New Releases: Frig All the Rest, Psycho Goreman is the Heckin' Best!


For the past decade, director Steven Kotanski has been making imaginative practical effects driven genre films. Initially, he was affiliated with the group Astron-6 who was responsible for such trashterpieces as Manborg (2011), Father's Day (2011), and The Editor (2014). After that Kotanski went out on his own to make The Void (2016). All of these works share a love for genre films underscored with a silly sense of humor. Psycho Goreman (2021) continues this tradition, and it feels like the culmination of all the ideas that Kotanski has been playing around with over the years.

Psycho Goreman follows the adventures of siblings Luke (Owen Myer) and Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) who live a somewhat normal life in suburbia. One day after an intense bout of Crazy Ball (a ridiculous made-up game), Luke is forced to dig a giant hole in the backyard as punishment for losing. They discover a strange glowing gem at the bottom which turns out to be the power source for an intergalactic being. The catch is that whoever wields the gem can control the bloodthirsty demon. Unfortunately, for the so-called Arch-Duke of Nightmares (dubbed Psycho Goreman by the kids), Mimi is the one who holds all the power, and she is one sassy little lady.



The tone throughout the narrative effortlessly flits between horror and comedy. Psycho Goreman is a stone cold chaotic evil monster who's only goal is to murder all life in the universe. This is juxtaposed with the mischievous and carefree attitude of the children he is forced to interact with who are bored by his maudlin tales of intergalactic battles and just want to do kid stuff. The lore underpinning the story is fantastic and it feels like a mixture of D&D (Goreman hails from Planet Gygax as a small nod), The Guyver, and '90s era Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Mimi is a fun protagonist and Hanna plays her with sociopathic gusto that is endearing.   

One of the best features of the film are the amazing practical effects and costumes. There are copious amounts of blood and guts on display as Goreman dispatches of his foes in the most gruesome ways possible. His arrival on Earth attracts the attention of the super-powered beings who fought and imprisoned him previously, and they all have super creative character designs. Well made rubber suits will trump CGI monsters every time, at least for me. My personal favorite was the sentient barrel full of rotting dead bodies who uses the collected fluids and viscera as ammo for his blood guns. Every design is full of wonderful details and personality and can hang with the best tokusatsu shows and movies.

It's hard to do homage and pastiche right without it feeling try-hard, but Psycho Goreman strikes a great balance between using the most fondly remembered tropes of the era while avoiding being completely cliche. There's even a rap song that recounts the story of the film over the end credits! Fans of Astron-6 will be overjoyed to find there are a few references to their earlier films. Psycho Goreman is a wacky, blood-filled '90s fever dream that will appease horror fans looking for something different.


--Michelle Kisner