GORE IN THE STORE
PSYCHO GOREMAN ****
Directed by Steven Kostanski.
Starring Nita-Josee Hanna, Owen Myre, Adam Brooks, Roxine Latoya Plummer.
Horror, Canada, 95 minutes, certificate 15.
Released in the UK 20th May on SHUDDER
PSYCHO GOREMAN opens with a credit crawl, the tried and tested method that kicked off many sci-fi, fantasy and horrors, particularly in the 1980’s. The likes of STAR WARS, BLADE RUNNER and HAWK THE SLAYER filled in dense back stories establishing such elements as world building, history and character back story for these fantastical tales and PSYCHO GOREMAN is no exception. Straight away the ominous voiceover and gothic text brings us up to speed with a story involving planet Gigax, “forces of light” and “the dark one” before ending with “certain doom for all existence.” Then we quickly cut to two mud caked children rolling around their back garden shouting and throwing balls at each other in a chaotic, nonsensical game with impenetrable rules.
With this quick edit the two seemingly unconnected scenes quickly set out the irreverent, carefree and whiplash tone for what is either the goriest kids’ film or the most childish horror ever made. The disparate elements are quickly thrown together when said kids; brash and obnoxious Mimi and her meek brother Luke unearth a mysterious gem that has been keeping an all powerful and monstrous being imprisoned for thousands of years. Said being, who is all too ready to resume a campaign of terror across the known universe, is surprised to discover that Mimi, who is unhinged in her own juvenile manner, has complete power over him with the help of the gem. Held back from indulging his genocidal nature, the newly christened Psycho Goreman, or PG for short, schemes to regain the gem and his independence before his enemies from the other side of the galaxy track him down.
Obviously, we are in eighties throwback territory here with a film that is obviously affectionate but delighted to indulge in ripping its influences to shreds. Director Steven Kostanski proves his versatility here after his previous and impressive melding of siege thriller and Lovecraftian horror in THE VOID. Goofy and irrelevant comedy sits comfortably alongside ambitious sci-fi/fantasy storytelling with a large number of imaginatively designed creatures and otherworldly planets. The mostly practical effects also call back to the 80’s and 90’s with a number of homages to films such as VIDEODROME, CLASH OF THE TITANS and THE GUYVER. Despite its low budget the imagination also runs into its world building, displaying an enthusiastic anything goes creativity that gives several large franchises a run for their money. We are treated to such sights as mecha-angels and a gang of alien outlaws calling themselves The Paladins Obsidian among nods to kaiju and the occasional clothes shopping montage.
Such geekery stops itself from becoming indulgent thanks to the dark streak of humour that is front and centre throughout. The cast succeed with the films often daft nature, particularly Adam Brooks as the siblings’ father who is always on hand to dish out staggeringly dangerous and outrageous parental advice. As Mimi, Nit Josee-Hanna may come across as overbearing to some but she otherwise succeeds in portraying an outrageous and sociopathic character who is equal parts Pippi Longstocking and Eric Cartman.
Low in budget but high in ambition PSYCHO GOREMAN will no doubt appeal to those whose childhood favourites hail from the 80’s and 90’s. Fans of surreal humour will no doubt find this a cult in the making too. The thought that young children today might inadvertently come across this and in the process make Psycho Goreman a future twisted, family classic is an appealing one. In the meantime, for those of us who are actually allowed to watch such twisted gore and mayhem the hope of a sequel or whatever Kostanski and his talented collaborators come up with next is an even more enticing one.