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May 1, 2024

A Binge too Far #41 – Astron-6 Delights (2011 – 2020)

Beautiful frame from the outrageous Psycho Goreman (2020)

I was wondering if There Will Be Blood (2007) is a film about menstruation. Okay, after this appropriate with Astron-6 joke, we’ll head on to the reviews…




Manborg (2011) poster



During the Hell Wars in which vampire Nazi Count Draculon [Adam Brooks, later in The Editor (2014)] and his goons of alien-looking monsters aim to take over our planet and annihilate our population, it becomes the destiny of a dead soldier [Matthew Kennedy, later in The Void (2016)] to become the titular half man-half robot hero to save our asses.


Directed and produced by Steven Konstanski (who also wrote the screenplay, with Jeremy Gillespie) on a stunningly low $1.000 budget that looks at least a hundred times larger on screen, this is a love letter to 1980s action films both cheapies and blockbusters. Therefore it is awkward that it relies so heavily on CGI (the whole thing looks like an application form for a job position at the SyFy channel and virtually every shot is digitally enhanced), but you can feel the effort and love put to it, which is no small feat in itself. Following its premiere at the Fantastic Fest of Austin, Texas, it became a cult sensation among fans of faux grindhouse cinema.


The Editor (2014) poster

The Editor


Film editor Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks, who also directed, with Matthew Kennedy) is well-past his prime working for big and prestigious productions. Following a mental breakdown that granted him a stint at the psychiatric clinic of Dr. Casini (Udo Kier, no introduction needed) he is now working for Italian giallo films of dubious quality, and if that’s not enough a series of murders surround him, in a scenario of life (or rather, death) imitating art.


From the deranged minds of Astron-6, the production team responsible for faux-grindhouse opuses such as Father’s Day (2011), comes this tribute to the giallo films we grew up with. It is poking fun to the genre, but it is obvious that it is done so with love and affection. There are cigarettes and copious amounts of nudity from gorgeous performers everywhere (where the hell is the JB bottle?), as well as so many aesthetic choices (the production design is beyond excellent) that reveal that the team behind it ‘got it’ perfectly. I am a big fan of the genre, and this had me constantly smiling and chuckling, especially during many of the scene re-enactments from the classics. It is apparent that the filmmakers did thorough research (they seem to know the genre inside-out) and this can be spotted even in the tiniest details that appear to be literally in every scene.


Psycho Goreman (2020) poster

Psycho Goreman


Narcissist young girl Mimi [Nita-Josee Hanna from Books of Blood (2020)] and her nerdy brother Luke (Owen Myre) upon digging on their home’s backyard they discover a mysterious stone, which turns out to be the gem that controls the titular alien monster (played by Matthew Ninaber and voiced by Steven Vlahos) that aims to destroy the galaxy, but luckily it becomes – even against its will – best friends with the kids.


Written and directed by Steven Konstanski (who also produced, with Stuart F. Andrews and Shannon Hanmer), this is featuring Hollywood-style storytelling (seriously, the whole thing could have been penned by Steven Spielberg) albeit delivered with monsters and splatter, the way only the Astron-6 team could have done so. Essentially a story about a middle class family putting their shit together thanks to the heroism of its kids, this feels like a James Gunn movie (which is always a good thing) and it is the team’s most polished film.

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