A velociraptor that is also a pastor, although I guess it really is the other way around… Imagine a feature-length film so lovingly crafted as a tribute to the “So-Good-It’s-Bad” genre that it transcends it and leaves you in awe at how skillfully made a “bad” movie can be. This is “Velocipastor.”
“Velocipastor” is a 2017 horror/action film from the creative mind of Brenden Steere. The story is as old as time: Boy meets girl, girl is a prostitute,doctor and lawyer, boy is a priest that has been made into a hulk-style ‘were-raptor’ and they fall in love!
Additionally, boy’s parents have been killed by a pimp who was working for an underground sect of the Catholic Church that has ninjas and is trying to move hyper-addictive cocaine in order to get people to convert.
I know, I know, SNOOZE. Who hasn’t seen this story told to death a million times? But Steere is able to inject new blood into this incredibly engaging narrative with flair, directing prowess, a passion for the ridiculous and well, a lot of blood.
Films like this tend to fall into the category of movies that are so unbelievably fast-paced, obscure in concept and full of bad acting that they have entertainment value the same way a car accident does. Where “Velocipastor” differs from these in that it is trying to evoke them and honor them while making its own place. By that, I mean “Velocipastor” is in a different category of movies altogether: movies that are trying to be bad.
I’m sure I’ve said a lot about what makes a movie “bad” and “good” and there’s plenty of that on David Wheeler and mine’s “Critic’s Corner” podcast, but I will say that “bad” has kind of a fluctuating meaning here. This film, as well as works like “FDR: American Badass,” “Helen Keller Versus the Nightwolves” and “Kung Fury” are all trying to emulate the aesthetic of movies that are made that way on accident. What is “that way”? Listen kid, you either get it, or you don’t, some movies are bad because they’re bad and some are bad on purpose because they’re good. That’s how it is sometimes and you can get with it or get left behind. The future is now old, man, and the future looks like Catholic dinosaur ninjas.
But why is this movie better than terrible? That lies at two different ends of the spectrum of what makes movies enjoyable. The most present reason in the film, and in other films like it, is its ability to do over-the-top parody of truly terrible low budget films. “Velocipastor” opens with our divinely dashing protagonist leaving the doors of a church to wave at his parents across the street where they are blown up by an exploding car. Of course, we don’t see the carnage, we simply see text on screen over the backdrop of an average city street that reads: “VFX: Car on fire.” This is not a film that is trying to rival the works of art made by its contemporaries. It is simply existing as a work of art in the context of films that people enjoy. This is how it embraces “being bad” in a way that is so, so good.
Something that sets “Velocipastor” apart from other films that are intentionally “bad” is the real tangible “high art” quality to some of the scenes. Obviously this movie was made for the fun of it and to be original but it was also made by someone who loved their film. And, in a more specific way, it was very good because of one specific scene.
I don’t want to be too blunt in calling it the sex scene but that is the basic action taking place during the scene even though it isn’t as explicit as the soft core stuff you might find in some Showtime flicks or the bra-on-under-the-sheet stuff from your average “How I Met Your Mother” episode. What we see instead is a highly stylized montage-like assortment of harsh angled lights colored in green and red arranged in a grid of shots where the borders were strobing stained-glass windows. It was such an oasis of stunning film making amid the adventurous and ridiculous fake blood and fight scenes that it broke my brain and I have thought about that sex scene every day since I have watched the film.
There is a lot of skill and heart in this movie. It is not only a wild f***ing ride but it has all the parts it needs with nothing that it doesn’t. With a budget of $35,000, Steere has weaponized his budget and cunningly isolated what could be done cheaply and what needed more attention. “Velocipastor” is free with Amazon Prime, and I cannot recommend any movie more. It isn’t something you need to “get,” but it is something that has more than your average goof movie. It is free to watch on this service and it has replaced “Scott Pilgrim Versus the World” as my fifth favorite movie of all time. “Velocipastor.” Watch it.
9/10 (in a specific way)