Siblings Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) couldn’t be any more different from each other. Luke is timid and shy. Mimi is a bit bossy, but hilarious in her own way. Their parents Greg (Adam Brooks) and Susan (Alexis Hancey) also have an interesting relationship. Greg appears lazy and affirms a lot of Mimi’s personality. Susan is the more mature presence of the two. After Mimi and Luke play a game they concocted together called “Crazy Ball,” Luke loses a bet to dig a hole in the backyard. It just so happens that on that night, they find a gem, but also unlocks a door to an unstoppable evil force. Psycho Goreman is a movie that wonders what would happen if a murderous, alien force was at the mercy of two pre-teen children. Director Steven Kostanski combines the well-done practical effects that were synonymous with 2016’s The Void with some light-hearted humor. It may feel like these themes wouldn’t mess, but the movie mixes the goofiness, dry humor, and gore into an enjoyable experience.
The small town that Mimi and Luke live within is like any Midwestern one that you can picture. Just small enough for an alien invasion. When the monster named “Arch-Duke of Nightmares” arrives, he quickly kills three thieves in brutal fashion. However, whoever yields the gem takes control of the monster as well. When the kids and the monster meet in an old shoe factory, they go through potential names that he ultimately rejects. Mimi and Luke settle on Psycho Goreman (Matthew Ninaber) (or PG for short) and the reluctant friendship/partnership begins.
Psycho Goreman equally touches on genres of horror, sci-fi, and comedy. There is a group of aliens called the “Planetary Alliance” and “The Templars” who commit to stopping PG’s reign of terror. An angel-winged eyeless one named Pandora (Kristen MacCulloch) is sent to Earth for this task. Opposing them would be PG’s own army, “The Paladins of Obsidian.” It may seem like Psycho Goreman is the antagonist, and he’s not altruistic in any sense of the word. But the aliens are evil in their own set of ways. The element of “my enemy of my enemy is my friend” comes into play.
Much of this movie works so well because of the difference in tone between each character. Psycho Goreman just has an all-encompassing mission to destroy everything, and much of his dialogue reflects that. While Luke is very uneasy about being around him, Mimi sees nothing wrong with it at all. It gets to where PG will divulge his murderous feelings and everybody tunes it out. For this to be made on a lower budget, the costumes for the aliens are elaborate and creative. Luke has a friend named Alastair (Scout Flint) who Mimi also has a crush on. As things get weirder, he tries to distance himself and at the behest of Mimi, PG turns him into a big brain. The town is so small where everybody is either afraid of confronting PG or weird things like the zombified slaves that he makes just feel at home. All because the movie embraces the weird and the sensible at the same time.
Musical numbers happen to break up conventional exposition telling. You’ll have scenes where they dress up PG in human clothing or try to get him to play a game that they made up. While it may feel as things are going into a regular “fish out of water” premise, Psycho Goreman subverts that in its own unique way. Towards the end, it feels as though everybody learns a lesson that’s heartwarming. The macabre element makes it funny. In one conversation, Mimi and Luke try to teach PG about love, and he retorts with, “like when you rip out someone’s spleen and give it to their grieving family?” The plot structure is evocative of what you would see in 90s shows like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers or VP Troopers, but with an R-rating, this is for the adults in the room.
It’s not 1982’s ET or even 1988’s Mac and Me where everything gets wrapped up in a nice, emotional bow. However, Psycho Goreman has its own sense of heart, a good slew of performances, and quirkiness that makes it stand out in all its b-horror glory.
Photo Credit: RLJE Films