It’s fun to see kids do the darndest things, so to speak. For example, the film Psycho Goreman features a little girl talking to a cross with Jesus on it. She’s been a bratty little beast of sorts up until now, but at this moment is made humble by horrific events and an iconic image. But what appears to be the start of prayer soon turns sacrilegious, as she declares allegiance to a super-powerful evil alien being, in a show of shocking aggression. To cap it all off, she…
… well, you’ll just have to watch. Psycho Goreman is full-tilt edgy, letting its lead child actress, Nita-Josee Hanna, go completely foul-mouthed and borderline vulgar with her little girl demands of others and completely monstrous attitude against any/all authority. What is seen in the film’s trailer is but a minor visage of her absolute domination, let loose from the very beginning to the most satisfying conclusion. Nita-Josee takes to her character Mimi with courage and glee, where one can only imagine the reveling she must’ve taken in being allowed to just explode. This is her film.
Of course, this ecstatic sci-fi delight isn’t merely sold to all off the shoulders of a kid (though it could be), being a romantic marriage of practical effects, costuming, and makeup design. It’s clear just how much filmmaker Steven Kostanski (part of the Astron-6 crew behind Manborg and The Void) not only loves those 80s “alien meets Earth kids” adventure films, but even more so the mechanics behind the craft. Each space warrior featured (and there are many) have their own specific look and movement, as much products of the puppeteers and craftsmen as they are the actors under the latex. As a director, Kostanski doesn’t just exude that feeling of a wide-eyed youngster staring up at a movie screen, but also commands all elements - no matter how silly or campy or gooey - with love and confidence.
The young at heart will fall before Psycho Goreman, adoring its sense of humor and playful horror all the way through. In one such sequence that embodies everything great about the film, the lead kids and titular alien overlord are out and about in a playground when confronted by two ill-prepared policemen. Immediately, they draw their weapons, only to be disposed of with ease. One goes boom, the other goes minion. This half-living cop, half-melting man walks around in utter pain, mumbling gibberish with a permanent expression of bafflement on what’s left of his face. Imagine the henchman from Robocop who melts after being doused in radioactive waste, but forced to live that way at the whims of a little girl and her alien slave.
It’s as hilarious and demented as you’d think, maybe ten times more.
A complete crowd-pleaser that earns all the comedy credit with every gag it delivers, and a cheek-ish throwback to a decade too often mimicked, Psycho Goreman kicks 2021 off in the best cinematic way possible. It’d be a classic video store pick, if such places were still in abundance. It’d be a wonderful screening to sneak into, if more theaters could safely stay open. As things are, the film is still a gas. Contemporary sharp-edges mix with Adult Swim absurdism to birth something inspired by childhood and performed as only the universe can influence.
Is this meant for all ages, or only the grown-up few? That’ll depend on the parents, for sure. Just know that, should you watch without the little ones, they may hold it against you.
(Psycho Goreman is now available on-demand)