My last few expeditions into independent horror territory have been less than enjoyable, to say the least. I must be a glutton for punishment because I continue to head back out there and see what else lies ahead in low-budget filmland. Luckily, few still exist that are worth my time. The latest is Brendan Steere’s The Velocipastor.
After the death of his parents which occurs right before his eyes, Father Doug Jones (Greg Cohan) travels the world to re-discover his faith. While in China, a cut from an ancient tooth grants him the ability to transform into a dinosaur. Now, with the help from a prostitute, Carol (Alyssa Kempinski), Doug must use his new curse (or is it a blessing?) to rid the world of evil… ninjas.
With a name like The Velocipastor, I was pretty sure I knew what I was getting into; another lowbrow entry in the horror genre that just straight up wears me out by the time the end credits roll. I’ll be damned! If there were ever to be an award handed out for being a pleasant surprise, it would certainly go to writer/director/editor Brendan Steere and the rest of his team behind this film.
Velocipastor is almost exactly as you’d expect. It is silly as hell and surely not to be taken seriously, but the tongue-in-cheek humor is perfectly executed as opposed to the other attempts that indie horror as seen lately.
Most horror-on-a-budget that tries to pull off comedic cues is rather hokey and, more often than not, a chore to get through. That is certainly not the case here.
The best part of the type of humor that is on display here is that it is not in spite of the acting chops of the performers on screen. In fact, I believe the only reason it is so effective is because of the entire cast is actually quite good at what they do.
Greg Cohan, who plays the titular character of Father Doug Jones aka the VelociPastor, is quite a joy to watch. He blew me away with his portrayal of this silly-on-paper role and brought a certain charisma to it that I’d imagine only a select few could.
His love interest in the film is played by another talented actor, Alyssa Kempinski. This duo is a set of new faces for me personally, but I loved their chemistry throughout the film’s rather short 70 minutes. Even in the more ridiculous moments — Doug wearing the only thing his new prostitute friend could offer to clothe him in, an orange dress — the pair feed off of each other remarkably.
The Velocipastor ended up being a huge surprise and has single-handedly restored my faith in independent horror. My last few forays have been taxing, but this one really renewed my interest… for at least a little while.
The film features a talented cast, an effective brand of comedy, and a man in a dinosaur suit who battles ninjas! If that doesn’t sound like a good time to you, you are definitely in the wrong place.
To check out all of the madness that is The Velocipastor, buy yourself a copy of the film on DVD. It will be available this coming Tuesday, August 13, from Wild Eye Releasing and features a fair amount of bonus content, including a gag reel, a commentary track, and a Q & A with the cast and crew, filmed during Texas Frightmare.
I give this one a final rating of 4 VFX car on fire blunders out of 5.