The ultimate evil in the galaxy has met his match.
After siblings Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) challenge one another to a homemade game they call “Crazy Ball,” they accidentally uncover the tomb of an ancient evil (Matthew Ninaber) imprisoned for millions of years before and, of course, release it. The broken seal is detected on the opposite side of the galaxy, where an alien being known as Pandora (Kristen MacCulloch) vows to destroy the beast once and for all. Back on Earth, the siblings track the evil overlord to an abandoned building littered with fresh victims… just in time for Mimi to discover the power she has over the creature — to its utter dismay. As if being used any way she sees fit wasn’t humiliating enough, the siblings also christen it with what they think is a cool new name: Psycho Goreman… PG for short.
Looking a bit like a Roger Corman 1970s throwback production moved up to the early 1990s, the trailer inexplicably promises middle school hi-jinks with buckets of blood and gore — a film featuring kids that is decidedly not for kids. When he’s not doing makeup and effects for films like Crimson Peak and Suicide Squad, writer/director Steven Kostanski makes his own movies any way he can. The imaginative visuals suggests he thinks in terms of what practical effects he can get away with first before building stories around them. All told, how much fun can a bloody unrated nihilistic family film be?
Couple the plot of “The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy” with a Troma Entertainment remake of “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers,” and you’ve got a idea how off the rails this thing is. Imagine the original Critters films with a variety of new creatures but fewer production values. Deliberately looking like the coolest bad-guy action figure any 1980s kid could want, the title character is equal parts overpowered slayer and foiled victim, suffering at the hands of kids without conscience to do their ridiculous bidding. While the needlessly graphic shenanigans may turn off some viewers, fans of old-school horror comedy will both cheer and groan at this sci-fi fantasy cheese-fest and its cast of costumed alien warlords worthy of a midnight matinee.
Taking a cue from Chiodo Bros. fare like Killer Klowns from Outer Space, all the cash is in the creatures and the script is fully self-aware. Discussing more about what to expect would be spoilery at best, but with a compact runtime of just over ninety minutes, Psycho Goreman doesn’t overstay his welcome, although the kid actors run right up to that line. The creature designs are pure joy and imagination, from full-body prosthetics to simple mechanical puppets and everything in between. Better cinematography could have shown off the aliens to the degree the deserve to be seen; unfortunately, a lot of the film is too dark in places, visually static, and trapped inside claustrophobic sets to block out what can’t be shown off-camera. Making up for it are some fun practical models for the green screen flashback scenes, and the film extras have hours of details getting the movie in the can no matter what the obstacle.
While not as violent or over-the-top as Willy’s Wonderland, it’s like discovering episodes of a cancelled local-access children’s program because show runners were blissfully unaware how inappropriately graphic it was. Like any show of the era, expect a denouement with a positive message about love and family… which goes exactly how you’d expect considering the body count. Who knows? If it gets enough love, maybe they could get away with making Psycho Goreman 2: Screaming Mimi… and when you speak of me, speak highly.
Psycho Goreman is unrated for bloody horror violence, gore, and receiving a much-deserved warrior’s death.
Three skull recommendation out of four