Monday, October 4, 2021

PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN (2020) Movie Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 4
Total First Time Views: 4
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $130.20

PG: Psycho Goreman (2020) d. Steven Kostanski (Canada) (95 min) (1st viewing)

High on concept and loaded with inside nudges, winks, and references, this is a love letter to the 1980s genre offerings that lined the video store shelves and taught a generation that just because something was low-budget and/or weird, that didn’t mean it couldn’t be awesome and fun. While I can’t say it’s an unqualified home run, it’s worth remembering that the flicks it emulates were far from perfect themselves.

Writer/director Kostanski, a member of the Canadian collective Astron-6 (those maniacs behind Father’s Day), has been carving out quite a reputation for himself over the past decade, with a directing and co-directing resume that includes Manborg, The Void, Leprechaun Returns, and several episodes of the new SyFy series Day of the Dead. He’s not sharing the throne with anyone here, and it feels like he has made exactly the movie he set out to make, which is to say it’s a blenderized version of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Troma, with some Monster Squad teen sassiness sprinkled liberally over the top.

The plot centers around an alien from the planet Gigax who has been imprisoned underground on Planet Earth for all eternity for his crimes against, well, the universe. (Seems our genocidal gargantua was not the most sociable of fellows.) Luckily (?) for a couple of pre-teens, Luke (Owen Myre) and Mimi (Nita Josee-Hanna), the intergalactic brute’s resting place just happens to be their backyard. After a random dig, the two discover the glowing red gemstone that holds the monster in thrall and, of course, pluck it out for their own. This releases the beast, but before he can carry out his destiny of destroying those that meted out justice upon him and anyone else within a billion-light-year radius, he finds himself held sway by the magic powers of the stone, commanded by whomever possesses it. In this case, an obnoxious, self-absorbed young girl with ideas of her own about “Things to Do When You Have a Pet Alien.”

There are quite a number of goofy crowd-pleasing splatter gags, and the script veers wildly between dumb, clever, and clever-dumb. The abundant practical creature effects will give fans a latex and Ultraslime stiffie, with the titular Goreman a marvel to behold. Voiced by Steven Vlahos and played by Matthew Ninaber, this grumpy old E.T. is the crotchety supreme being we didn’t know we needed in our lives, and the alien counsel now on the prowl for his recapture (played by several Astron-6 alumnus) are the highlights of the picture.

The human performers, however, don’t register quite as fully, with Mimi an off-putting brat who torments pretty much everyone around her; it’s clear from the outset that here is your main villain, folks. Yet, we are presumably supposed to root for her, and that’s where PG lose its steam a little. She’s a bit much, and her doormat brother is a bit not enough. Their parents, played by Adam Brooks and Alexis Kara Hancey, are a bitter and bickering pair, who manage to toss off a few memorable zingers but never really register as anything other than live-action cartoons. When the huge alien dude with the pink glowing veins is the most relatable character onscreen, you might have a slight imbalance.

Psycho Goreman is a fun diversion and will surely appeal to a crowd of both the low and highbrow, but I wish Kostanski would have dialed up the humanity just a little in order to provide the same emotional anchor of his ’80s inspirations.

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