A spectacular breath of fresh air, PSYCHO GOREMAN genuinely feels like it might have fallen through a space/ time wormhole from a video rental store in the late eighties. Writer/ Director Steven Kostanski’s movie is a deliriously joyful, comically grisly callback to the likes of E.T. – THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL, EXPLORERS, FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR and THE GATE.
When squabbling siblings Mimi and Luke accidentally resurrect a slumbering alien warlord, The Arch-Duke of Nightmares, imprisoned on Earth millions of years previously as punishment for attempting to destroy the universe, Mimi discovers that the amulet she discovered gives her complete control over him. Renaming him Psycho Goreman (or PG for short), she quickly harnessing Psycho Goreman’s phenominal cosmic powers for her own agenda although Mimi is oblivious to the fact that Psycho Goreman’s restoration has drawn the attention of an alliance of galactic foes and they’re headed straight for the small town of where Mimi and Luike live to fight the final battle for the fate of the galazi.
It’s rare for cult movie status to be so obviously courted and yet so richly deserved by PSYCHO GOREMAN hits that sweet spot between comedy, B-movie scif-fi tropery and gleefully gloopy practical effects gore horror. Packed with smart references, knowing nods to genre classics and a deliciously dark sense of humour, the movie packs a lot into ninety-five minute run time. Its genius is in subverting the ubiquitous eighties concept of child discovering and protecting an alien visitor by acknowledging that the vast majority of kid characters in these kinds of movies were obnoxious brats and exploring what would happen if both child and alien were sociopaths.
The film’s crazy premise is held together by strong and likeable performances from the two characters who should, by any definition, be the least likeable people on the screen. Mimi is a nightmare of a little sister yet Nita-Josee Hanna plays her with such an irresistible charisma that no matter how mean-spirited her actions are, you can’t help but root for her. Likewise, Matthew Ninaber’s Psycho Goreman (voiced by Steven Vlahos) is a wonderfully nuanced creation, full of cosmic fury and yet humbled and strangely intrigued by his pint-sized prison keeper. There’s something of the giddy nonsense of MIGHTY MORPHIN’ POWER RANGERS about the creature design but ay-ay-ay the Rangers never had to deal with the likes of PG and his alien pals.
Goofy, full of heart and unafraid to embrace its own silliness, the biggest disappointment around PSYCHO GOREMAN is that it missed out on being seen in theatres with a raucous late-night movie crowd. It’s available to stream on Shudder, which is a blessing because this is one of those titles that, were it around in the glory days of eighties VHS rental stores, would have been constantly out on loan with a waiting list a mile long.