It’s that time of the year again. The month of October is upon us. So to celebrate, we at Full Circle Cinema put together another curated, month-long series with Screen Screams. This year, we will be checking our clocks as we wait in anticipation for the forbidden delight we call “the midnight movie”. And with midnight movies comes a variety of projects that are perhaps too niche for the masses. Today, it’s time to cover a recent example of gruesome fun: Psycho Goreman.
With a special effects background working on films like It, Suicide Squad, and Crimson Peak, it’s clear that a film directed by Steven Kostanski would be messy fun. Psycho Goreman certainly delivers with sequence after sequence of gut-smashing special makeup effects work.
Anchored by two young-leading performances from Nita-Josee Hanna and Owen Myre, Psycho Goreman is a splendid combination of the macabre and the innocent. Siblings Mimi and Luke accidentally uncover an imprisoned intergalactic mercenary alongside the powerful stone that can control him. After dubbing the creature “Psycho Goreman,” the siblings take on the hulking beast as a friend and servant. Meanwhile, the species of alien creatures that enslaved “PG” are on the hunt for their escaped prisoner.
What makes Psycho Goreman so fantastic is the sheer amount of gore and dismemberment that occurs around the film’s young stars. Victims are turned inside out, transformed into giant brain hybrids, and melted from the inside out. And keep in mind, all this happens in front of the surprisingly unfazed Mimi and Luke. One highlight involves the Goreman mutating an unlucky police officer into a corpse-like creature. For the next few scenes, the zombie officer trudges along with the film’s main characters. Occasionally, they fire the pistol merged with the sickly skin on his hand. It’s such a morbid visual gag that lasts for way longer than you’d expect.
One of the most impressive things about Kostanski is his ability to create original, extensive lore via costume design. One key sequence in the film involves a team of intergalactic hunters coming to Earth to re-capture Psycho Goreman. Each of these creatures – despite being in merely one scene – has extremely unique visual DNA. A trash-can structured menace is fueled by an excess amount of blood and guts, only defeated when his glass container is shattered, spilling his insides all over.
Another creature is seemingly crafted out of tombstone pieces. The Goreman defeats this monstrosity by opening up his tombstone chest and removing a strangely placed red rose. Each of these characters looks and acts as if they come from distinct worlds and species. As a result, it further expands the outer universe of Kostanski’s creepy little film.
Despite its outlandish genre elements, Psycho Goreman still manages to retain a character-driven arc between the protagonist’s family. There’s a clear strain between Mimi and Luke’s parents which ends up merging with the battle between the Goreman and his adversaries. In the end, like all happy horror stories, the family realizes their bond is the strongest thing they have finally coming together in the face of evil.
The mixture of the childlike issues and the planet-threatening plot makes for a wonderful hybrid of storytelling. Mimi and Luke’s wild imagination becomes the deciding factor between the fate of the planet, forcing the Goreman and his adversary to play their game “Crazy Ball.” Calling back to one of the film’s opening scenes, this final “battle” brings the youthful wonder of Kostanski’s world full circle.
Horror isn’t Psycho Goreman‘s only strong suit as the film is wonderfully comedic. Mimi’s father Greg (Adam Brooks) offers some of the film’s most hilarious gags. His dry personality, flat line delivery, and general obliviousness make him one of the funniest characters in the movie. While he serves as a joke-deliverer for the first half of the movie, he becomes a key part of the film’s explosive final act. He even manages to have somewhat of an arch with his wife Susan (Alexis Kara Hancey).
In a time when science fiction and horror can be extremely sophisticated and layered with powerful metaphors, it’s always a treat to sit back and indulge in some digestible, heartfelt, blood-splattered, and downright charming ghoulish fun. – Noah Levine
Psycho Goreman is available on Blu-ray and Digital HD.