Evil Eye Horror Film Reviews: Psycho Goreman, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Skull: The Mask

Psycho Goreman (2021). When you hear folk speak of a film in the same breath as Fried Barry you tell yourself you’ve got to watch it but prepare to be disappointed. After all, nothing is going to live up to that Ryan Kruger thing, especially when you have the kind of lingering post-vaccine symptoms that you should probably head to A&E for (I’m OK now. Was probably just a hangover). But if you’re going to die anyway you may as well watch Psycho Goreman – just in case it’s half as good as people say it is.

Apparently this film takes place in the Wishmaster universe. Never heard of it? Me neither! But Psycho Goreman is a kind of Power Rangers spoof complete with 80s electric guitar and comic book dialogue. I’m not a Comic Con kind of guy, never read a comic book or watched Power Rangers, can’t stand Marvel Universe, but I enjoyed Psycho Goreman a lot. 

What makes this movie great is its self awareness. It pokes fun at itself, at sci-fi and fantasy. The characters are over the top (the father is particularly brilliant) and the gore is some of the most fantastic ever seen. Not to mention the amazing monsters – like something Terry Gilliam might create if he was sucked into the depths of hell by Clive Barker’s Cenobites. There is a commitment in this film to pushing everything up to 11 – from the blood and violence to the stereotype flipping – some people have said the lead actress Nita-Josee Hanna (playing Mimi – an obnoxious teenager) is annoying as hell. But this is deliberate – she’s a pastiche of every Saturday morning TV host and 90s pop star as well as a busting of gender stereotypes in horror and action movies. 

Where Fried Barry is a heartfelt trip thru skid row, Psycho Goreman is a disney club chainsaw massacre. Two very different beasts but both excellent in their own unique and slanted ways.

Talking of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), one of my favourite movies and one I’ve not seen in a long time. I dusted down my DVD (having recently got hold of a TV and DVD player) and decided to enjoy the mayhem that went down August 18, 1973 one more time. 

Why do I love this movie? This film that was banned in the 70s only to become legendary and timeless? A film almost 50 years old that leaves most modern films trembling in its wake? 

Simply, this is a movie for fans of the genre. It starts with a bang – gruesome, skinned faces, instantly bringing you in. The movie proper begins with the classic teenagers on a roadtrip setup, picking up a strange hitchhiker who performs disturbing black magic acts. After ditching the hitchhiker, the gang stop at a remote house before being picked off one by one by the masked lunatic, Leatherface. The last part of the film is a brutal, unrelenting chase; one woman running for her life from one of the most fantastically deranged bad guys in Hollywood history. And the final scene? A thing of cinematic beauty. Surely one of the most graceful and exhilarating moments of all time.

Skull: The Mask (2020) is a strange beast. A thriller with bucketloads of blood and gore. A crime flick where the bounty is a mask that possesses the wearer. The plot is multilayered and several elements are introduced at the start – several characters including cops, ghost hunters and others, brought together (and against each other) as the skull mask goes on a seemingly random killing spree through the metropolis of São Paulo. Is the plot too complex for a horror audience? Is the premise too unrealistic for thriller fans? Not if you can get your head around a handful of competing characters and are willing to believe the possibility that ancient civilisations had access to demonic powers which could be unearthed at any moment. I almost forgot: aside from blood and guts this film also has plenty of kicks, gunfights and violence as well as the kind of ancient mythological backstory that would bring Indiana Jones out of retirement. If you’re looking for a fun crossover movie and don’t faint at the sight of a heart ripped out of a man’s chest, this could be the film for you.

Simon Alderwick is a poet and songwriter from the UK. His work is featured or forthcoming in Whatever Keeps The Light On, Re-side and the Squiffy Gnu anthology, among others. Follow him on Twitter @SimonAlderwick.

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