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  PG: Psycho Goreman Never Mess With Little Girls
Year: 2020
Director: Steven Kostanski
Stars: Nita-Josee Hanna, Owen Myre, Matthew Ninaber, Steven Vlahos, Adam Brooks, Alexis Kara Hancey, Kristen MacCulloch, Anna Tierney, Roxine Latoya Plummer, Alex Chung, Scout Flint, Robert Homer, Conor Sweeney, Matthew Kennedy
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Action, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: The most powerful evil in the Universe has been imprisoned by his most powerful foes, with no chance of him ever being unleashed once more. Or is there? In this back yard, sister and brother Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) play their incredibly complicated game to their heart's content, but something in the corner of the garden attracts their attention, and they proceed to dig it up. Mimi is the kind of bossyboots who is accustomed to getting her own way, so when they find a glowing gemstone, she needs to have it for herself. But following the stone from the hole is that unspeakable abomination...

Basically what would have happened if something like Masters of the Universe or Power Rangers had been written and directed by horror movie obsessed kids, PG: Psycho Goreman was from the Astron-6 stable of Canadian fantasy, horror and science fiction stories, all with strong links to the diversions from childhood that anybody who had grown up from about 1977 onwards would recognise as worthwhile. Fair enough, there comes a time to put away childish things, but what if those childish things were as entertaining and even hilarious as what director Steven Kostanski conjured up here? Wouldn't you want to spend more time with them?

If you knew the team's previous movies you would have a good idea of their sense of humour, somewhere between Re-Animator and The Kids in the Hall, and topped off with an effects budget that was well used without being hugely lavish. That quasi-home-made aspect to their projects was part of their appeal, but heretofore they had not been saddled with anything as ambitious as a moral, apparently deciding that nobody liked the bits at the end of He-Man when Prince Adam told off the audience for any misdemeanour they may have considered and pointed out the correct manner in which to behave (that was, not anything like Skeletor, kids).

Yet with this, they acknowledged that moral was part and parcel of the package, be it toy-promoting cartoons (to give the impression of being responsible, and not wholly mercenary) or religious programming disguised as "fun" - there was a pointed gag about Mimi praying to a crucifix when things got out of control, which had a cheerfully blasphemous punchline. Before that, it was established that this action figure-style embodiment of evil (renamed Psycho Goreman by his new mistress) is now under Mimi's command, because she owns his gemstone that gives up all his self-control. This leaves him grumbling and growling what seem like empty but epic threats, since she has him so far under her thumb that it provides most of the comedy.

But not all. Though this could have been a one-joke movie - murderous space alien is thwarted by little girl - there was unexpected nuance, in that it was actually a dysfunctional family drama disguised as a nasty, rubbery gore comedy. Mimi's clan put up with her tantrums and bad behaviour because dad (Adam Brooks) is a lazy slacker with no authority (he takes a fortnight off work to watch TV) while mom (Alexis Kara Hancey) is far too tolerant, shrugging exasperatedly but failing to provide much in the way of guidance. When dad, on being asked about "real monsters", explains that "people are the real monsters", he's inadvertently describing his own daughter, a budding psychopath in pigtails who has never been told "no" because people want to be nice to her. Meanwhile, the matters of running the galaxy as a dictatorship looks like the petty in-fighting it is when placed against familial conflict that could be solved with a little more love. But as well as all that, there was a string of genuinely amusing, bad taste gags that posited what life would be like if all that children's fantasy media was real, crafting a real gem, funny, keenly performed by all, and even thought-provoking amid the goofiness. Music by Blitz/Berlin (PG gets his own 90s style rap theme).

[PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN arrives on SHUDDER on 20 May 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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