Psycho Goreman: Steve Kostanski on Building a Better Monster

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I’ve always loved movies. I was a video store kid. I was constantly renting VHS movies in the ‘90s and obsessing over them. My dad loaned me his Super 8 camera when I was 12 and I used that to do stop-motion animation because I was into special effects. I was a big fan of stuff like Star Wars, and I really wanted to emulate all my favorite movies. 

Eventually, I started shooting live-action movies and did the effects and animation for those, too. It’s been a constant through my whole life of wanting to make movies and monsters and effects and just tell crazy sci-fi fantasy adventure stories. It’s always been there. 

When I got out of high school, I decided I wanted to try pursuing creature effects and prosthetic effects for a living, and luckily, I was able to mentor under a prosthetic artist name Doug Morrow in my hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who showed me the ropes and taught me about the actual job of doing makeup effects. That’s how I was able to pursue it as a career, while also making movies on the side. I’ve kind of been jumping back and forth between the two ever since.

One of the benefits of growing up in the ‘80s was that there were these wild sci-fi and fantasy concept movies basically on tap. They made it to completion so regularly. The shelves would be stacked with intoxicating covers and unique monster designs. You’d see an image from something like Xtro in a magazine and think “I need to see this at all costs.” It’s fair to say you’ve made a “see it at all costs” movie here. I know you name-checked Prince of Darkness as being a big influence for The Void, but what were the influences for Psycho Goreman?

It was really just a combination of my experiences growing up watching R-rated movies when I was way too young to be watching them – movies like Terminator 2. One of my earliest memories as a kid was watching that movie and being enthralled by the sci-fi action component to it. 

As a kid, you’re into video games and comics and cartoons, so seeing these cool chrome robots shooting lasers is really thrilling, but then you’re also seeing people get their kneecaps shot out and get impaled through the eye. It’s that kind of unexpectedly violent and brutal realism that maybe a little kid isn’t prepared for. Psycho Goreman is me working through a bit of that trauma!

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