Bow down to the intergalactic hunky boy that is Psycho Goreman…
…By now, you’ve likely heard of Psycho Goreman (PG for short), writer/director Steven Kostanski’s bloody gift from beyond the stars, which RLJE Films is releasing this week on a Blu-ray disc overflowing with the power of the Arch Duke of Nightmares (probably so some execs can avoid having their spines ripped out by the hulking monster). A homage to Saturday morning cartoons but with some casual ultra-violence thrown in, Psycho Goreman has already staked a claim as one of the heckin’ best genre offerings of the year, and this disc is a worthy tribute to our dark lord and savior from boredom.
In the film, bossy little girl Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and her spineless brother Luke (Owen Myre) discover a powerful gem that just happens to control the most evil, skull-crushing, sadistic villain in the universe, whom Mimi promptly renames Psycho Goreman (Matthew Ninaber), because that’s way cooler. A bit of a psycho herself and in need of a friend to match, Mimi ignores the danger of getting on PG’s nerves, forcing him to become her best friend, all while PG plots on how to get a hold of the gem and destroy every living thing in the universe. Oh, and there just so happens to be an intergalactic warrior known as Pandora (Kristen MacCulloch), sent on a mission by the Gigax Council to come to Earth and stop PG by any means necessary.
Cue ninety minutes of pure, unfiltered joy incarnate.
If you’ve seen any of Kostanski’s work, you should have a decent idea of the kind of absurdity you should expect from Psycho Goreman, and Kostanski frequently makes note of that during the commentary. Co-director of The Void and director of Manborg and Leprechaun Returns, Kostanski understands his brand of filmmaking well, and that brand is, well, dumb for the sake of dumb. During the commentary, in which Kostanski offers a wide array of rich details and explanations of epic-sounding moments that were cut due to budget, he says “at some point I have to dial back the stupid to make something resembling a movie.” You’ll hear phrases like “go full stupid” frequently from him, but going “full stupid” is a big part of what makes Psycho Goreman such a blast.
This film is a frenzy of hilarious stupidity. Kostanski has outdone himself with Psycho Goreman in every way possible, especially with the dumb.
From the minute Psycho Goreman is introduced, ripping the heads off of two unfortunate bums in a torrent of blood, Kostanski sets the stage for an eye-popping gorefest that never lets up. This film features all of the bone-breaking, gut-busting, intestine-ripping, face-ripping, body-melting carnage you could possibly ask for. To say Psycho Goreman lives up to its title would be an understatement. Psycho Goreman transports viewers to an all new plane of violent wonder. And ninety-nine percent of it is done with glorious practical effects that will blow your puny, human mind, effects that Kostanski and various featurettes give a great behind the scenes look at. If you weren’t aware before, Kostanski makes damn clear how important the effects are to him in his work.
But it isn’t just the gore that stands out. Kostanski and the team at Masters FX have put together an assortment of creature creations with so much detail and care that we just don’t see enough of in modern horror. From the vaguely Rawhead Rex inspired Psycho Goreman to the anime-styled nightmarish “angels” the Templars from which Pandora descends, a council of various alien races hunting PG and even a giant brain blob, Psycho Goreman is a creature feature in every sense of the term. As Kostanski explains on the disc, his goal was to recapture the vibe of shows like Power Rangers, which featured goofy fights with the Rangers kicking rubber-suit monster butt in grassy fields or backyards. There hasn’t been a film that feels more 90s than Psycho Goreman in a long time, and it’s all the better for it.
But floods of gore and an array of badass creatures do not by themselves make a good movie (or do they?), and that’s where the cast and ultimate heart of Psycho Goreman comes in. Mimi and PG, two evil beings driven by chaos but who are maybe a bit misunderstood, is a relationship that is beyond endearing. As a bit of a brat completely lacking in empathy, Mimi walks a tightrope between fun and outright obnoxious, yet Hanna plays the role perfectly with attention-grabbing energy. For every moment that Mimi is a bit of an ass, there’s another where she stands up to PG and bosses him around, unafraid of the consequences, and there’s something so satisfying, cathartic even, in watching this little girl bully a bully. Kostanski also somehow finds a way to make us want to hug PG the same way we might want to hug E.T., whom the character’s name was inspired by. Sure, he’s a malevolent monster that will literally devour you whole the first chance he gets, but PG turning down a magazine from Mimi and saying “I do not like hunky boys…or do I?”, is already a line that has found its way into iconic status since the film’s release. Every cast member interviewed on the disc expresses a love and adoration for the project, and that all shines through as bright as the Gem of Praxidike in the film.
At the heart of Psycho Goreman is an unexpected warmth that cements it as a truly special love letter to 90s cartoons. The relationships of PG, Mimi, Luke and their always fighting parents Greg (Adam Brooks) and Susan (Alexis Kara Hancey) give the film a rare heart that you’d almost never see in such a wildly gruesome film, but it’s a big part of what gives it that cartoon flavor. Typical to 90s cartoons, there’s even somewhat of a lesson to be learned by the end, which is that we’re all flawed. Some of us can even be monsters, big and little. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a heart. Psycho Goreman would be happy to rip yours out and show you.
Psycho Goreman is Kostanski’s crowning achievement. As he mentions, it’s everything that kid Steven ever wanted in a film. It’s a movie with heart and soul that is as funny as it is bloody, without an ounce of cynicism to be found, all of which is carried over to the special features.
Special features seem to be a dying art unless distributed through boutique labels these days, but I get the sense that Kostanski made a push to make this disc one that collectors will worship. Aside from Steven’s bountiful commentary of knowledge, we also get mock character interviews, with Matthew Kennedy inhabiting his character of Kortex and talking about his passionate obsession over Pandora and her big…boots…Adam Brooks getting interviewed by a stuffed penguin, and tons of behind the scenes footage that fans will want to rip into. It’s almost as if PG tore open the souls of the filmmakers and poured whatever was inside into this disc, there is so much love and care put into it.
Don’t make the mistake of passing up on this must-own disc, or PG will surely be inclined to ask you to frig off while grinding your bones into dust. Okay? Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
Psycho Goreman comes to Blu-ray/DVD on March 16th from RLJE Films. Check out the full list of special features below!
By Matt Konopka
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