Psycho Goreman is a sci-fi horror throwback about a pair of rambunctious kids that accidentally unleash an imprisoned alien warlord. Astron-6 director Steven Kostanski’s bloody homage cleverly subverts convention with gory practical effects paired with a wholesome family storyline. It’s a bloody whimsical romp that should please b-movie fans everywhere. RLJE brings the hunky boy home on Blu-ray with a solid A/V presentation and a slew of special features for fans of this gory yet hilariously demented movie. Recommended.
“Maybe in the afterlife you can be crowned the king of fools.”
Luke and Mimi (newcomers Owen Myre and Nita-Josee Hanna) are two young kids playing a radical game of Crazy Ball complete with nonsense rules in their muddy suburban backyard. While shoveling his own grave, as per the rules, Luke uncovers a glowing orb that Mimi rightfully takes as the winner of Crazy Ball. That night an alien warlord emerges from their backyard confused yet relieved. Referring to himself as “The Archduke of Nightmares” the nameless warrior was sent to Earth after a galactic council captured him before he could destroy the galaxy.
The kids follow tracks from their backyard to an abandoned shoe factory. The galactic warlord emerges and speaks his bloody predictions about their deaths before he is halted at the sight of a sassy Mimi. She pulls the glowing orb (The Gem of Praxidice to be exact) from her pocket and learns she has the power to control him. She bosses him around just like her introverted brother tormenting him constantly with not only renaming him to Psycho Goreman (PG for short) but also giving him meaningless tasks like clapping his hands. He cries out with “Soon you will beg me for mercy. But know that you will only receive pain!” Mimi tosses her hair and walks away with a skip in her step. As the kids play with their new alien warrior toy the Planetary Alliance is preparing to send their best warrior to finish the job.
Psycho Goreman is a Troma-inspired practical effects extravaganza that owes much to the kids-discovering-aliens sci-fi subgenre of the ’80s. Plenty of inspiration is drawn from Super Sentai, The Guyver, and the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Like the rules of Crazy Ball, the movie makes no sense at all but is so much fun to watch. Kostanski is a kid in a candy store limited by his imagination and his influences. Wish you had a Power Rangers movie with buckets of blood and gore? Here ya go. Even with the reference machine working overtime this movie only works well when supported by great performances which help move things along. I mean you can only watch so many decapitations before getting bored, right?
The performances are punchy and memorable especially from newcomer Nita-Josee Hanna as Mimi the little sister from hell. Owen Myre perfectly captures the frustration of being a timid kid caught in the crosshairs of a bratty sister. Astron-6 members Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney fill out supporting roles with plenty of laughs. Adam Brooks is Greg the ineffective yet charming father figure works so well to keep the story together. When the antics of a bratty Mimi bossing around PG and Luke seem to counter the film’s momentum you get an amazing scene with Greg about his ability to feed his family while wrecking the microwave. But also there is this sweet father/daughter angle that ends up tying the emotional stakes of the story together that should be hilarious but ends up surprisingly genuine.
The funniest moments of Psycho Goreman happen during the back and forth between Mimi and PG. When PG launches into some epic tale of bloody galactic battles and grand campaigns of destruction on bridges of light in galaxies unknown, Mimi interrupts with rescheduling karaoke night. The cut from stop-motion sci-fi battlefield to pre-teen with an attitude is hilarious. The cutesy jokes work easily for PG as Kostanski is willing to let the warrior act drop for just a moment to let the jokes land.
I admire the seemingly endless supply of gags, costumes, creatures, and bizarre sci-fi set pieces. The highlight of the film has got to be the flashback sequences featuring miniature work, green screen, creature effects, stop motion. Those familiar with Kostanski’s previous film Manborg will see similarities with the visual effects.
Without a doubt, Psycho Goreman keeps you on the edge of your seat with an endless supply of bloody insanity! Coupled with a fist-pumping soundtrack from Blitz Berlin I find it hard to believe that anyone remotely interested could be disappointed. However, If you have trouble lowering your standards to watch The Toxic Avenger or any other B-movie outing this will be tough to endure.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
The Blu-ray release of Psycho Goreman bathes in your blood thanks to the monsters at RLJE. The BD50 disc is housed in a typical keepcase with reversible artwork and a faux merchandise catalog that will rattle your puny existence into utter despair. The disc loads the logos for RLJE and Shudder then trailers for Spree, Wolf Cop, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot, Arizona, and finally Mayhem before landing on the Main Menu screen with scenes from the film playing behind typical navigation options.
Psycho Goreman arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p HD Image in 2.39:1. The transfer is clear and full of detail though a softness permeates the image replicating a late '80s horror film soaked in atmospheric layers. Black levels are deep though noise permeates the image during most nighttime scenes or in shadow. Fine detail is present in costuming from Pandora’s white foam constructed suit to PG’s iridescent glow highlighting his rough and spiky skin. Primaries are strong though a muted palette for most of the film evokes the VHS era vibe heavily. Interiors within Mimi’s house get a strong sense of color, detail, and depth allowing for the HD image to breathe without all that fog floating around everywhere. Scenes with effects work, practical or digital, relies upon a low-budget appearance for artistic effect that limits image depth and clarity.
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio mix confidently carries the weight of Blitz Berlin’s hard rock/metal scoring elements. Atmospherics dominate the surround channels flooding the experience with doom and gloom. Dialogue is recorded clear and clean with PG’s lower register voice keeping the LFE active constantly. Ominous textures fill the room making this DTS track lively and unrelenting. Musical elements are in constant demand offering a mix of speed metal, angelic power ballads, and late 80’s synth rock. Your young minds will carry this audio mix until it consumes you in a miserable death.
Psycho Goreman doesn’t disappoint in the special features department. Plenty of great featurettes here from cast interviews to miniature effects work. Start with the casual commentary track from director Steven Kostanski right after the feature to get you started.
Psycho Goreman will please horror fans who dig practical effects and buckets of blood spewing across the 9th dimension. Steven Kostanski’s twisted ode to horror sci-fi is loaded with memorable performances, outrageous creature effects, and a killer soundtrack. Audiences who are sold on the premise will love this entry into the Astron-6 cinematic universe. RLJE’s Blu-ray release of Psycho Goreman offers a solid A/V presentation and plenty of special features for fans of the film. Recommended.