According to movie nerd lore, John Carpenter’s The Thing flopped in part because Steven Spielberg’s ET: The Extra-Terrestrial premiered two weeks earlier. Spielberg made us love aliens so much that we couldn’t think of them as body-transforming killers, or so the story goes. But that reading misses an important fact about horror movies in the ’80s: a lot of them had kid protagonists.
And I’m not just talking about romps like Fred Dekker and Shane Black’s The Monster Squad or the Howie Mandel and Fred Savage romp Little Monsters. I mean kids were at the centre of gory, nasty horror movies, everything from cult oddities like Xtro and TerrorVision to high-profile releases such as Halloween IV and Poltergeist. Before the ’90s meta-slasher craze, the 2000s torture porn and J-horror remakes, before even our current era of elevated horror, the line between horror movies and kid flicks wasn’t so clear.
Now playing on Shudder, Psycho Goreman pays tribute to those kid-centric fight films. Written and directed by Steven Kostanski, Psycho Goremanfeatures a plot familiar to anyone whose seen a children’s adventure movie. Siblings Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) discover a glowing gem that frees a fearsome alien monster (performed by Matthew Ninaber and voiced by Steven Vlahos). Although the monster plans to destroy the kids and conquer the planet, the gem forces him to do Mimi’s bidding. Dubbing the creature “Psycho Goreman” or “PG” (in a nod to Spielberg), Mimi and Luke spending their days frolicking with their new alien friend while running from both their parents and from the angelic bounty hunter Pandora (Kristen MacCulloch) who will kill anyone who keeps her from PG.