Psycho Goreman [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - United Kingdom - Acorn Media
Review written by and copyright: Eric Cotenas (24th November 2021).
The Film

Child bully Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) exasperates her harried mother Susan (Alexis Kara Hancey) and runs circle around her lazy father Greg (The Editor's Adam Brooks); but her favorite punching bag is her older brother Luke (Alternate Ground's Owen Myre) who is the butt of punishments she dreams up when he loses games for which she makes up the rules. While digging his own grave in the backyard to be buried alive for the night after losing a game of Crazy Ball, Luke unearths a strange-looking coffin with a strange combination lock seal. Luke is hesitant to disturb the grave, but Mimi manages to solve the combination and is rewarded with an oversized pink gem. During the night as the children sleep, a nameless evil (physically embodied by Matthew Ninaber and voiced by Steven Vlahos) rises from its earthen prison, wandering to an abandoned factory where it makes literal mincemeat of a trio of smalltime thieves who use it as their stash place.

The next morning, Mimi drags Luke along to follow the creature's footprints to the warehouse. The siblings are horrified at their discovery; that is, until Mimi discovers that gem allows her to control the monster who she christens "Psycho Goreman" (PG for short). As she humiliates him by making him do her bidding, PG promises the siblings a special kind of eternal suffering when he gets the upper hand; and he has already used the waves of the television set Mimi has left him (so he does not get bored when left overnight at the factory) to contact his minions the Paladins of Obsidian to free him. Little does he realize that the gem has allowed his captors The Templars – lead by Pandora (physically embodied by both Kristen MacCulloch and Roxine Latoya Plummer and voiced by Anna Tierney) – and the interplanetary alliance to determine that the "archduke of nightmares" has been unleashed. Pandora travels to Earth and, despite her equally ruthless treatment of any human obstacle, seems to be the less terrifying option once Susan discovers her kids in the company of a monster; however, Mimi must convince both her brother and her father that Psycho Goreman really is the lesser evil when it comes to alien beings planning to a planetary apocalypse.

A cross between Stranger Things – fetishizing the nineties instead of the eighties – and an alternate universe gore-drenched version of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Psycho Goreman is never quite as irreverent as it wants to be. Although more slickly-made than the likes of make-up effects artist turned director Steven Kostanski's earlier Father's Day and Manborg – and not quite as indebted Lucio Fulci as The Void to the point where its homages overshadow any innovation – Psycho Goreman's directorial discipline is in its studied visuals at the expense of performance and characterization. Hanna is more miss than hit in her performance of an intentionally-maddening character, but it seems not solely a matter of a child actor's inexperience when the film also cannot quite pull off the subversive twist of Brooks' arrogant, condescending waste of space father believing that he is the Hollywood family movie unlikely hero dad who must make a leap of faith for his kids. His retorts to his wife's supposed browbeating are supposed to feel as hollow and unearned as they are; however, it is simply not as funny as seemingly intended (Myre and Hancey come across better underplaying their roles). Ditto for the central conceit of a spin on the E.T. The Extra Terrestrial-type friendship between an alien being and a child with the ferocious beast here being relentlessly bullied by a child and having to displace his anger on innocent victims – including Mimi's crush (Scout Flint) who lacks pigtails for her to tug on – to the delight and entertainment of Mimi. Although presumably a passion project for nostalgia-infatuated Kostanski, Psycho Goreman nevertheless feels like a lot of indie horror of late: festival-bait bound for both streaming-binging and collector's limited edition physical media pressings.


Lensed with Arri Alexa Mini cameras with Kowa Scope lenses – lenses with an anamorphic squeeze intended for 16:9 sensors – and mastered in 2K, Psycho Goreman first arrived on Blu-ray in Canada on a three-disc (Blu-ray/DVD/CD soundtrack) limited "Hunky Boy" edition and a apparently equally-limited single-disc editions directly available from Canadian distributor and co-producer Raven Banner Entertainment, followed by US, French, German – (as well as Koch Films-exclusive and mediabooks –Australian, and Swedish editions; the extras of which all derive from the Canadian release (with some exclusives retained only in that edition). As with some of Acorn Media's other British Shudder Blu-rays, their Blu-ray of Psycho Goreman is a direct port of the US release. The 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.40:1 widescreen image looks gore-geous for the most part with contrasting alien worlds of popping primaries and more naturalistic-looking Earth scenes in which the videography seems at times to ape the nineties look and other times is subject to the weather conditions for which the production had to adapt.


The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a more consistently immersive experience, often times contributing more than the visuals to the scope and scale of the film. Dialogue is clear, directional effects are pointed – with particular attention to both alien tech and squishy gore – and surrounds are active during the busier scenes but more subtly utilized during the scenes of relatively "normal" activity. Optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles are also provided (as to be expected from a North American release).


The limited edition Canadian set featured three commentary tracks but all of the releases in other territories including this edition only include the audio commentary by director Steven Kostanski in which he cements the pop culture of the nineties as the film's inspiration, how his envisioning of an "idyllic spring setting" was ruined by "appalling weather," how some non-CGI effects wound up weirdly complicated – like the glowing gem which required running wires up the sleeves of actors – and also criticizing some of his own digital effects work. Of Psycho Goreman himself, Kostanski cites the design concept of the sort of action figure he would want to grab off the shelf as a kid along with Clive Barker's Rawhead Rex (or rather, the film version which differs from Barker's phallus monster concept).

"One-on-One" (14:40) is an interview with director Kostanski that covers some of the same ground while also noting that the Gigaxian council was a reference to the "political nonsense" of the Star Wars franchise and that the film also posits a "stupid origin" story of his earlier short Bio-Cop. Interviews with the Cast (6:24) is an EPK compilation of comments from the actors, some of which are drawn from the interview with actor Adam Brooks (4:20). "Kortex: A Konversation" (5:58) is a jokey in-character interview with the character of Kortex (Matthew Kennedy) while the composers of "The Music of PG" (5:23) cite some of the same kids action hero shoes as Kostanski as inspiration. "Fight Choreography" (3:50) and "Filming the Paladin Fight" (7:14) are as self-explanatory as "Miniature Magic" (2:59) and "Inside the Creature Shop" (4:26). "Fight Pre-Viz" (6:05) and "PG vs Pandora" (3:28) examine the staging and shooting of the final confrontation.

The disc also includes a concept art gallery, trading cards gallery, behind the scenes photo gallery, and startup trailers for Shudder and RLJ titles which may or may not appear in the UK from Acorn.


A cross between Stranger Things, fetishizing the nineties instead of the eightie, and an alternate universe gore-drenched version of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Psycho Goreman is never quite as irreverent as it wants to be.


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