Rebecca May Ristow | A&E Editor
For those of you that have ot had the pleasure of seeing the 2017 film: The VelociPastor, this article is for you. You can probably tell from the above picture, or from the absurd title, that this movie is not one to be taken seriously. From beginning to end, The VelociPastor is filled with jarring and unstable camera work, over-the-top characters and acting, and low budget special effects that really seal the deal. So, why is it kind of good?
The VelociPastor follows priest Doug Jones after the death of his parents. He travels to China in hopes to find himself, but after a close call with a team of ninjas (yes, ninjas), he ends up gaining the ability to transform into a dinosaur when he is angry. Although scared at first, Carol, a prostitute, doctor, and lawyer, convinces him to use his power for good. Throughout the story, Doug and Carol fight drug-dealing ninjas, avoid exorcisms, and nearly die several times. The plot is insane. You may be thinking this is one of those “so bad, it's good” movies, but I would even hesitate to call it that. The movie is a parody. It knows it's crazy and intentionally tries to subvert audience expectations by doing things that aren’t considered good.
One of my favorite things about this movie is its love for chaos. The first time Doug removes himself from Christianity, by committing a ‘sin’, there’s basically a three minute music video to “Didn't Have Time to Think” by Math the Band. At one point, Doug learns of his friend, Father Stewart, having time in military service. A flashback occurs, showing Stewart in war (a random woods) as his wartime body is shot and killed in front of him. The death is simultaneously extremely dramatic and starkly irrelevant, much like a lot of this film. Immediately after this, someone steps on a mine. Oh, and the soldiers are wearing Vans sneakers.
The VelociPastor was met with audience acclaim. Despite IMDb giving the film a 5 out of 10, and Rotten Tomatoes a 59%, the movie developed a quick, and large, fanbase. Alex McLevy, on The A.V. Club blog, said, "This movie is going to endure. It's got a killer hook, is fun to watch, and doesn't overstay its welcome. It has 'cult classic' written all over it” and I can’t help but agree. The keyword to most fan reviews is simply, “fun”. The movie never takes itself too seriously and never “overstays”. People simply enjoy it for what it is, which is why its been featured in Forbes, The Hollywood Reporter, SlashFilm, Film Threat and many others. Amanda Sink from The Hollywood Outsider sums it up perfectly, writing, "albeit no cinematic achievement, The VelociPastor is a hysterically ludicrous horror-comedy that knows its absurdity and has no qualms inviting you in".
Now, amidst the fan love, the film has decided to create a sequel. Not only is the film being made by the same people, it is yet again funded completely by the audience. The VelociPastor creators started a Kickstarter to raise funds for The VelociPastor 2 and, as of now, it has more than doubled the first film’s $35,000 dollar budget. This time, Doug and Carol return for a trip to Milan, where they have to solve the mystery of a masked killer. It supposedly takes inspiration from folk horror films like Midsommar, as well as Cold War Spy thrillers. It's also set in the 1980s. While the Kickstarter has funding goals set, the producers all wrote that they would be producing the film regardless of money and however much they get is however big the film will be.
Overall, it seems The VelociPastor franchise is a project fueled by passion from both the creators and audience, which is a huge part of the appeal. If you’re looking for something absolutely bonkers to watch with your friends, or need to see something entirely unique, this movie is absolutely for you.