[Interview] 'Psycho Goreman' Director Steven Kostanski Discusses the Film's Inspirations and Potential for a Sequel!
Psycho Goreman has finally arrived to blow your puny human mind to shreds...
...Today, director Steven Kostanski, the man behind films such as The Void, Leprechaun Returns, and Manborg, has unleashed his latest creation, Psycho Goreman. In my opinion, it's his best work yet (read my review here).
Kostanski is known for horror films loaded with gooey practical effects, and in Psycho Goreman, which follows a little girl and her brother who accidentally awaken an ancient evil after acquiring a gem that can control the creature, Kostanski has outdone himself and then some.
I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with the passionate director to discuss the film's inspirations, what he aimed to achieve with Psycho Goreman, and whether or not we can expect a sequel! Give it a read below, and do not miss what I'm already calling one of the best horror films of the year.
Killer Horror Critic: This may sound like a strange thing to say, but with how chaotic the world is right now, I’m really glad Psycho Goreman is coming out in this moment. It’s the sort of fun, uplifting film I feel like we need more of right now.
Steven Kostanski: Well that’s very nice of you to say and I hope that people have fun with it, because that’s all I wanted to do, is make a fun movie that I felt was missing in our cinematic catalogue right now. We’re in a pretty cynical age of movies and TV and I just wanted to make something where you would have a smile on your face. It’s a nice change of pace.
KHC: Oh, for sure, I’m right there with you. We do need more movies like this these days. There’s a scene early on in the film that I really enjoy where Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) are bouncing around ideas between each other over naming Psycho Goreman (Matthew Ninaber), and I could just feel all of your excitement for the idea coming through in that moment. How was Psycho Goreman conceived?
SK: It came from a few different things. I had some ideas floating around in my head for a while, the main one being a monster sitting at a drum set, which was a thing I had in my head for years. One day I was watching ‘Rawhead Rex’ and kinda ripping on that idea in my head, because I liked the initial concept of an ancient evil being resurrected, this ancient god-like evil. In my head I just started having this riff, like what if you pair that with an ‘E.T.’ scenario where he meets up with some kids and they’re going on these family friendly adventures, but there’s still an evil monster killing people the whole time? That made me laugh, and I just kept coming up with scenarios that fed into that premise. It was so absurd, I just kept trying to top myself, like how much crazier can this story get, while still embracing the low-budget tropes of these types of movies. I’m a big fan of stuff like ‘Masters of the Universe’, where it’s like, they want to be these big movies but they have to shoot on a suburban street most of the time, so you have fantastical characters in really mundane locations. I wanted to emulate that spirit.
"I’m a big fan of stuff like ‘Masters of the Universe’, where it’s like, they want to be these big movies but they have to shoot on a suburban street most of the time, so you have fantastical characters in really mundane locations. I wanted to emulate that spirit."
KHC: Well I think you achieved that perfectly. I also really love the work that Masters FX did for the film.
SK: We did the build out of their shop and a bunch of their artists worked on it, but a big chunk of the work was done by me, my assistant Chloe Houseley and one of the producers also chipped in, Jesse Kristensen. He basically became an FX artist on the movie because I needed the extra hand. It was a lot of late nights of us cobbling creatures together
KHC: You had mentioned Rawhead Rex and there’s such a wide variety of creature designs in the film that I just adored. Aside from Rawhead Rex, what were some of the inspirations for the designs, in particular Psycho Goreman and the Templars themselves?
SK: I pulled inspiration from a lot of different places but I think the biggest influence was the Japanese ‘Super Sentai’ shows. I’ve found most creature designs from Japanese cinema to be really inspiring. ‘Guyver 2’ was a big inspiration too, which I feel like also pulls from Anime. I feel like it’s a thing we’re not really seeing in movies anymore, especially in North America. I’m generally pretty bored by the creature designs in modern movies. I wanted something that was fun and cool and exciting. I wanted it to feel like the ‘Power Rangers’. It’s really been liberating to come up with these creatures because it was more about making them iconic and less about convincing the audience that this was a real thing. I feel like in a way they became more unsettling and more uncanny because a lot of them are static, you know, they don’t feel real and there’s just something bizarrely off about them.
KHC: Yeah, you know something I really admire about that is that you lean as heavily into practical FX as possible and we would probably both agree you don’t see quite that level of that in modern horror, so why is it that you enjoy doing that, and what are some of the challenges? If I had to guess, there’s maybe only a handful of shots in the film that are not FX shots.
SK: Yeah, I know, that’s my problem is that I’m way too ambitious with my stories. I don’t think about the consequences, I don’t think about the fact that I have to build these things. I get so passionate about this stuff, I can’t hold back. I just always want to make these movies that are crammed as full of as much stuff as possible. All my movies have that where I just want to deliver on the promise of the poster art. That was part of the fun of being a kid and going to the video store is you’d look at the cover and imagine the stuff behind that and a lot of times it didn’t deliver. With ‘PG’ I wanted to live up to that promise. I wanted to give people a movie that had as much spectacle as the initial cover and the trailer promised. I did not want to cheat people. I wanted them to really get their monies worth out of this movie.
"I wanted to give people a movie that had as much spectacle as the initial cover and the trailer promised. I did not want to cheat people. I wanted them to really get their monies worth out of this movie."
KHC: I love that. Is there any interest in returning for a Psycho Goreman part two if this does well?
SK: You better believe I want to make more ‘PG’. I don’t know exactly what yet, but we’re going to figure something out, so stay tuned, because there’s lots to explore in the ‘PG’ universe.
KHC: Absolutely. Well thank you so much Steven for chatting with me. Can’t wait for this to come out. I think Psycho Goreman is going to be a nice burst of fun and a good distraction for everyone with everything going on these days.
SK: Thank you very much, it was great talking to you.
Psycho Goreman is now available in theaters, on Demand and Digital from RLJE Films.
By Matt Konopka