The appropriately titled 2018 cult classic “The Velocipastor” has had audiences raving about the cinematography and incredible special effects on this high-budget blockbuster for five years.
The film’s 4.7-star rating on Google, starkly contrasted with a 61% on Rotten Tomatoes, reflects the long-standing battle between critics and the genre of comedy in cinema.“The Velocipastor” is a result of its makers’ creativity with limited resources and their tenacious pursuit of self-aware comedic commentary. This spoof on monster horror films emphasizes its lack of professionalism by presenting audiences with overacted scenes that can only be taken as satirical.
The film opens with a priest — the protagonist Doug Jones (Gregory James Cohan) — leaving a church to greet his parents. As he happily waves hello, the sound of a car exploding plays over a shot of the now-empty parking spot as the words “VFX: Car on fire” appear across the screen. Doug screams out — in an overly dramatic fashion — for his murdered parents. As he is grappling with his parents’ deaths, his mentor, Father Stewart, consoles him, saying God always does things for a reason; accordingly, Doug decides to go “where God will not follow,” which is later revealed to be China.
This statement is followed by the title of the film and its credits, which roll over a hypermasculine driving sequence. Doug’s moody demeanor is established with a strip of light that falls across his eyes from the reflection of the rearview mirror as he bops his head to some classic rock on the radio.
After Doug goes to China, he cuts himself on the tooth of a dinosaur, but later wakes up believing the incident was a dream. Carol, a prostitute, is then shown being bullied by her boss, Frankie Mermaid. Carol is later ambushed by a mugger until, out of nowhere, a dinosaur attacks and kills the mugger.
Doug wakes up in Carol’s bed thinking he accidentally slept with her, which he implies by asking “was it your first time too?” Carol replies “yes,” as she has only once seen a dinosaur. Soon everything is cleared up; Doug is horrified that he murdered someone, while Carol tries to convince him he did a good deed.
Doug soon becomes angry when he discovers that Carol is a hooker and runs off — in a tight sweater dress that Carol lent to him — to administer confession. Frankie Mermaid enters the confessional booth and starts smoking. He then utters one of the greatest cinematic lines of the decade, confessing that he “stole candy from this baby, then threw the baby in the river, so it couldn’t snitch, obviously.”
After admitting many more sins, like selling drugs and murdering people, Frankie reveals that he killed an older couple and laughs at the memory of a priest running out and crying for them. As Doug realizes Frankie murdered his family, he turns partially into a dinosaur and kills Frankie with his claw, which bursts through the confessional screen.
When Carol realizes Doug killed her boss, she exclaims, “you killed THE Frankie Mermaid?” and hugs him. Their embrace is followed by an enthusiastic high five. A montage then depicts Doug preaching, dating Carol (including a steamy scene of him feeding her the bread at communion), exercising and killing people. Afterwards, Carol and Doug have an iMovie style montage sex scene … before ninjas attack them.
Fr. Stewart then tries to bring Doug to an old friend who knows dark magic and tries to exorcize Doug. This leads to a flashback of Stewart in wartime, in which his fiance comes to embrace him, only to blow up in a gory explosion that leaves Stewart drenched in her blood. The exorcism doesn’t work, and Doug ostensibly kills Stewart.
But in a shock twist, Stewart lives, and the evil ninja master tries to recruit him for a mission to hook the town’s population on cocaine so they go to Christian help groups. When Stewart refuses, the ninja master kills him.
The climactic battle then ensues between the ninjas and the protagonists — but plot twist! The henchman for the evil ninja is actually Doug’s brother. One ninja annihilates Carol with a single blow. Doug then turns fully into a dinosaur — in a seemingly paper maché costume — and kills all of the antagonists except the ninja master, who shoots Doug in the leg, thereby turning him back into a human.
The ninja master plays with the arrow in Doug’s leg and says he’s about to kill him, but Doug chokes him with his prehistoric claws and pulls off the evil ninja’s head (which is obviously a mannequin prop, but the filmmakers let the camera rest on the fake organs for a long time, not seeking to hide the fact that it’s a low budget film).
With this memorable moment, Gandhi’s quote “Only through the elimination of violence will we finally be able to achieve world peace” flashes across the screen. To wrap up the amazing film, we cut to a doctor’s office where Doug checks on Carol who says “I’m fine” as the words “she’s fine” flash onscreen. Soon we see Carol and Doug parked in a scenic spot where they talk about how the “church” of the ninjas won’t stop hunting him despite their boss’s death. When Carol asks Doug what he will do next, he replies, “what I do best,” and proceeds to make out with her. The End.
While the optics are simple and the production even simpler, the message of the film, that love triumphs over violence, surpasses its satire. Greatness in art is measured not by complexity, but by the potency of emotion evoked. Now I will never throw a baby in a river so it can’t snitch, obviously!