* Editor’s note – PG: Psycho Goreman is being released physically on Blu-ray by Acorn Media International in association with Shudder, so I’m reposting Andrew’s on-point review of the film and adding my own thoughts on the extra features included on the disc
Directed by: Steven Kostanski
Written by: Steven Kostanski
Starring: Nita-Josee Hanna, Owen Myre, Matthew Ninaber, Steven Vlahos
Running time: 95mins
BBFC Classification: 15
Arriving with a truckload of hype, a wicked fun trailer and coming from the director of Manborg and The Void, Psycho Gorman has pretty much already reached fanboy/cult euphoria. Thankfully is lives up to its rep and delivers twisted comedy and impressive prosthetic/gore effects by the bucketload.
After they discover a mystical gem in their backyard, siblings Mimi (Hanna) and Luke (Myre) soon realise they now control an evil alien who is hellbent on destroying, well, everybody and everything. Naming him Psycho Gorman (or PG for short), the pair figure it’s pretty cool to have a monster to control and thus they do what any pint-sized masters would do: teach PG to control his murderous rage, introduce him to burgers, take him clothes shopping and use him for various silly games. Much to PG’s chagrin, he’s bound to their will, but when his mortal enemies get word he’s resurrected they come to earth to fight him and try to capture the gem for themselves. Much gory insanity ensues.
Special effects whizz Steven Kostanski goes for a slightly lighter tone after the darkness of The Void but amps up the weirdness, the creative creature creations, and still delivers buckets of gore. A sort of adult version of Power Rangers by way of GWAR (and little bit of the ace Star Kid), Psycho Gorman goes full tilt with the black comedy and gnarly gory set-pieces. The character of Psycho Gorman is a hoot, determined to destroy everything and with every word he utters being something about “bathing in blood, eternal pain, sending everyone to oblivion” makes it even more hilarious when he’s shackled by two youngsters and forced to play nice. The PG make up is fantastic as is the assortment of creations and creatures that feature throughout, Kostanski and crew stuffing the film with amazing prosthetic monsters.
In addition, there’s a darkly twisted comic streak throughout with Mimi and her family being just as screwed up and weird as any of the alien creatures. Not least Mimi, who is a borderline psycho herself! Pushy, manic, hyper, and sometimes downright mean, she’s not always the most likeable character (and will no doubt irk some!) but certainly adds to the novel vibe of the film, is often hilarious, and is played with full on energy by Nita-Josee Hanna. As mentioned, the character and the humour may not be to everyone’s taste as it is perhaps laid on a little thick at times (a joke about the weird dodgeball-like game Mimi has created and is obsessed with, perhaps stretched to breaking point!) meaning that sometimes proceedings are focused a little too much on the humour and family aspects when really, we all want more PG fighting crazy looking monsters.
Mercifully, there is still plenty of that, oodles of gore and silly fight scenes, meaning Psycho Gorman is a creative blast dripping with monster carnage and Kostanski’s particular brand of creative madness.
No doubt destined for immortal cult status.
PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN is available to stream on SHUDDER and has also been released physically on Blu-ray by Acorn Media International in association with Shudder.
The Blu-ray looks great with the film’s bold neon splashes coming through nicely. I found the dialogue a bit low in the mix on the audio though, meaning I had to really crank up the volume to hear what was going on. The rest of my family weren’t too happy about that.
There are plenty of special features included on the disc:
– Director’s Commentary
– Interviews with Cast and Crew
– Fight Choreography
– The Music of PG
– Behind the Scenes Featurette
– Concept Art Gallery
– PG: Psycho Goreman Trading Cards Gallery
– Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery
Steven Kostanski goes solo on his commentary but never runs out of steam, providing a mountain of behind-the-scenes information about how everything was cobbled together. He tells it all with passion and humour too, so the track is a pleasure to listen to and exactly what you want from a low budget movie commentary.
Kostanski also has a chance to discuss his idea behind the film and the production process in an interview. There’s a little crossover with the commentary, but it’s still a great addition to the set.
Alex Chung discusses the fight choreography in his interview, particularly the inspirations the film makes nods to. Linked to this is a fight scene pre-viz featurette that was better than expected. It’s interesting to see how they planned out the action and how it would be shot, doing a run-through in a gym without the costumes on.
Elsewhere on the disc, you get some wonderful behind-the-scenes footage and interviews from the actual shooting of key action scenes too. It’s great to see how they achieved some of the practical effects and it never ceases to amuse me seeing people in ridiculous monster makeup just hanging around at work.
Blitz//Berlin speak about their work on the soundtrack too. They seem to have been thrilled to work on the throwback score and discuss their approach to different sequences.
The combined cast and crew interview featurette is a little EPK-like for my tastes, but it’s still pretty fun. On top of this, there’s also an amusing, presumably improvised in-character commentary with one of the alien council members.
The separate Adam Brooks interview is fun too and is quirkily presented with a stuffed toy asking the questions.
The piece on the miniature work on the film is great. On top of seeing the guys at work on the impressive models, you get to hear a few secrets on how they got the best look to the shots. I particularly liked learning about the rain and lightning effects they created.
Similarly, you get to see inside the ‘creature shop’ where the masks and such were made. It really helps you appreciate the craft of the special effects artists on films like these. The effects might not look ‘realistic’ in the traditional sense, but they’re incredibly cool and lovable homages to genre favourites from the past.
So, it’s a wonderful package backing up a hugely enjoyable film. Highly recommended.