Directed by: Steven Kostanski
Written by: Steven Kostanski
Featuring: Nita-Josee Hanna, Owen Myre, Matthew Ninaber, Steven Vlahos, Adam Brooks, Alexis Kara Hancey, Kristen MacCulloch, Anna Tierney, Roxine Latoya Plummer, Kenneth Walsh
Brother and sister Luke and Mimi spend their days bickering, playing a made-up ball game and being the local oddballs. One day after digging a hole, a forfeit for the loser in their game, they discover a glowing amulet that simultaneously resurrects an alien ‘overlord’ whose sole purpose is to destroy all life in the Universe, whilst also controlling him absolutely. Unfortunately for the overlord, Mimi, a spoilt, psychopath in training has the amulet and thus control over the newly named ‘Pyscho Goreman’. Despite various disasters they manage to keep him under wraps but eventually an uneasy alliance of aliens, monsters and assassins from throughout the galaxy see the overlords enslavement as an opportunity to rid themselves of him from the universe forever and head to earth.
Whether it was entirely deliberate or not Psycho Goreman is a long and detailed love-letter to cheap horror/gore films of the 1980s. The practical effects are not poor but equally not quite realistic enough to be brilliant, likewise idiosyncratic acting that is fun, memorable, and not poor, signposts the 1980s to viewers of a certain age. The main characters are both likable and unlikable at the same time but investing yourself in their lives and fates of them is not the hook the makers are hoping you hang your hat on. In fact, and this is not a criticism, if I had watched the film from the beginning without knowing anything about it all I would have guessed it was made around 1985 to the 1990s.
Much like those long-lost films of that time period, this film seems to dish out reasonably gruesome and very much bonkers deaths and bloodshed without it ever seeming unpleasant. Heads pop off and arms, liquefication, and bathtub loads of blood assail you regularly but unless you are young and should not be watching this film, or very sheltered and nervous, somehow this is just not going to really upset you and certainly not scare you.
The tone throughout is very light-hearted with the makers’ tongue rammed firmly in their cheek. For the nostalgic viewer this makes the entire film enjoyable in a completely ‘locked in the attic’ way.
The practical effects and costumes give the whole feel of the film as solid and real and although it means some protagonists seem a tad cumbersome and inelegant that is the charm of what you are watching. CGI and filming effects are amazing but often can be sterile.
The acting, whilst never getting into the awards territory, is perfect for what is placed in front of you. I loved the direction Mimi takes, basically a spoilt, horrible child, it can be said that Nita-Josee Hanna is very stage-school in her performance, I like to think it was what she was aiming for as brat-like and probably worse than, or at least as bad as, Pyscho Goreman in her personality. The parents are nowhere in the Disney ballpark, with the father lazy beyond belief and the mother just putting up with it. I liked them.
I also had a soft spot for the gang of Psycho Goreman’s opponents who reminded my forcible of Power Ranger baddies, albeit baddies whose actions had real-world consequences including death and blood, but as I have said before the film was better for it not worse.
We bumble along to the end, with the joke of Psycho Goreman being trapped under the control of a sociopathic little girl stretched out for too long but the story wraps up cleanly and neatly with again everything not quite ending up Hollywoodised.
Once more a plus point.
If you are looking for a truly terrifying horror story with gore-filled horrifying monsters then Pyscho Goreman is not the film for you. But if you used to watch the ‘churn them out by the week’ horror films of the video-filled eighties then I am convinced that this 21st-century film was made with you in mind and with a huge dose of nostalgic enthusiasm.
I could be wrong – but it is how I viewed the film and how I enjoyed it.
This sounds brilliant.
It’s all rather fun Chris, I guess like most films you have to be in the right mood but for me 1980s retro reminds me of my carefree VHS days with the video recorder I bought with my own money. Watching films whenever I liked *sigh*