budget effects. The costume design from Madi Styles also impresses, with an array of various alien species reminiscent of Doctor Who creations. Pandora’s design is a standout, clearly inspired by classic anime films. The film also features a fun soundtrack from Blitz//Berlin with plenty of 80’s pop needle drops, including “Frig Off! (feat. Danny Deane)”, “Two Hands, One Heart” (feat. Rody Walker) and “Psycho Goreman (P.G. for Short)” [feat. Lil Cae$ar].
Psycho Goreman is a riot of outlandish humour, brilliant practical effects and plenty of frigging gore from start to finish. Despite not watching this at a packed horror festival, I honestly had a real blast with this horror comedy – which will undoubtably reach cult status.
PG: Psycho Goreman is available on Shudder from 20 May.