Director: Steve Kostanski
Starring: Nita-Josee Hanna, Matthew Ninaber, Reece Presley, Rick Amsbury, Kristen MacCulloch, Matthew Kennedy, Owen Myre, Timothy Paul McCarthy, Conor Sweeney, Robert Homer, Anna Tierney, and Adam Brooks.
Run Time: 94mins
To say PG: Psycho Goreman is a curious mixture would be an understatement. Having, as it does, an equal parts 90s Saturday morning cartoon vibe and a gory midnight movie madness vibe. Imagine a feature length Power Rangers episode spliced with The Toxic Avenger or maybe Guyver and you are some way there. Then again, given director’s Steven Kostanski previous Astron 6’s outings such as Manborg and Father’s Day mad genre mash-ups are kind of his specialty.
Kostanski’s other specialty is great practical effects. Whether on his own projects (The Void, Leprechaun Returns) or big blockbusters (Crimson Peak, Suicide Squad) he always comes up with great stuff. And while he does not provide creature effects here, they are typically excellent. Particularly the design of the titular character Psycho Goreman (Matthew Ninaber/voice: Steven Vlahos) who is a rubbery delight who will hit a special nostalgia button for anyone who grew up with the various Power Ranger’s series. Not to say his many alien foes are not inventively designed too, but Goreman is the star (in all regards).
Not that he was always called that. No, he was bestowed that name by Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) who along with her meek brother Luke (Owen Myre) after being thoroughly unimpressed by his former moniker “The Archduke of Nightmare.” PG, you see, is an ancient intergalactic evil who Mimi and Luke accidentally free. Luckily, they curb his plans to destroy all existence in the galaxy because Mimi holds the gemstone, which means he has to do her bidding. Not so luckily, Mimi is a bit of a self-obsessed psychopath.
Plot-wise there is not a great deal going on here. Sure we get a perfunctory tragic, comic book villain backstory and there is a subplot about a warrior alien called Pandora (Kristen MacCulloch/voice: Anna Tierney), the latter giving the movie something of a Suburban Commando vibe, but that is about it. No, the real meat of the movie is elsewhere, mainly the fun antagonistic relationship between PG and the kids or more specifically PG and Mimi who spark off one another wonderfully. The other focus is gore gags, of which there is many and are a frequent joy.
The most curious aspect about the film is none of this should really work because there is shouldn’t be anybody to root for. PG is an unrepentant evil monster set on destroying the universe, Mimi is completely self-centred and bullies everyone around her and even “warrior of light” Pandora is the figurehead of an alien slave-owning religious sect who think they are superior to all other alien races. At one point Mimi say’s “It a battle between evil and even worse evil.” And she ain’t wrong.
Despite all that, Psycho Goreman rarely fails to be charming and even manages to be downright warm-hearted at times, bizarre though that may sound. This is down to the sheer giddy glee Kostanki injects proceeding with as well as the outstanding performances by Hanna and Ninaber/Vlahos which make you root for Mimi and PG despite yourself. It should be pointed out though that mileages may vary on this and you may struggle if you do not find Hanna’s performance as charming and adorable as this reviewer.
It is only unfortunate that most of the other characters don’t register so strongly, although fellow Astron 6’er Adam Brooks gives a wonderfully oddball turn as Mimi and Luke’s layabout father.
There are also times where you might like a bit more narrative cohesion rather than the film’s more scattergun approach, where we hurtle from one gory set piece to the next. Sometimes it comes to resemble an ultra-bloody sketch show. On the flipside, the films riotous madcap nature is entirely part of its charm.
Overall: For anyone who has a nostalgia for early 90s kids action shows and likes there horror gory and self-referential then this should go down a storm. It is frequently hilarious, inventively gory, has some wonderful creature effects and is surely destined for cult classic status.
PG: Psycho Goreman is out On Demand and Digital in Canada and USA on January 22nd. A UK release date has yet to be announced.