Wednesday, January 20, 2021

PG: Psycho Goreman

Consider this your basic heartwarming family pet adoption movie, but instead of a cocker spaniel, young Mimi Hallenbeck brings home a deranged space alien with vast destructive power. However, she is the real monster in screenwriter-director Steven Kostanski’s PG: Psycho Goreman, which releases in theaters and on-demand this Friday.

As luck would have it, the Galactic Templars of planet Gigax (surely a nerd hat-tip to Gary Gygax) consigned the evil “Archduke of Nightmares” to an eternity buried in a hole in the Hallenbeck’s backyard. Being bored, Mimi and her long-suffering slightly older brother Luke accidentally unearth him. Fortunately, Mimi quickly learns she can control him with the cosmic “Gem of Praxidite,” which she is not about to let go of, because she is definitely the sort of girl who knows what’s hers.

Initially, Hallenbeck treats “Psycho Goreman” or “PG” as they rename him, as her exotic pet or her private enforcer. However, she eventually learns the Templars are coming and starts to suspect the angelic overlords might just be even more tyrannical than the gleefully destructive PG.

In a way,
PG tries to recapture the innocence of the alien-child bond many fondly remember from vintage Ultraman and the like, but with loads more gore. Both Kostanski and Adam Brooks, who plays the slacker Hallenbeck father are associated with the Astron-6 film collective, so it rather follows that PG shares their genre aesthetic.

Kostanski and company definitely take no prisoners, but that is what makes the film so entertaining. It is often tasteless and at times it flirts with outright blasphemy, but if you get offended by a film like this you really are an idiot. The whole point of watching is to see how much further over-the-top they can go.

To that end, the messy, splattering practical effects are a joy to behold. PG never breaks character, but voice performer Steven Vlahos brings out all the pitch-black humor of his ominous pronouncements. Yet, it is young Nita-Josee Hanna who is really terrifying as bossy Mimi. She is way scarier than the nasty brat in the
Twilight Zone’s “It’s a Good Life” (either the original TV or movies version). She is also much funnier than any of those cloying Troop Zero kids. It is a heck of a debut.

Brooks and Alexis Hancey also get a lot of laughs as the awkwardly mismatched Hallenbeck parents. Frankly, a lot of their bickering might ring a little too true for some viewers. Kostanski displays an impressive ear for dialogue, while the “Masters FX” team have a creative eye for creature design. It’s all really quite a bit of fun. Recommended for fans of alien monster movies,
PG: Psycho Goreman opens this Friday (1/21) on VOD and in theaters (to the best that it can).