If you relish movies like The Velocipastor, Re-Animator, or The Garbage Pail Kids, then you’ll gobble up the buffet of bonkers that is PG: Psycho Goreman. Blending the plucky premise of E.T. with the tropes of goopy, gory horror and a slathering of science-fiction, this low-budget romp delivers plenty to gag and giggle over.
Written and directed by Steven Kostanski, PG: Psycho Goreman offers an outrageous spin on the kid-befriends-alien setup by making both parties maniacs. Instead of awe-struck Eliott who gives Spielberg face and candies, Kostanski presents Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna), a snarling girl who gives attitude endlessly and bullies her brother Luke (Owen Myre) with abandon. So, when the pair uncover a glowing artifact and the genocidal extraterrestrial it controls, she finds a kindred spirit.
The magical amulet allows Mimi to command Psycho Goreman (Matthew Ninaber) to do whatever she likes, be it striking down those who oppose her or playing her favorite backyard game. PG (for short) has his own plans for interstellar annihilation but is bound by the amulet. Still, amid this tension—and plenty of gloppy violence—this disastrous duo might discover the importance of love and friendship! Sure, why not. Along the way of that ’80s kid-adventure cliché, Kostanski loops in an overabundance of backstory about a far off planet, a long-ago war, and self-righteous alien imperialists, who deserve to be taken down a peg.
An ode to its ’80s inspirations, PG: Psycho Goreman is packed with practical effects. Its titular terror and all of his otherworldly enemies are creatures carved from foam and clay, costumed in a clash of fantasy, sci-fi, and Power Rangers looks. The violence that PG performs on thieving humans and far-out foes results in severed limbs, bouncing decapitations, and buckets of blood. So yeah, the “PG” in the title is a joke in itself. This movie is not remotely kid-friendly, gleefully overstuffed with curse words, violence, and jolting punchlines. Then for good measure, Kostanski chucks in a musical montage starring Mimi’s pint-sized misanthropy.
Appropriately, the performances are all broad and characters sparingly sketched. Luke is a simpering wimp, whose chief role is to look worried. The kids’ parents are the classically paired stereotypes of nagging wife and lay-about husband, while PG’s homeworld antagonist is a joyless full metal bitch. PG is stiff in his mask and performance, but this works as he is an ancient alien constrained by the whims of a temperamental tween. Sure, he gets a tragic backstory, but Kostanski seems more interested in building out a world than he does any kind of empathy for his spiffy spin on Thanos. As for Mimi, her personality isn’t plucked from precocious kid-movie clichés as much from action flicks. She’s got the merciless bellowing of a drill instructor and the unnerving selfishness of Patrick Bateman. That makes her refusal to curse a solidly pleasing and silly recurring gag, during which she’ll teach PG to properly employ “frick.”
With a landslide of influences, ideas, characters, and gore gags, PG: Psycho Goreman is a mess of a movie, meandering through its plot like a child dawdling through a Family Circus map. Still, Kostanski throws so much at the wall that enough of it sticks to make this mess consistently entertaining. If you’re craving cinema that’s generous in gore, unapologetically bizarre, and refuses to take itself seriously, then PG: Psycho Goreman is for you.
PG: Psycho Goreman is in theaters and On Demand and digital on January 22.
Epidemiologists do not think it’s safe yet to go to theaters even with social distancing and safety measures in place. This review of a theatrical release is not an endorsement or suggestion otherwise. This film was reviewed via a screening link.
Header Image Source: Shudder