If you’re only familiar with Steven Kotanski from his Lovecraftian horror flick The Void, then Psycho Goreman might be a case of cinematic whiplash. Leave any notions of gloom, terror, and dread at the door; the director’s latest is very much in the vein of previous work such as Manborg and the Troma-distributed Father’s Day. That means outrageous entertainment marinated in ‘80s nostalgia and relentless creativity drenched in the red stuff. Stir The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Power Rangers, the rubber-suited insanity of Zeiram and The Guyver in a Heavy Metal pot: that’s how you get the madcap family-adventure mayhem that is Psycho Goreman.

Kotanski wields a tight grip on tone from the first frames. A solemn opening crawl about the ancient galactic evil from planet Gigax, followed by tween siblings Luke and Mimi roughhousing in their idyllic backyard, immediately establishes what to expect from Psycho Goreman’s 95 minutes. It’s not long before the bickering brother and sister unearth a mysterious gem in their yard, granting them control over the eponymous being. Eons ago, this annihilator of worlds was imprisoned on Earth by his cosmic enemies, but his new reign of galactic destruction will have to wait. Mimi wants to play with her new friend.

In short, Psycho Goreman unfolds as a deranged funhouse reflection of ET, if that mirror was cracked and covered in viscera. Kotanski takes the familiar hallmarks of Amblin adventures and wrenches them into absurd parody. The young heroes are a bratty budding sociopath and her pushover partner-in-crime; Nita-Josee Hanna plays Mimi with such cute-crazy relish that she nearly steals the show from the galactic monster-man. The loving parents are a wildly dysfunctional pair whose abhorrence of each other is taken to out-of-this-world proportions. The pursuing authorities are certainly not men in black, but a tyrannical Templar space-angel with zero regard for organic lifeforms.

The archduke of nightmares is a wonderful horror-comedy creation. Matthew Ninaber wears the fleshy gnarled prosthetics, exuding a physicality that juggles unstoppable power and a befuddlement at Earthling ways. However, Steven Vlahos provides the voice, channeling the likes of Pinhead and Wishmaster’s Djinn with his booming promises of unimaginable suffering, a godly disdain for the siblings, and pitch-perfect comic timing. Together, the Psycho Goreman performance is a memorable centerpiece, as the towering head-tearing fiend plots to steal the gem from his innocent captors and perhaps learns the meaning of friendship along the way.

Eccentric characters and tweaked kid-adventure tropes create an atmosphere of wacky cartoon whimsy, careening from interstellar council meetings to chunky gore to epic space-opera lore cut short because it’s time to play Crazy Ball. The runtime is rife with body horror and rubber-suited villains ripped to shreds, filtered through the playfulness of Saturday morning programming. Psycho Goreman offers grisly bonkers fun for the whole family. Come for the practical-effects splatter, the puppeteered beasts and imaginative monsters, the kid’s show-meets-Troma spectacle. Stay for a heartwarming message about love, respect, and being responsible with your civilization-ending overlord from beyond the stars. And be sure to stick through the credits too!

Rife with body horror and rubber-suited villains ripped to shreds, filtered through the playfulness of Saturday morning programming, it offers grisly bonkers fun for the whole family.
80 %
Madcap mayhem
  • The Void

    No amount of cultural expertise can substitute novel thought. …

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