Psycho Goreman is what happens when a ten-year-old absorbs every episode of Power Rangers, a ton of mid-80s Saturday morning cartoons and their older brother’s video nasty collection, downs several bags of skittles and then rattles off everything they can remember in one, long, rainbow-vomit filibuster of stupidly violent fun. It’s an absolute delight.
Writer/Director Steven Kostanski earns his bread and butter as a make-up and prosthetics artist, having plyed his trade on shows like Star Trek Discovery and Hannibal, with his movie CV including Suicide Squad and Crimson Peak. You get the impression he spends his time on those sets fantasising about what he could do with all of those monsters, all of that spare latex, all of that gore, if someone just gave him a camera and the keys to the costume shop. Luckily, every once in a while, someone does. Thus we have Psycho Goreman, his latest feature, co-produced by a host of fellow low budget gorehounds, and exec’d by Michael Pazt, who also brought us 2015’s excellent Turbo Kid, another fantasy adventure that expertly trod the brilliant/stupid line all the way to splattercore fun-town.
Like Turbo Kid, what makes Psycho Goreman work is a mix of childish innocence (there’s no swearing for example) and needlessly excessive ultraviolence. Two siblings, bolshy younger sister Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and her put-upon brother Luke (Owen Myre) accidentally exhume the body of an intergalactic evil overlord, entombed on Earth millenia ago, and the magical amulet that controls him, while digging a massive hole in their garden for fun. Mimi quickly realises that possession of the amulet gives her absolute control over the limitless cosmic powers of the purple, gill-faced monster she soon names Psycho Goreman, and uses him to casually (and colourfully) dismember anyone who happens to annoy her, much to the growing frustration of her older brother.
There’s a delightfully bonkers space-opera plot involving the angelic arch-enemies of the newly-named Goreman and the lieutenants he left behind, culminating in a savage battle for the universe which takes place in a suburban warehouse and involves someone’s mum. It’s a plot straight out of He-Man, punctuated with gleefully imaginative, deliciously low-budget and satisfyingly spectacular deaths.
There’s plenty to enjoy here. The script is dumb in a way that only one written by very smart, very sharp people can be, and the prosthetics and practical effects are tons of visceral fun, though the digital side of things occasionally betrays the shoestring budget, fortunately not to any massive detriment to the film. Perhaps the best surprise of all is newcomer Nita-Josee Hanna, who kills it (often literally) as the bossy, power-mad little girl given the ability to deal inventive death at will.
I hope people never stop making films like Psycho Goreman. We need movie experiences this glorious, splattery, stupid, funny, ridiculous, kind of awful and completely joyous. Probably best enjoyed in a popcorn-flinging midnight fleapit, but nearly as much fun caught at home.