Moving Pictures
Jan 22, 2021, 06:27AM

Passion of the Schlock

PG: Psycho Goreman is hoot of a horror movie. A-

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Here's a hoot of a movie, an elaborate homage to 1980s shlock horror that's both gory and hilarious. PG: Psycho Goreman was directed by Canadian Steven Kostanski of the Canadian filmmaking collective Astron-6. It was made with a low budget, and features costumes and special effects that seem heavily influenced by the villains from the old Power Rangers TV series. The film has a similar eye for 1980s detail as Stranger Things, it's just grabbing at different influences, while going much further over the top. The plot of PG: Psycho Gorman resembles E.T: The Extra Terrestrial, if E.T. had been a 7-foot-tall alien demon with a murderous streak, and designs on taking over the world.

Nita-Josée Hanna and Owen Myre star as Mimi and Luke, a couple of suburban pre-teens who, playing in their yard one day, accidentally awaken the titular alien warlord, who's played physically by Matthew Ninaber and voiced by Steven Vlahos. The monster, after executing several brutal killings, threatens the children, but they control a special gem that keeps him from hurting them. This movie does a much better job integrating an all-powerful magical gem into its plot than the recent Wonder Woman 1984. It also helps that the girl, Mimi, is fearless at all times.

The kids give him the nickname "Psycho Goreman—he'd prefer "Archduke of Nightmares”—and it soon becomes apparent that the big blue guy is part of a much larger inter-dimensional proxy battle, fought by a massive counsel of bizarrely-costumed fellow monsters. The backstory of this war, is complete gobbledygook, but at least it's entertaining gobbledygook.

The film is full of wonderful little touches. Like a cop who turns into a zombie, and starts firing his gun indiscriminately. And a kid sidekick, who turns into a brain-like blob. Gore fans will spot the various influences, from Power Rangers to The Toxic Avenger to what I'm guessing are other vintage and obscure Canadian horror films.

In keeping up the 1980s verisimilitude, there’s also a synthesizer-heavy, 80s-like score, and a rap, done over the closing credits, that recaps the plot of the movie. PG: Psycho Goreman was supposed to debut at South by Southwest last spring, before the festival was cancelled, though it played at some virtual festivals throughout 2020. It had a late-night drive-in screening at the Philadelphia Film Festival last October. 

The film hits VOD on Friday, and since Shudder is on board, expect it to land on that streaming service eventually as well, continuing their recent strong run. If you can get on its weird, weird wavelength, PG: Psycho Goreman will likely bring you more laughs than any comedy in recent memory.


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